Board of Animal Health investigates complaints from the public concerning
the disposal of dead livestock.
Agricultural Regulatory Specialists visit the premises to ensure
disposal of carcasses complies with Board of Animal Health rules.
GENERAL OVERVIEW: There are always losses (mortality) in animal production.
Proper disposal of
carcasses is important both to prevent livestock disease transmission, and
to protect air and water quality.
This document provides options for disposal with associated
advantages, disadvantages and rule requirements.
Carcass Disposal is
Regulated by: *
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Rules
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
* These are summarized in the
following Best Management Practices.
LEGAL METHODS OF DISPOSAL (As of January 1996)
* Allowed by Law, but at this time
Minnesota renderers will not process sheep or goats.
Carcass: The body or a part of a
domestic animal or fowl that has died or has been killed otherwise than by
being slaughtered for human or animal consumption.
Discarded Animal Parts: All or a part of animals, fish,
or poultry that have been killed for human or animal consumption and not
used for that purpose.
1. Carcass must be
disposed of as soon as reasonably possible, ie; within 48-72 hours.
2. Burying a carcass
requires that the carcass be 5 feet above the high water level and covered
with 3 feet of dirt. Sandy or
gravelly areas or areas within 10 feet of bedrock should be avoided.
3. Incineration must
be in an incinerator that is approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control
4. Hauling over the
road. Carcasses or discarded
animal parts must be in vehicles or containers that are leakproof and
covered. The vehicles also
need to be inspected and have a permit, unless the vehicle belongs to the
owner of the animal before it died.
5. Composting must
use the protocol set forth in Board rules. These are explained on the page
6. Fur farms need a
permit and inspected vehicle to haul carcasses or discarded animal parts
over the road.
7. Each carcass used
as pet food must pass an inspection by a veterinarian and must be
processed under clean and sanitary conditions.
8. Carcasses left at
an off-site pickup point must be in an animal-proof enclosed area that is
at least 200 yards from a neighbor's buildings. Carcasses must be picked up within
72 hours, except if the enclosed area is refrigerated to less than
45E F, the carcasses must be picked up within 7
C O M P O S T I N G
Composting is the process
of placing carcasses in layers with a carbon source and manure to allow
the natural heating process to break down the carcass and reduce its
mass. As of January, 1996,
composting is allowed for swine, sheep, goats and poultry.
+ Value - added product to
sell or us
+ Best and recommended
Method to handle catastrophic
+ Heat of
kills pathogens and insect larvae.
May be more labor
Requires impervious pad,
rot resistant walls and cover
to repel rain.
+ Takes some
develop the "art".
+ Requires carbon
(straw, sawdust, cornstalks, etc)
! Composting is an "art" that must be practiced because of the variety in materials, weather conditions and number of carcasses. It is best to have the same person doing the composting to consistently read the pile.
Build composter out of sight and away from neighbors. While a compost pile that is working right will have no smell and no insects, it may bother neighbors to see carcasses going into it on a daily basis. Convince your neighbors to use the finished compost for their gardens (before you tell them what is in it).
I N C I N E R A T I O N
Incineration is an
effective but more costly method, working well as a cold weather
+ Can use year-round.
+ Biosecurity (No trucks coming
from other farms to pick up
Fuel cost - expensive.
+ Very expensive
for larger size carcasses.
Place your incinerator out of
sight or enclosed with a decorative screen
Consider the wind direction
and time of the day, so as to least effect your neighbors.
Most problems from
incineration come from the odor of burning hair or feathers that
interferes with a neighbor's outdoor activities.
B U R I A L
Burial requires great
care in site selection because as carcasses decompose, they release
materials that can pollute ground water, particularly if large volumes are
buried. This practice is most
suitable for small amounts of material (e.g. less than 2000 lb./burial
+ Inexpensive (if own equipment).
Biosecurity (No trucks coming
from other farms to pick up carcasses).
+ Difficult in
+ Can cause
+ Cannot bury where
table is within 10' of surface.
Should not be used by large
facilities or with catastrophic losses because the volume of carcasses may
lead to groundwater pollution.
Examine other alternatives for
dead livestock disposal.
Problems arise when using
burial pits and from burying a carcass too near to a neighbor's well. The neighbors complain about
burial pits when any smell comes from the farm; they assume it is from the
pit or when carcasses are not properly covered each day and dogs or wild
animals drag off parts of the carcasses.
R E N D E R I N G
Rendering offers the
grower the chance to create a recyclable feed product if it is submitted
to the renderer with proper handling.
+ Recyclable resources
+ Can use year-round.
+ Lack of
biosecurity with pickup of carcasses.
+ Not available in
+ Not available for
Get on an annual contract with
the renderer rather than a "per call" charge.
If large enough farm, get on a
scheduled weekly or twice weekly pick-up route.
Use "off-site" pickup points
for biosecurity purposes.
"off-site" pickup points.
What upsets neighbors the
most are carcasses left where other animals can drag them into their yards
or where the carcasses can be seen from the road. "Off-site" pickup points are
required to be animal-proof enclosures.
A L T E R N A T I V E M E T H O D S
The Board of Animal
Health may permit alternative methods of carcass disposal that are
effective for the protection of public health and the control of livestock
ALL ALTERNATIVE METHODS REQUIRE A PERMIT FROM
THE BOARD OF ANIMAL HEALTH.
1. PET FOOD
- Requires permit, veterinary inspection of each carcass, facilities and equipment that meet Board of Animal Health specifications.
2. FUR FARM
farm is required to have a permit and to keep the farm in a sanitary
Permits allow only the feeding to fur bearing animals that do not
re-enter the food chain.
assumes the risk of a disease or condition in the carcass that could be
detrimental to the fur animals.
3. GRINDING AND
INJECTING INTO THE MANURE PIT
permit was granted to the University of Minnesota for an experimental
trials are being conducted in 1996.
disadvantage may be neighbors' perception that the smell from the manure
pit is worse because of the carcasses in it.
Lactic fermentation utilizes a mixture of ground
carcasses and a carbohydrate source to produce a "silage" type product for
Extrusion is a method whereby ground carcasses and
a carrier such as soybean meal are cooked under pressure and moisture,
generating steam and a product with 12% moisture for refeeding.
COMMERCIAL OR EXPERIMENTAL COMPOSTING.
emergency or catastrophic loss - call the Board of Animal Health for a
permit and advice on composting the losses.
Experimental composting must be in conjunction with a University
and requires a permit.
Cattle and other species may be experimentally composted if the
protocol is approved.
REFERENCES FOR MORE
Extension Service - University of Minnesota
Dr. Sally Noll - (612) 624-4928
- Minnesota Board of Animal Health
Minnesota Pollution Control
(Feed Lot Permits) (651) 296-6300
Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources
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