Livestock culling is an integral part of disease management and farm safety. Animal culling is often needed on an emergency basis when there’s little time to sit down and plan an effective culling strategy. That’s if a plan hasn’t already been established. Current depopulation strategies bring challenges when considering animal welfare, logistics, equipment, human mental health and research.

However, depopulation differs from euthanasia, where the goal is to put the animal down as humanely as possible. Depopulation refers to very serious situations when rendering the animal unconscious as fast as possible is more important in order to reduce negative emotional states. There is currently no recommendation for swine, so researchers at Ohio State’s Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine created one. In a study that analyzed swine brain activity, results showed that water-based foam allowed for a relatively quick time to unconsciousness and brain death in pigs (under 2 minutes and 3 minutes, respectively).

Read more on water-based foam as a depopulation method in times of stress here.