Captive Bolt Euthanasia Training Courses For Goat and Sheep Producers

In 2016, the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency (OSMA), with support from Ontario Goat (OG), received funding to conduct euthanasia training for Ontario goat and sheep producers. This project focuses on hands-on training of producers on how to effectively euthanize goats and sheep on-farm using a penetrating captive bolt pistol. The decision to train using a captive bolt is an important one as some producers do not have firearms on-farm and/or are not comfortable using them to euthanize animals. To date, four training courses have taken place, three in Guelph and one in Kemptville, with 80 producers being trained. Feedback from participants has been extremely positive. The remaining two training courses (for 30 additional producers) will take place in late summer / early f all at the University of Guelph. There is a fee to take the course and interested goat and sheep producers will be asked to fill out a short application to participate and should contact the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency at to get the application.

Training Includes:

  • providing producers with information on how to make the decision to euthanize a goat/sheep,
  • acceptable and unacceptable methods of euthanasia,
  • additional requirements when using a captive bolt (secondary steps),
  • how to safely use a captive bolt pistol,
  • how to properly maintain a captive bolt pistol,
  • the opportunity to practice on goat and sheep heads (visualize external landmarks specific to the species), and
  • the development of a herd/flock specific euthanasia action plan.

Upon course completion, producers will leave the session with their own captive bolt pistol.

Culling animals from the herd/flock is part of farming; however, there are challenges with making these decisions. One of the biggest challenges is timing - when to remove the animal from the herd. Making timely culling decisions is best for the welfare of the animal. Waiting too long can result in animal suffering, an animal being unfit for transport (animal welfare issue) and/or being condemned at slaughter.

Growing Forward 2, Agriculture Adaptive Council, Province of Ontario, Canada

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: Dr. Jocelyn Jansen, Animal Health and Welfare Branch, OMAFRA
Creation Date: 28 August 2017
Last Reviewed: 28 August 2017