Disposal of an animal's carcass isn't at the front of anyone's mind - until it's needed.
Dead animals can be a risk to biosecurity and be hazardous to the environment, therefore appropriate disposal is essential to ensure a healthy, safe and productive farm.
The disposal methods required will depend on the size of the dead animal.
The disposal of a large animal like a horse or cow can be a logistical challenge.
The use of a knackery, rendering plant, or an appropriately licensed landfill may provide an option.
For a knackery to collect livestock they generally insist the animal is a large animal, such as a cow or horse, and is alive or at the very least freshly deceased and if they are cattle, sheep or goats, must have a NLIS ear tag affixed.
Limited numbers of dead stock can be buried on a farm, provided the burial site does not negatively impact the land, surface or ground waters, or create odours.
To reduce environmental impacts, an on-farm burial site should be on elevated land, in low-permeable soil, well above the water table and well away from water runoff and neighbouring houses.
The carcass should also be sufficiently covered with at least one metre of soil.
Personal safety should always be considered when constructing a pit.
If left in paddocks, dead stock can be a potential disease risk and could contaminate land and water.
Agriculture Victoria provides a guide to disposing of dead stock after bushfires. For more information go to Disposing of carcasses after bushfire, flood or drought | What to do after a bushfire | Bushfires | Emergency management | Farm management | Agriculture Victoria
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has the power to penalise or fine a livestock owner or manager who does not dispose of dead stock properly.
For further information please contact your local Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer or the EPA.