All carcasses of farmed Cervidae that die, or are killed, must be disposed of within 72 hours, unless other arrangements for disposal have been approved by the Board of Animal Health. Leaving carcasses to decompose in place, on the open landscape, in open pits or ditches, or in or near water is illegal and unacceptable. Proper disposal is necessary to prevent spread of disease to people and other animals and to protect the environment.
Carcass disposal options:
- Chemical digestion.
- Onsite burial.
CWD positive, exposed, or suspect herds must be disposed of in a manner determined by the Board.
Preferred Disposal Methods
Before digging, request a location check from Gopher State One Call at 800-252-1166 to find any power, pipe, or communications lines buried under your chosen site. Carcasses must be buried deep enough to prevent scavengers from digging up and removing the carcass from the disposal site. Carcasses should be buried within an enclosure to prevent contact with wild cervids.
Steps to get started with burial:
- Check with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to find locations where water table depths allow you to bury.
- Stay away from both above ground and underground water sources.
- The hole must be five feet above the seasonal high-water table. Check the water table depth when you bury by digging the hole and then drilling down an additional five feet to verify that you are above the water table.
- When you find a suitable location, dig the hole deep enough to completely cover the carcass.
Off-site disposal (if on-site disposal is not an option)
The preferred off-site disposal location is an approved landfill. You must contact the landfill to ensure they are approved and willing to accept carcasses.
Chemical digestion is a method used by research facilities and diagnostic laboratories to safely dispose of infectious tissues by using high concentrations of sodium hydroxide. CWD positive and exposed carcasses indemnified by regulatory officials must be disposed of in this manner or an alternate manner approved by the Board.
Alternate Disposal Methods
If burial in an enclosure or off-site disposal at an approved landfill will not work, farmed Cervidae may be composted inside an enclosure. Please contact your inspector to discuss composting.
General steps to get started composting:
- Obtain a carbon-rich material like sawdust, small wood shavings, or brown-colored crop residues. Mixing two or three types of carbon-rich material together works best.
- You will need between three to five cubic yards of the material for every 1,000 pounds of carcass.
- “Seed” the pile of material with some manure, or unfinished compost ahead of time to kick-start the composting process.
- Mix water into the pile occasionally when high interior temperatures dry it out.
- You will need a front-end loader or other machine to assemble the pile, move carcasses, and turn the pile.
- The nutrients in your compost pile should be about 30 parts Carbon and one part Nitrogen (30:1).
- The pile should have three to five feet of porous compost materials surrounding its core to serve as an insulator and keep the core at 130°F or higher.