Guidelines for Disposal of Dead Farm Livestock

The guidelines are designed to protect the public and animal health and to reduce the risk of contamination of drinking water supplies and surface water resources.  The permanent discarding or temporary storage of exposed carcasses on the surface of the ground or the disposal of carcasses in manure storage are considered to represent an environmental and public health hazard.

What legislation applies to these guidelines?

The following guidelines for the disposal of dead farm livestock (includes small household animals, animal offal and other inedibles) are made under the authority of Section 3.(1)(c) of the Prince Edward Island Environmental Protection Act and Section 3 of the Public Health Act.

In addition to these guidelines, the Minister of Agriculture, under the authority provided by the P.E.I. Animal Health Protection Act, may prescribe other methods of destruction and disposal of diseased livestock carcasses.

What disposal options are environmentally acceptable?

The following disposal options are presented in order of environmental acceptability, from best practice to acceptable practice;

  • The utilization of a carcass removal service where the animal carcasses are later disposed of in some way, processed or rendered in the manufacture of animal food products.
  •  Poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, etc.) and other small animals (fish, pets, offal, etc.) should be stored in a freezer within 48 hours of death and held for pick-up.
  •  Agricultural animals (swine, cattle, horses, sheep, and goats) should be picked up within 48 hours of death. Information on this service is available - Dead Livestock Removal Services.
  • Small agricultural animals and poultry may be disposed of by composting. The use of composting technology in the disposal of farm livestock and poultry is becoming more widely used. It is considered to be a low cost, environmentally acceptable method of dead stock disposal. Information on composting techniques is available from the Department of Agriculture.
  • Underground burial on farms is not permitted.

Department of Agriculture
Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change

Published date: 
April 1, 2023

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P.O. Box 2000,
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