Some fundamental issues are defined, such as competency of animal handling and implementation of humane killing techniques. Some of these methods have been used for many years, but novel approaches for the mass killing of particular species are being explored. Novel vaccines and new diagnostic techniques that differentiate between vaccinated and infected animals will save many animals from being killed as part of biosecurity response measures. Unfortunately, the destruction of affected livestock will still be required to control diseases whilst vaccination programmes are activated or where effective vaccines are not available. This paper reviews the principles of humane destruction and depopulation and explores available techniques with their associated advantages and disadvantages. It also identifies some current issues that merit consideration, such as legislative conflicts (emergency disease legislation versus animal welfare legislation, occupational health and safety), media issues, opinions on the future approaches to killing for disease control, and animal welfare.