Veterinary Compliance Assistance


Carcass Disposal State Regulations


Depending on circumstances, large animal carcass disposal may be regulated by a state's solid waste, medical waste, agriculture, or emergency management regulations. If your state does not provide specific guidance or regulations relating to large animal carcass disposal, check with your local health department, or city/county laws and ordinances.

In addition, during emergency situations and disasters (e.g., blizzards, floods, hurricanes, mass die-offs, etc.), consult with your local emergency officials, your state emergency planning agency, or the state veterinarian, to determine approved methods of carcass disposal.

Applicable Agencies and Regulations for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Address: 2301 North Cameron St., Harrisburg, PA 17110

Contact Information:

Rules and Regulations: Title 3, Chapter 23, Subchapter E - Disposal of Dead Domestic Animals and Animal Waste. Section 2352 describes disposal of dead domestic animals. Disposal options addressed:

  • Rendering: Must be done according to procedures and product safety standards established by the department.

  • Burial: In accordance with regulations governing water quality.

  • Burning: In accordance with regulations governing air quality.

  • Composting: According to procedures and product safety standards established by the department.

  • Other Methods: Fermenting or other method according to procedures and product safety standards established by the department

More Information

Livestock and Poultry Mortality Disposal in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Washington County Conservation District, 2009). Brochure containing information on legal disposal methods and links to additional resources, as well as what to do in the event of catastrophic mortality. Disposal options addressed:

  • Rendering: Where available.

  • Burial: Allowed, but burial has the greatest number of environmental, public health and safety considerations.

  • Burning: Incineration requires a special unit specifically designed for that purpose, open burning is not legal.

  • Composting: Following good procedure

The Cornell Waste Management Institute (CWMI) maintains a database of carcass disposal state regulations promulgated by state environmental, agricultural and other agencies. There may be additional information on this site, not found on VetCA, that can be helpful to veterinarians, ranchers and farmers. Click here to access the CWMI information for Pennsylvania.

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