AWI Joins Veterinarians in Urging AVMA to Stop Endorsing Inhumane Killing Methods

Bodies of deceased pigs lie piled in a dumpster
Photo by Direct Action Everywhere

Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is supporting thousands of veterinary professionals in their recent request to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) that the association revise its guidelines to no longer permit killing animals by inducing heat stroke, a method known as ventilation shutdown plus (VSD+).

This method has been used during the COVID-19 pandemic to kill at least a quarter of a million healthy pigs who could not be sent to slaughterhouses that had temporarily closed due to staffing shortages. In VSD+, operators seal the barn, turn off the airflow, and add heat and sometimes steam to raise the temperature as high as 170°F. The process can take hours and cause extreme distress. AWI has maintained that all forms of ventilation shutdown are likely to result in prolonged and severe suffering and should be reclassified by the AVMA as “not recommended” for killing animals. 

AWI and other animal protection organizations have released an open letter to the AVMA, adding their voices to the more than 3,500 veterinary professionals, including 1,561 veterinarians, who have signed a petition created by Veterinarians Against Ventilation Shutdown that calls on the AVMA to revise its guidelines.

Media Contact Information

Marjorie Fishman, Animal Welfare Institute
[email protected], (202) 446-2128

The Animal Welfare Institute ( is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and other important animal protection news.