Livestock carcasses can be a hazard to the environment and other animals so they require special handling. To minimize soil or water contamination and the risk of spreading disease, guidelines for proper cull and deadstock disposal must be followed. Disposal options include calling a licensed collector to remove deadstock or burial in an approved animal disposal pit. Alternatives include incineration and composting.
Composting avoids the air contamination associated with burning mortalities and is economical. Since the heat in the pile eliminates most pathogens, composting can also improve the biosecurity of your farming operation.
If death was caused by a highly infectious disease:
- Clean and disinfect the area after the carcass is removed.
- Wear protective clothing when handling deadstock and thoroughly disinfect or dispose of clothing before handling live animals.
- Properly dispose of contaminated bedding, milk, manure, or feed.
- Check with your State Veterinarian about disposal options. Burial may not be legal. Special methods of incineration or composting may be used in cases of highly infectious diseases.
If a licensed collector picks up your deadstock:
Limit the access of the deadstock collector and his vehicle to areas well away from other animals, their feed and water supply, grazing areas, or walkways.
In the U.S., each state has its own regulations for animal carcass management. Visit the USDA APHIS website to find your state agriculture department contacts.
Animals that were exhibiting neurologic signs prior to death will need to have samples collected by your veterinarian for testing. Special disposal regulations may apply.