Mortalities occur in livestock production. Proper disposal of animal carcasses is an important part of preventing the potential spread of disease and protecting the environment. South Dakota law requires carcasses of animals which have died from non-communicable causes shall, within 36 hours, be burned, buried to a depth of four feet, incorporated into a composting system, or disposed of by a licensed rendering plant.
The following are some good management practices and resources to aid producers in ensuring that livestock carcass and other associated wastes are disposed of responsibly in an environmentally-safe manner.
Burial is an inexpensive and bio secure way to handle dead stock.
Onsite Burial Handout
Composting is also an inexpensive and environmentally-friendly way to dispose of animal carcasses. When done correctly, composting results in a usable material that can be applied to fields.
Elements needed to start and maintain a successful compost pile include:
Carcass Disposal/Composting Handout
Incineration is a cold-weather alternative to burial, but a more costly method of carcass disposal.
Take into consideration access to the site in varying climatic conditions. Carcass disposal sites should be aesthetically acceptable, consider proximity to roadways and the viewing public.
Rendering is an excellent option for the utilization of animal proteins for carcasses that cannot enter the food chain. Availability of rendering services in South Dakota can be somewhat limited.
Vehicles that haul carcasses for rendering services need to be inspected and permitted by the Animal Industry Board. To prevent disease spread and sanitation purposes, carcasses and animal parts are transported in leak-proof vehicles or containers that are covered. Please see the table below to find companies providing rendering hauling services in South Dakota.
Iowa State University the Center for Food Security & Public Health – Just-in-Time Training (JIT) for Responders to Animal Health Emergencies
Kansas State University – Carcass disposal: A comprehensive review
Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Community – Managing Animal Mortalities Curriculum Materials
National Pork Board – Tools for Pork Producers
The Science Source for Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Issues – Swine Carcass Disposal Options for Routine and Catastrophic Mortality
Veterinary Compliance Assistance – Carcass Disposal Information