Factors to consider in determining disposal options for dead livestock
- What is the typical number of animal deaths on the farm? Are the numbers particularly high during winter or birthing times?
- What is the normal size of livestock? What is the easiest and most economical process to handle the dead livestock disposal?
- Is the soil suitable for burial? How deep is the water level? Is there a possibility for groundwater to be contaminated?
- If rendering is the choice, is there an option for collection? Is there a common collection bin where the dead livestock can be picked up? Is cold storage available for dead livestock?
- If composting is an option, are there equipment and materials available for the process?
- If incineration is the option, does the state and environmental laws allow such method? If so, is there a common incinerator that can be used by adjoining farms?
It is important to ensure that the choice for dead livestock disposal is compliant with legal requirements particularly in the transport, delivery, storage and disposal of the carcasses. Disposal of dead livestock is required within 48 hours of its death or immediately if it shows signs of putrefying and produces a fetid smell. Usually carcasses tend to putrefy fast in hot weather which will require cold storage prior to disposal.
Ensuring proper collection services if rendering is the option
Rendering is an environmentally safe process for dead livestock disposal but there are requirements for collection. More often dead livestock is picked up from the farm or delivered to a common container that is jointly used by other farms. Common collection containers allow for more efficient services but livestock must be stored properly and concealed from the public while awaiting pickup. Any liquids from the dead livestock must not escape into the ground and it should not attract scavengers and predators as it will pose bio-security risks for the farm. However, not all species of animals are collected for rendering and it makes sense to consider whether this method is a viable option.
Incineration as a viable option for dead livestock disposal
Incinerators that are used for dead livestock disposal must have the Verification Certificate from Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV Canada) that will certify the existence of a secondary chamber capable of maintaining gases that will enter from the primary chamber at 1000oC or higher for at least 1 second or 850oC or higher for at least 2 seconds. High temperature in the secondary chamber is important to ensure that contaminants in the emissions will be significantly reduced. When performed properly, incineration is an option that can be considered.