Best Environmental Management Practices: Mortality Management

Gould, C., Rozeboom, D., Hawkins, S.

A few animals die because of disease, injury, or other causes in any confined livestock operation. The mortality rate is generally highest for newborn animals because of their vulnerability. Catastrophic mortality can occur if an epidemic infects and destroys a large portion of the herd or flock in a short time, or if a natural disaster, such as a flood, strikes. There are also incidences when an entire herd or flock must be destroyed to protect human health or other farms in the area. The purpose of this publication is to present options to manage normal, day-to-day mortalities. Several of the methods discussed may also be used for managing catastrophic mortality if scaled appropriately and accomplished under the direction and guidance of pertinent authorities. Planning for a catastrophic mortality event should include the study of appropriate regulations, locating a site for disposal, and having insurance to cover the cost involved.