What you must do

You must not normally bury animal carcasses or parts of animal carcasses on your farm.

You may only bury animal carcasses in very limited circumstances: for emergency disease control or if you are located in areas designated as 'remote areas' in the Animal By-Products Regulations (ABPR).

Disposing of animal carcasses

Check you are authorised

In Northern Ireland, you may only bury animal carcasses if you have permission from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). Burial or burning of fallen stock is permitted in areas designated as ‘remote’. The ‘remote areas’ in Northern Ireland are Rathlin Island and Copeland Islands.

NIEA: Fallen Stock Guidance

In Scotland, you can only bury animal carcasses:

  • on farms that are in the designated 'remote areas', and
  • if an alternative approved disposal route is not available.

Most of the Highlands and islands in Scotland are defined as 'remote areas'.

Scottish Government: Less favourable areas

Authorised burial

If you are authorised to bury carcasses, you must:

  • Consult your environmental regulator to discuss the best location for your disposal sites.
  • Ask your environmental regulator whether you need to apply for a groundwater authorisation (Northern Ireland) or an authorisation under the Controlled Activities Regulations (Scotland).
  • Never dispose of carcasses in or near watercourses, boreholes or springs. You may be committing a pollution offence if you allow any polluting matter to enter surface waters or groundwater.
  • Keep a written or electronic record of your disposal sites for at least two years.

Contact your environmental regulator

Good practice

If you are authorised to bury carcasses and have complied with all conditions required in your authorisation, you will still need to ensure that:

  • burial sites are at least 250m from any well, borehole or spring that supplies drinking water or water for use in a farm dairy
  • in Scotland, burial sites are at least 50m from any watercourse and at least 10m from any field drain
  • there is at least 1m of subsoil below the bottom of any burial pit and 1m of soil to cover the carcasses
  • there is no standing water at the bottom of the hole when you first dig it
  • you do not leave pits open or carcasses unburied as dogs, foxes and other scavengers could gain access to them.

Further information

The codes of good agricultural practice provide further information for burying carcasses.

SEE ALSO: Carcass disposal, Carcass incineration, Agriculture guidance

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