Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Animal carcass disposal

Animal carcass disposaldead horse

This guidance is relevant if you need to dispose of dead animals.

There are different requirements for disposing of farmed animal carcasses and wild animal carcasses.

If you need to dispose of farmed animal carcasses, you should contact either:

  • the National Fallen Stock Company
  • the DAERA in Northern Ireland or Animal and Plant Health Agency in Scotland
  • your local council trading standards department.

For fallen stock over 48 months old, you should contact an approved transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) sampling site to have your animal collected and disposed of.

Animals usually regarded as farm species include sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, poultry, horses and other equine species.

What you must do

Dispose of farmed animal carcasses correctly

If you handle or dispose of fallen stock or parts of animal carcasses, you must meet the requirements of the Animal By-Products Regulations (ABPR).

You must not bury animal carcasses or parts of carcasses on your land except:

  • during outbreaks of notifiable disease if there is a lack of capacity at rendering plants and incinerators, or if transporting the carcasses would spread disease
  • in designated remote areas - parts of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland

Scottish Government: Designated remote areas in Scotland (PDF, 1.90MB)

You must have permission from your local Divisional Veterinary Office or Animal Health before you bury carcasses.

During disease outbreaks, you can get advice on suitable disposal methods from:

  • DAERA approved premises in Northern Ireland
  • your local Animal and Plant Heath Agency office in Scotland.

DAERA: List of Approved Premises and Operators

Animal and Plant Health Agency: Scotland Field services offices

In Scotland you can find information on burying animal carcasses in chapter ten of the Prevention of Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.

Scottish Government: PEPFAA code

Carcass burial by agricultural businesses

Burying pets and wild animals

You are allowed to bury dead pets on your own premises, in an authorised pet cemetery or landfill site.

Wild animals are not covered by animal by-product controls, unless they are thought to be diseased. Wild animals include:

  • wild deer
  • wild boar
  • rabbits
  • foxes
  • rats
  • squirrels
  • moles
  • wild birds.

If you have killed a wild animal as vermin or to reduce its population, you need to dispose of the carcass appropriately. This includes animals caught in a trap or snare, and animals that have been shot. Wild animal carcasses are classed as waste, and you have a legal duty of care to handle, store and dispose of them safely, so you don't cause pollution or attract vermin.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Bury poisoned vermin safely

You can bury small quantities of vermin that you have killed on your land. If you bury rodents, you must ensure that you don't cause water pollution.

The NIEA has produced guidance with conditions which you must meet if you bury rodent carcasses on your land in Northern Ireland.

NIEA: Regulatory Position Statement - Burial of Rodents Poisoned on Farmland 

SEPA has produced a position statement with conditions which you must meet if you bury rodent carcasses on your land.

SEPA: Position statement - Burial of small quantities of rodent carcasses poisoned on farmland (Adobe PDF - 178KB)

 

Burning animal carcasses

You must not burn any animal carcasses in the open. You can only burn animal carcasses if you are in a designated remote area, if there is a disease outbreak and there is a lack of capacity at rendering plants and incinerators, or if transporting the carcasses would spread the disease.

If you burn animal carcasses in an incinerator, you may need a pollution prevention and control permit or registered exemption.

 

Good practice

The National Fallen Stock Company helps farmers and horse owners comply with the ABPR by providing a scheme that offers a legal, reliable and low-cost means of collecting and disposing of carcasses. The scheme is open to all farmed-livestock owners and businesses. If you join the scheme you will be provided with the rates for collection operators in your area.

Scotland and Northern Ireland: National Fallen Stock Company

You do not have to join the National Fallen Stock Scheme. You can still arrange to dispose of animal carcasses independently. Contact the scheme on 0845 054 8888 for contact details of local disposal services.

If you arrange disposal of carcasses yourself, you should ensure they are removed by:

  • an Animal Health or DVO approved renderer or licensed knacker's yard
  • incineration in an incinerator licensed under the ABPR
  • an Animal Health or DVO approved hunt kennels if they are to be used as dog feed.

You must ensure that the recipients of the carcass hold the appropriate licence, permit or authorisation.

 

Further Information

National fallen stock company: Collection and disposal services

DAERA: Fallen cattle surveillance scheme (Northern Ireland)

DAERA helpline numbers

Animal and Plant Health Agency: Scotland Field Services Offices

Scottish Government: Designated remote areas in Scotland (PDF, 1.90MB)

DAERA: Animal by-products guidance (Northern Ireland)

Scottish Government: Animal by-products

Return to Animal By-Products landing page

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