Baker Commodities no longer accepting animals euthanized by barbiturates.

  |   Practice Management

Veterinarians who euthanize horses are being told by haulers that Baker Commodities is no longer accepting horses and other animals that have been euthanized “using any barbiturates, pentobarbital, other chemicals harmful to animals, or prohibited chemicals or drugs.” Baker says the new directives are to protect a safe feed product, protect the public food supply chain, and to comply with FDA regulations. They will accept animals that have been euthanized using acceptable methods of euthanasia including penetrating captive bolt to the head, firearms using a non-lead projectile, IV solutions of KCI with anesthesia, water foam asphyxiation, or CO2.

The change to Baker’s policy is also creating big concerns for veterinarians in how to humanely euthanize large animals without the use of barbiturates. The AVMA is currently working to schedule an in-person meeting with key stakeholders to gain clarity around the issues and to hopefully arrive at some practical solutions.

In the interim, guidance on multiple methods of euthanasia, including alternatives to pentobarbital, is available from the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. In addition to AVMA’s plans to gather key stakeholders on this topic, they are in the middle of an interim update to these Guidelines and are exploring additional alternative approaches to euthanasia for species for which the use of pentobarbital is particularly challenging. The AVMA is expected to have updated guidelines in November.

Baker’s refusal to pick up euthanized animals is creating a disposal problem. Other options besides rendering include taking the animal to a landfill, burial, composting or incineration. The Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Disposal Manual outlines state laws that oversee proper disposal. Local health officials can also assist with city or county requirements.

The Animal Disposal Site ArcGIS Map has Washington state locations and information for incinerators, landfills, renderers, carbon dioxide, and roll-off dumpsters. WSDA created this to help prepare for a potential outbreak of Avian Influenza and thus why it is called Poultry Disposal Sites. However, any animal carcass is applicable to this map.

The WSVMA is offering sessions on Large Animal Humane Euthanasia alternatives at the Pacific Northwest Veterinary Conference on Sunday, September 30 in Tacoma. Register here.


Baker Commodities – Certification Form for Euthanized Animals Prohibited from Rendering Baker Commodities

Baker Commodities – Acceptable Euthanasia Methods

Cerebral and Brainstem Electrophysiologic Activity During Euthanasia with Pentobarbital Sodium in Horses– JVIM

Electrophysiologic Study of a Method of Euthanasia Using Intrathecal Lidocaine Hydrochloride Administered During Intravenous Anesthesia in Horses – JVIM

Drug Residues After Intravenous Anesthesia and Intrathecal Lidocaine Hydrochloride Euthanasia in Horses – JVIM

Cornell University Horse Carcass disposal alternatives


Updated August 13, 2018