Unfortunately, being a final year vet student, I've witnessed and done my fair share of euthanasias. The topic of euthanasing a horse vs. shooting it often comes up.
To be brutally honest, I actually believe the bullet to be more humane - assuming it is an accurate shot. The horse is gone instantly. However, it is not pleasant to watch and I would never put an owner through it if I could avoid it. Some horses just drop down but we had a horse leap straight into the air before crashing down - nothing wrong with the shot, just a nervous system reaction.
For the euthanasia, we always sedate the horses first and we prefer to do it outside on the grass (of course this is not always feasible). But unfortunately, like all drugs, some horses can fight both the sedative and the euthanasia which can also be traumatic.
Then there is also the debate on whether the carcass is to be used for animal consumption (game parks etc.) which I understand is hard to imagine and accept but is common here in South Africa. And then of course, you have to opt for the bullet route.
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