Disposal of fallen stock

The term “fallen stock” is used to describe livestock that dies of natural causes or disease, or is killed on a farm for purposes other than human consumption.

There are strict rules relating to the disposal of fallen stock. Subject to certain exceptions, the burial or burning of fallen stock in the open is prohibited. This prohibition applies also to afterbirth and stillborn animals.

The disposal of fallen stock is governed by the following pieces of legislation:

  • The Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2011;
  • Regulation (EC) No. 1069/2009 laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and repealing Regulation (EC) No. 1664/200 (Animal by-products Regulation);
  • Regulation (EC) 142/2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No. 1069/2009 laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and implementing Directive 97/78/EC as regards certain samples and items exempt from veterinary checks at the border.

How can fallen stock be disposed of?

Fallen stock can be disposed of by incinerating the carcass on the farm where it died or by arranging for it to be disposed of at an approved site.

On-farm incinerators must be of a type which has been approved and cannot be used to incinerate other animal by-products. The ash from an incinerator must generally be disposed of at a permitted landfill site. There is an exception to this where an exemption has been given by the Environment Agency in relation to the ashes of pigs and poultry. In certain circumstances the use of mobile incinerators is permitted as is the sharing of incinerators.

The Animal Health Office has a list of approved sites which includes:

  • knackers;
  • hunt kennels;
  • maggot farms;
  • incinerators;
  • renderers.

Arrangements for disposal of fallen stock at an approved site can be made privately or through the National Fallen Stock Scheme, which is run by the National Fallen Stock Company.

Notifiable diseases

Certain diseases are known as “notifiable diseases” and “specified diseases”. If an animal is suspected of having died of such a disease it is a legal requirement that this be reported “with all practicable speed” to a police constable based in the police area in which the animal in question is situated. Such diseases should also be reported to the local Animal Health office.

Additional requirements relating to fallen cattle over the age of 48 months

Cattle over the age of 48 months, which have died or been killed on farm other than for human consumption, must be tested for BSE at an approved sampling site before they are disposed of.

Exceptions to the ban on the burial or burning of fallen stock in the open

The exceptions to the ban on the burial or burning of fallen stock in the open are as follows:

  • in the Scilly Isles and Lundy Island;
  • in areas where access is difficult, for example if an animal cannot be reached. In such circumstances it is advisable to contact the Local Authority;
  • during outbreaks of notifiable disease.