Code of Practice

Euthanasia | back

  1. Euthanasia
    1. Objective
      1. To support the timely euthanasia of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife through identifying when euthanasia is appropriate.

        Note: Euthanasia is a large part of wildlife rehabilitation and an important welfare tool. It should not be seen as a failure on the rehabilitator’s behalf, nor should it be avoided at all costs.
    2. Standards
      1. All wildlife rehabilitators, whether individually licensed or operating under a group licence, must be able to provide for the euthanasia of wildlife when required.
      2. Wildlife must be euthanased without exception when:
        1. it is necessary to alleviate significant pain or suffering when such pain and suffering is not able to be managed by a veterinarian
        2. further treatment is not practical or recovery is not expected such that the animal can be successfully rehabilitated to the wild
        3. resources are not available to provide appropriate care or an acceptable quality of life throughout the likely rehabilitation period.
      3. Animals with a poor prognosis for survival and that are suffering must be euthanased rather than left to die from the injury or illness. Failure to take appropriate steps to arrange the prompt euthanasia of these animals is a breach of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.
      4. Unless EHP has granted permission for the animal to enter the Queensland Species Management Plan (QSMP) or unless otherwise advised by the EHP Director Wildlife Management, an animal must be euthanased when:
        1. an orphaned animal is not viable or is unlikely to be rehabilitated
        2. there is no suitable release location (refer to sections 15.2.4 and 15.2.6 regarding release/alternative release locations)
        3. the ability to reproduce is lost due to an injury, disease or surgical procedure
        4. the ability to move freely or normally (i.e. run, climb, crawl, hop, fly or swim) is permanently impaired due to, for example, a missing or impaired limb, wing, foot or tail, such that it will significantly impair the animal’s ability to survive in the wild
        5. the ability to sense environment (i.e. see, hear, smell, taste or feel) is permanently impaired due to a missing or injured organ such as an eye, ear or nose, such that it will significantly impair the animal’s ability to survive in the wild
        6. the ability to catch, find or handle food is permanently impaired
        7. its advanced age renders it unlikely to survive in the wild.
      5. The carcasses of euthanased animals must be discarded in accordance with the local regulations. Carcasses of animals euthanased using anaesthesia and/or veterinary euthanasia solutions may present a significant risk to scavengers, including native animals, and must be disposed of by deep burial or incineration.
      6. Carcasses of animals euthanased by way of barbiturate overdose must not be fed to other animals.
    3. Guidelines
      1. Wildlife should be euthanased when suffering from injuries or illness that require a long and complicated rehabilitation process and when such wildlife provide little contribution to the conservation of the species.
      2. Non-releasable wildlife should be euthanased (as per section 12) or referred for placement through the QSMP. For further information on non-releasable wildlife or the QSMP, contact your local EHP office.

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