Animal carcass disposal can have a negative impact upon water quality. If not done properly, carcass disposal can lead to pollution or contamination of water intended for domestic use. Carcasses should be disposed of within 24 hours. Options for disposal:
- Rendering: This is done by contracting with private rendering companies. Animals that cannot be rendered include sheep, chickens (feathers), and fish (scales). Sheep and chickens can be buried or cremated. Fish can be used as food for dogs, coyotes, or alligators.
- Burial: Contact district health if you intend to bury animal carcasses, but keep in mind that carcasses should be buried at least 6 feet deep and treated with lime and pesticides.
- Alkaline Hydrolysis is an environmentally friendly non-burn carcass disposal technology that destroys all pathogens, including prions. The process hydrolyzes all biologic material, reducing all of the organic components to a sterile solution that is suitable for release to the sanitary sewer system. This effluent is also suitable as a fertilizer or as a feed in Biogas and Biodiesel waste recycling applications. For more information on this technology see the WR2, Inc. website and the article in the Sept./Oct. 2004 Animal Lab News.
Idaho State Code includes laws pertaining to the disposal of animal carcasses. It is illegal in Idaho to leave the carcass of any animal within ¼ mile of any inhabited dwellings, public highways, or streams of water for more than 24 hours. If the exposure of or burial within 200 feet of these areas pollutes or contaminates water, a misdemeanor citation could be issued. Cremation of any animal carcass within ¼ mile of a city, town, or village is also a violation of the law. Finally, don't ever dispose of a carcass in water or on a publicly used road.
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has more information on this topic.