Steps for the Euthanasia of Goats

To ensure you maintain a high standard of animal welfare on your farm, you will need to develop an on-farm euthanasia plan with your veterinarian. Being properly trained by your veterinarian on euthanasia techniques (including euthanasia by gunshot) is essential to helping ensure a quick and humane death for the animal. These instructions are not a replacement for training by a licenced veterinarian, but can serve as a refresher for your plan.

Before euthanizing a goat by gunshot, prepare all equipment you will need and bring it to where the animal is. Avoid unnecessary handling of animals before euthanasia.

Required equipment:

  • Restraint equipment (e.g. halter, squeeze chute, sedatives)
  • Trained and licensed firearm operator
  • Clean and maintained firearm with at least two bullets
  • Stethoscope
  • Appropriate firearm and bullet

Click here to view chart to select appropriate firearm


  • Ensure all equipment is close by and in good working order. See the manufacturer’s instructions for ensuring your firearm is ready for use.

Perform the next steps in quick succession:

  • Restrain the animal with a halter, chute, or chemical sedation (contact your veterinarian to develop an appropriate sedation protocol).
  • The gun should be approximately 30 centimeters away from the head. Never hold a gun flush against the head. This could cause the barrel to explode, harming the operator. The gun is aimed perpendicular to the intersection of two imaginary lines on top of the goat’s head, each drawn from the outside corner of the eye to poll on the opposite side of the head. The bullet is directed to the base of the tongue. The Humane Slaughter Association offers another way to find the correct shot placement: aim the gun behind the bony mass (poll or horns) on the mid-line of the head and towards the base of the tongue. Discharge the gun.

  • Check the animal for signs of death:
    • Lack of corneal reflex or ‘blinking response’ which can be tested by touching the surface of the goat’s eye. If the goat does not blink that means there is no corneal reflex.
    • Lack of a heartbeat (using a stethoscope placed under the left elbow) and lack of breathing for at least five minutes.
    • Both of these signs should be present to confirm death. If the goat is vocalizing, attempting to move or get up, or blinks when they eye is touched, the goat is conscious and should be shot again immediately.
  • The carcass of the animal must be properly disposed of using an approved method. Confirm the animal is dead before attempting to move it. Where possible, wait at least 20 minutes after confirming death to move the animal.
  • Clean and securely store the firearm as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Dispose of the carcass according to your deadstock disposal plan.