In an emergency due to an accident or sudden illness, it may not be possible for an animal to be moved without causing avoidable suffering. In these instances, the animal must be killed where it is found. In some situations it may be possible to move the animal to a better or more convenient location.

In general, it is less stressful for the animal if it is killed in familiar surroundings. However, the nature of the emergency may mean this is not possible; a road traffic accident for example.

If firearms are used, be aware of any possibility of ricochet and make sure that the animal is on soft ground. It is not advisable to use a free-bullet firearm in an enclosed space. It is important that a suitable backdrop is present in order to stop the bullet, should it exit the carcase or should the target be missed.

› See the firearms Operation and Safety pages from the HSA online guide to Humane Killing of Livestock Using Firearms for further information.

It may be relevant to consider also ease of access for any machinery required to remove the carcase after killing the animal. Note that the onset of rigor mortis can make it difficult to remove carcases from restricted spaces. However, such considerations should not take precedence over welfare considerations.

You may wish to consider informing neighbours of what is happening, especially if firearms are to be used. This will help to protect human safety and to make sure the procedure is carried out with the minimum of disturbance.

If the animal is to be transported to another location it needs to be fit to travel - a veterinary surgeon can help decide about this. It may be possible to transport the animal to a veterinary surgery or to a slaughterhouse, depending on the nature of the emergency. It is important not to cause the animal any unnecessary suffering.


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