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April 29, 2011

Dead Animal Disposal Advisory

As people begin to recover from the storms, emergency officials expect that a number of animal carcasses, including pets, wildlife and livestock, are likely to be found. People in affected areas should avoid contact with dead animals to protect their personal and public health and safety.

Services are being coordinated among various local and state agencies to see that carcasses are disposed of properly. Along state roads and highways, the Tennessee Department of Transportation will continue routine small animal and wildlife pick up and disposal services.

Farm owners who have suffered livestock losses should promptly dispose of livestock in accordance with state law and as directed by the State Veterinarian. Farm owners should dispose of carcasses within 48 hours of the discovery of the dead animal, regardless of weather conditions. Options for disposal of dead farm animals and general guidelines include:

  • On-farm Burial – Generally, a farmer may bury deceased livestock without a permit provided that burial is on-site and less than one acre in size. To protect water quality, on-farm burial sites should be:
    • o More than 300 feet from well heads,
    • o More than 165 feet from a property line or public use area,
    • o More than 100 feet from waters or wet weather conveyance,
    • o More than 2 feet above bedrock and the groundwater table.
  • Landfilling – Farmers may dispose of dead farm animals in Class I landfills in Tennessee. Please contact your local landfill for more specific information about restrictions.
  • Composting – Producers may elect to compost large animal mortalities. Follow USDA‐NRCS technical guidance found in Conservation Practice Standard 317.
  • Rendering – Rendering companies may offer on-farm service to pick up dead animals, but service may be limited to certain counties and restrictions may apply depending on the age and type of livestock.

Catastrophic Losses:

The State Veterinarian with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture should be notified at 615-837-5120 when catastrophic losses are greater than 10,000 pounds.

People in affected areas who encounter dead animals or unclaimed dead livestock should contact their county services for disposal assistance.

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