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Humane killing of horses and goats

Humanely killing horses

The recommended ways to kill a horse are by firearm or lethal injection. If you choose to use a firearm, the preferred method is by a rifle shot using the frontal method. The ideal site is slightly above (1cm) the intersection of two imaginary lines drawn from the eye to the opposite ear.

For adult horses – a rifle should deliver at least the muzzle energy of a standard 0.22 magnum cartridge. For foals – a rifle should deliver at least the muzzle energy of a standard 0.22 long rifle cartridge.

Diagram indicating the frontal method for the humane destruction of horses

Humanely killing goats

To humanely kill a goat of any age either:

  • use a firearm
  • stun with a captive bolt then immediately bleed out; or
  • give a lethal injection.

For kids under 24 hours old, blunt trauma may also be used provided this can be done competently and there is no other of the above options available.

If you choose to use a firearm or captive bolt, the poll method is the preferred method. A firearm should deliver at least the muzzle energy of a standard 0.22 long rifle cartridge. To position the captive bolt or gun, select a site in the middle just behind the bony ridge between the horns, and aim towards the back of the throat (as for horned sheep).

Diagram with arrow indicating where to position captive bolt or firearm for humane destruction of a goat

After shooting the brain with a captive bolt, the animal should be bled out immediately to ensure death.

Bleeding out only

Goats should be stunned by captive bolt before bleeding out; however, bleeding out alone can be used in an emergency.

If you are bleeding out the animal:

  1. Make sure you use a sharp knife at least 6 inches long.
  2. Make sure to cut both carotid arteries
  3. Do not under any circumstances break or sever the spinal cord. This just causes more pain and also paralysis, which adds to the potential for stress.

Blunt trauma

Blunt trauma should only be used when there is no other recommended option for humane killing. It can only be used on kids that are less than 24 hours old.

The use of blunt trauma on newborn young goats of less than 24 hours old must immediately be followed by bleeding-out, while the animal is unconscious, to ensure death.

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