Report of the second Newcastle meeting on laboratory animal euthanasia

Millions of laboratory animals are killed each year worldwide, either because their organs or tissues are required, because a humane endpoint has been reached, or because they are surplus to requirements (e.g. due overbreeding or lack of a desired genotype). There are ethical and legal reasons for ensuring that those deaths cause minimal suffering. At the same time, there is no consensus about what methods of killing animals are most humane for many species or stages of development.


To tackle this issue, the NC3Rs and Newcastle University co-hosted a meeting in 2013, on the welfare implications of different euthanasia methods for mice, rats and zebrafish (the three species most commonly used in laboratories). The event brought together an international audience including researchers, veterinarians, facility managers, animal technologists, research regulators, and staff of animal welfare and 3Rs organisations. A group of experts has this week published the meeting report in the open access journal Animals. The report summarises the research findings presented at the meeting, along with an overview of the current (2016) understanding in the field and recommendations to help inform good practice for humane killing.




Hawkins P, Prescott MJ, Carbone L, Dennison N, Johnson C, Makowska J, Marquardt N, Readman G, Weary DM, Golledge HDR (2016) A good death?: Report of the second Newcastle meeting on laboratory animal euthanasia. Animals 6(9), 50. doi:10.3390/ani50x000x