Deciding on the best option for disposal of dead livestock
The selection of a burial site is the primary factor when deciding if burial of dead livestock is the best option. Burial is the least expensive of all options for disposal but an unacceptable burial site can create health, environmental and aesthetic problems. Knowing in advance the state regulations on proper burial sites can be invaluable for emergency management of animal mortality. During emergency situations when onsite burial is not a viable option, the alternative is animal incinerators that generate solid waste products that have been significantly minimized in volume and are essentially free from pathogens or putrid materials. There are situations when animal incinerators are the most desirable form of carcass disposal so that the spread of infectious diseases can be immediately controlled.
Common methods of animal incineration
Many states do not approve of open air burning but restrictions are often waived during emergency situations. The problem with open air burning is the availability of combustible materials that will generate sufficient temperature to completely consume the carcass and reduce its volume. If combustion is not completed there is a tendency for its smoke to be full of particulate matter and offensive odors. Animal incinerators are more efficient options because there is no pollution or particulates produced because it achieves complete oxidation of the animal carcasses. However, there are limiting factors to incineration like cost, lack of portability and capacity restraints. Most incineration plants are located near urban and industrial settings and the carcasses have to be transported.
A relatively new technology in animal incinerators is the air curtain incinerator or trench burners with large capacity fans driven by diesel engines connected to ducting. High velocity air is delivered down the length of the trench which can be used for large scale disasters wherein a great number of livestock perish. This type of burning is effectively controlled so that it produces little smoke at temperatures as high as 2000oF. This type of animal incineration is environmentally friendly although it can be quite expensive to operate because of the amount of fuel it consumes. Its availability is also limited.
There are other environmentally friendly options for the disposal of animal carcasses like composting which is in effect a form of recycling. The end result of composting is fertilizer or a soil additive that can be used on the fields. Composting is routinely used in many livestock farms because the initial costs are economical. However, composting is a slow process and needs regular monitoring.