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

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.

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