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Alternatives to Carbon Dioxide—Taking Responsibility for Humanely Ending the Life of Animals

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Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Section of Anesthesia and Analgesia, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Laenggassstrasse 124, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
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Directorate Swiss 3R Competence Centre, Hochschulstrasse 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
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Division of Laboratory Animal Welfare, Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
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Division of International Affairs, Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
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Division of Food Hygiene and Nutrition, Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
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Institute of Animal Welfare and Animal Husbandry, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Dörnbergstraße 25/27, 29223 Celle, Germany
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Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Services, Section of Anaesthesiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 258c, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
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Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire AL4 8AN, UK
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Animal Welfare Program, University of British Colombia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(8), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080482
Received: 27 June 2019 / Revised: 16 July 2019 / Accepted: 19 July 2019 / Published: 24 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 60 Years of the Three Rs and Their Impact on Animal Welfare)
Carbon dioxide has long been considered one of the better methods for euthanizing laboratory rodents because it allows termination of several animals at one time, does not require handling of the animal, is easy to use, is inexpensive, and is environmentally friendly. Research, though, has shown that this gas is aversive to rodents and that it may be inhumane to expose them to this gas while they are conscious. Therefore, the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office has set out to find a suitable replacement and organized a meeting that included representatives and experts of the different stakeholders involved in this process in order to find a solution. The conclusion of this meeting was that a replacement is required, and the next step would be to draft a research strategy to find a suitable replacement.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill rodents. However, a large body of research has now established that CO2 is aversive to them. A multidisciplinary symposium organized by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office discussed the drawbacks and alternatives to CO2 in euthanasia protocols for laboratory animals. Dialogue was facilitated by brainstorming sessions in small groups and a “World Café”. A conclusion from this process was that alternatives to CO2 were urgently required, including a program of research and extension to meet the needs for humane killing of these animals. The next step will involve gathering a group of international experts to formulate, draft, and publish a research strategy on alternatives to CO2. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon dioxide; euthanasia; laboratory animals carbon dioxide; euthanasia; laboratory animals
MDPI and ACS Style

Axiak Flammer, S.; Eskes, C.; Kohler, I.; Ochieng Pernet, A.; Jakob, P.; Marahrens, M.; Gent, T.C.; Golledge, H.; Weary, D. Alternatives to Carbon Dioxide—Taking Responsibility for Humanely Ending the Life of Animals. Animals 2019, 9, 482.

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