Livestock mortality management

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Information and resources for livestock owners about mortality disposal.

COVID-19 response

Alberta livestock producers must follow regulated methods to manage the disposal of mortalities in the event of supply chain interruptions or market contractions due to COVID-19.

Current legislation allows for on-farm disposal of larger volumes of mortalities by deep burial, composting, burning or rendering. Should you need to depopulate, follow the regulated disposal methods mentioned below.

If you are planning to or in need of burying any volume greater than 2500 kg, an approval from the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian (OCPV) must be requested by reaching out to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Inspection and Investigation Section at 403-755-1474 (or call toll-free by first dialing 310-0000 in Alberta).

For updates on COVID-19 and on-farm disease prevention, see Biosecurity and livestock – Resources: COVID-19.

For more information, visit COVID-19 info for Albertans.

Overview

Every livestock producer must face the reality of carcass disposal, regulated by the Disposal of Dead Animals Regulation of the Animal Health Act. When livestock are euthanized because of health, welfare or other issues, consideration must be given to appropriate disposal of the carcasses.

For clarification on any proposed disposal method, please contact Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Inspection and Investigation Section at 403-755-1474 (you can call toll-free in Alberta by first dialing 310-0000).

Disposal methods

Dead animals must be disposed of in an acceptable manner within 7 days of death. Proper disposal of carcasses is important for:

  • prevention of livestock disease transmission
  • protection of air and water quality
  • preventing scavenger and predator activity

Improper disposal in an unmanaged system can result in large nuisance and risks social repercussions. Mortalities can be composted, burned, buried, rendered or naturally disposed.

Alberta’s Disposal of Dead Animals Regulation outlines the requirements associated with these methods. In particular, sections 7 through 14 outline the specific requirements for disposal of animals under each of these approaches, including:

  • conditions on the total weight of animals being disposed of,
  • prohibitions for certain methods when dealing with diseased animals, or
  • animals that have been euthanized with drugs or other chemical substances.

Anyone who knows or ought to know that any reportable or notifiable livestock diseases are or may be present in an animal must report that fact to the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian within 24 hours by calling 1-800-524-0051.

Before deciding which method of disposal will best suit your situation, consider disease containment, pathogen elimination, time limitations, location of disposal, and local/municipal regulations.

For more information, see Livestock Mortality Management (Disposal).

Contact

Connect with the Inspection and Investigation Section:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 403-755-1474
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)

Mail:
Inspection and Investigation Section
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
#201, 5030 50 Street
Olds, Alberta  T4H 1S1

Connect with the Ag-Info Centre:

Hours: 8 am to 5 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-FARM (3276)
Phone: 403-742-7901 (outside Alberta)
Email: aginfocentre@gov.ab.ca

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