National Euthanasia Registry

A continuing education program of the Raptor Education Foundation
copyright, 2000, Raptor Education Foundation

About the National Euthanasia Registry
Protecting Veterinarians--Protecting Wildlife

The National Euthanasia Registry (NER) was created in response to seven eagles (two bald and five golden) being poisoned as a result of two equids being euthanised using a legal agent (Sleepaway-Ft. Dodge Animal Health  ) by a licensed and experienced veterinarian.  The rancher and veterinarian were assessed penalties in the tens of thousands of dollars, and they chose to engage the Raptor Education Foundation to develop a creative educational solution to deal with a problem that is national in scope and one which few wish to discuss.  By its very nature, however, this problem kills by its silence.

Need: Our research discovered numerous examples of secondary poisonings of scavenging wildlife species having resulted from in situ euthanasia.  These include endangered and threatened species such as eagles and grizzly bears.  The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other regulatory agencies can and do hold veterinarians liable when wildlife dies from secondary poisoning.  Fines can range as high as $500,000 per occurrence including incarceration.  The Environmental Protection Agency also holds veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies liable for collateral pollution/contamination of soils and water.  In most cases this liability rests on the veterinary professional even when following established procedures and using approved drugs.  The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine has confirmed that it has no established protocols for the proper disposal of animals euthanized in the field specifically addressing the dangers of poisoning other animals/wildlife.

Purpose: The NER is designed to protect the veterinary professional, animal shelter operators, and wildlife through education and research. Your membership will not only help to significantly decrease your liability should one of your euthanized animals be disposed of improperly, it will also help support the following:

Continued education of the veterinary profession as to the poisonings and deaths which can result from improperly disposed and/or chemically euthanized carcasses, especially large animal practices in rural areas.
Besides articles for professional journals and national media, presentations at veterinary conventions/conference will bring the problem out in the open.

Curriculum development for veterinary course work, including special programs for veterinary students.
Further investigative research to date confirms that euthanasia and disposal protocols for
preventing secondary poisonings of wildlife are non-existent.  They are not taught in veterinary schools, nor do pharmaceutical companies promote the use of their euthanasia agents with safety protocols designed to prevent secondary wildlife poisonings.

Prevention of secondary poisonings of wildlife due to improperly disposed carcasses, which have been chemically or otherwise euthanized.
A written protocol will cover the best disposal methods available, including burial techniques that take into account  soil conditions, water table locations; local scavenging species, seasonal and climate variations such as temperature and humidity must be factored in along with the presence of migratory species.   The determination of bears just coming out of hibernation with keen appetites and the tools to dig down and extract a carcass buried to depths of ten feet is only one example of the variables involved. 

Research to develop ecologically benign options for euthanizing animals where cremation or rendering is not feasible as a disposal method.

Establishing a database to allow researchers and wildlife officials to quantify the ecological impact of in situ disposal options when chemical euthanasia agents are employed.
Just knowing the quantity of chemical euthanizing agents being dumped into the ecosystem can alert researchers to a variety of potentially related environmental problems.  For instance, do we know of the life cycle of deadly barbiturates in animal carcasses buried or exposed to the elements? No we don't.  What genetic mutations might result from animals ingesting non-lethal levels of these chemicals, or as they travel through the food chain or the water cycle and become ingested by humans?  What, for instance, will happen to the massive quantity of chemical agent used to euthanize 11 beached pilot whales subsequently buried in the Nantucket landfill on July 5, 2000?  What happens when even trace amounts of barbiturates combine with the hundreds of other toxic chemicals flushed down our toilets every day?

Help researchers and wildlife officials more easily track wildlife mortality associated with euthanasia agents, and other secondary poisonings. 
Just knowing that rancher X has chemically euthanized two bovids in any area will accelerate the ability of officials to determine the cause of "mysterious" deaths of wildlife in that area.

The National Euthansia Registry depends on donations to keep this site up and available to all interested parties.  Your help is greatly appreciated.

$25 donation
$50 donation
$75 donation
$100 donation

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