Date Full Report Received08/12/2020
Date Abstract Report Received
InvestigationInstitution: Food Animal Consultation & Testing Services
Primary Investigator: Chad A. Stahl, Ph.D.
Co-Investigators: Thomas Fangman DVM
Funded ByNational Pork Board
The global pandemic attributable to the COVID-19 virus has severely disrupted the U.S. pork supply chain over the past few months as many packer/processors have closed and(or) restricted their scope of operations due to a limited labor force. As a consequence, the production flow of millions of market weight pigs has been stymied as producers now have few to no options for marketing animals that are quickly outgrowing their finishing barns and(or) taking the place of young pigs intended to move into these facilities. Tragically, producers are now faced with the decision of mass euthanasia and the subsequent depopulation of their finishing barns. Knowing this, it is imperative that producers are provided with a number of viable options for the safe and efficacious euthanization of market weight pigs, one of which is gunshot.
As on-farm mass depopulation of market weight pigs increases, many producers are turning to the use of a firearm as an approved method of euthanasia.1 There is an abundance of historical information on the general considerations of humane euthanasia, human safety considerations, and proper firearm placement.1,2 More recently, scientific data has been generated to further define proper caliber and ammunition selection to achieve a minimum of 300 feet-pound (ft-lb) for predictable humane euthanasia by gunshot (for animals up to 400 pounds).3 Nevertheless, there is little to no information illustrating both the efficacy and safety of the use of a firearm when using the multiple caliber/ammunition combinations currently available (.22 LR, .22 Mag, .38 Special, 9mm) nor is there a definitive methodology for assessing said efficacy and safety concerns. This lack of information has been exacerbated by a recent yet unpredictable increase in consumer demand for the lead round nose (LRN) and jacketed hollow point (JHP) bullets leaving the full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet as the only readily available option in each of the aforementioned calibers. Hence, a “proof of concept” exercise predicated upon the ability to conceptualize and subsequently evaluate the effectiveness and safety of multiple caliber/ammunition combinations is in fact warranted and of need to the swine industry now and in the event of a future foreign animal disease outbreak.