Livestock Mortality Management (Disposal)

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 Livestock producers are in the business of producing marketable meat products. However, every livestock producer must face the reality of carcass disposal, regulated by the Destruction and Disposal of Dead Animals Regulation of the Animal Health Act, Appendix A. Dead animals must be disposed of in an acceptable manner within 7 days of death. Mortalities can be composted, incinerated, buried, rendered or naturally disposed.

Proper disposal of carcasses is important for both the prevention of livestock disease transmission and the protection of air and water quality. Access to carcasses by scavengers is only permitted under the guidelines for natural disposal.

The environmental considerations for improper disposal include:

  • Odour – decomposition of organic matter, particularly the anaerobic (lacking oxygen) breakdown of proteins by bacteria, will produce a foul odour.
  • Scavengers – ravens, magpies, coyotes, etc. and insects can transmit disease and are a nuisance.
  • Pathogens – disease-causing spores may still be viable.
  • Excess Nutrients – concentrated source of nitrogen.
  • Nuisance – visible carcasses and bones fuel social issues and can puncture tires.
The entire book is available as a downloadable PDF.

Source: Agdex 400/29-1. Revised 2015.


Other Documents in the Series

  Livestock Mortality Management (Disposal) - Current Document
Livestock Mortality Burial Techniques
Large Animal Mortality Composting
Swine Mortality Composting
Poultry Mortality Composting
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This document is maintained by Jennifer Rutter.
This information published to the web on March 1, 2002.
Last Reviewed/Revised on November 6, 2017.