Water-Filled Pitfall TrapsApproved November 18, 1998 (Download)
Background: Some wildlife studies have used water-filled pitfall traps for collection of small rodent populations in forest areas. Animals fall into the trap and drown. Use of pitfall traps is justified on the basis of preventing losses and inaccurate counts that might occur if multiple animals and species were trapped and held at close quarters together alive for any length of time. Such alternatives as "Have-a-Heart" traps are not acceptable for this purpose since they would not permit the trapping of additional animals following the first time they are tripped. Arguments that drowning is not accompanied by distress and anxiety seem unfounded.
Policy: The AVMA Panel on Euthanasia deems drowning as unacceptable as a method of euthanasia. Approval to use such methodology is granted by the ACC only with compelling scientific justification and assurance that acceptable alternative approaches are not available.