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
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
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.