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Rev Sci Tech. 2005 Aug;24(2):767-82.

Strategic animal welfare issues: ethical and animal welfare issues arising from the killing of wildlife for disease control and environmental reasons.

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  • 1Animal Welfare Group, Biosecurity New Zealand, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, P.O. Box 2526, Wellington, New Zealand.


Ethical and animal welfare concerns about the destruction of free-living wildlife for disease control and environmental reasons have historically received little attention from animal welfare scientists, legislators or the public. Nevertheless, all vertebrates can experience pain and distress, regardless of whether they are unwanted pests or not. A wide range of methods is used to kill or otherwise control unwanted wildlife. The animal welfare impacts of most of these methods are not known. The extremely high number of animals being controlled and the potential impacts of this control on their welfare suggest that this is a significant strategic issue that should be considered by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). This is particularly important, given the focus of the OIE on disease control and the requirement for pest control as a part of this process.

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