14-Humane killing, release, re-use or re-homing

Decisions should be made at an early stage as to whether the animals must be humanely killed (and if so, at what point) or whether they can be released into wild, re-used for experiments or re-homed.

General principles
For fish researchers

Relevant legislation, including guidance on methods of humane killing should be consulted well before animal studies start, because the proposals may be regulated and may involve personnel training and purchase of equipment or chemicals. Efforts must also be made to ensure that the method used is the most refined for the particular species, without compromising the study aims or parameters to be measured. Any deviation from regulatory standards (e.g. those described in Annex IV of the EU Directive 2010/63) must be described and justified, along with the likely effects on the animals and measures to minimise these.

Two scenarios for humane killing should be discussed:

  1. The primary method of humane killing, to be used when animals are no longer required, if re-homing or release is not an option
  2. A method for emergency killing, preferably one which can be performed by any competent member of staff outside normal working hours, even if they have little experience with the species concerned

These two methods may or may not be identical.

These considerations should also extend to field studies, and should include a discussion of the procedure to be followed if a researcher encounters sick or injured wildlife that are not a part of the population being studied.

ACLAM Position Statement on Adoption of Research Animals

This page was updated on 09 July 2021

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