Animal Carcass Disposal Options

Rahman, S., Dvorak, T., Stoltenow, C., Mukhtar, S.

Animal mortality losses are a normal part of livestock and poultry production facilities.Producers may have losses due to disease, accidents, inter-animal competition or natural disasters such as flooding. They need to think about mortality management before a death occurs to avoid having problems after the fact. The producer is responsible for disposing of these mortalities within 48 hours in an environmentally acceptable manner. Safe disposal of carcasses is an important issue for day-to-day, routine management of livestock and poultry mortalities to prevent disease transmission and to protect air and water quality. Therefore, carcass disposal remains one of the major problems facing livestock and poultry producers. Owners and operators of animal feeding operations (AFOs) have several options for disposing mortalities, including rendering, incineration, burial and composting. Each option has a set of advantages and disadvantages that must be considered during planning for and prior to mortality disposal. Producers must take special precautions with the disposal of diseased animals because states may have stricter and different mortality handling and disposal requirements pertaining to certain infectious diseases. The following is a brief discussion of each disposal option. Contacting your local regulatory agency to determine what regulatory requirements may need to be met before adopting any of the following options also is helpful.