Fact Sheet: Body Disposition

Several options exist for horse owners to consider when arranging for body disposition, including on-site burial, composting, rendering, incineration and landfill disposal.  In addition, many Veterinary Colleges and Schools will euthanize and dispose of your horse for a nominal fee.


Careful consideration must be made when disposing of animal remains. Most states require that livestock carcasses be properly disposed of within 24 hours. Carcasses of chemically euthanized animals pose additional risks to pets and wildlife. Precautions should be undertaken to prevent scavenging.

Regulations for burial vary at both state and local levels. Horse owners are advised to contact their state Department of Agriculture for assistance with burial requirements within their state. It is further advised that county and township authorities also be contacted for information regarding any local regulations or restrictions that may be in addition to state requirements.


Composting is a legal, acceptable and biosecure method of carcass disposal. Horse owners are advised to contact their state Department of Agriculture for assistance with composting requirements within their state.

For details on safe and effective composting please contact:
Disposition of carcasses not chemically euthanized:

Sometimes, carcasses of non-chemically euthanized animals can be donated for use at zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. For a list of zoos and wildlife sanctuaries in your area, please contact your state Department of Agriculture.


Many private crematories and
Veterinary Colleges and Schools offer large animal incineration.

For a list of private crematories on the web, please visit

Landfill Disposal

Landfill disposal is an option in some areas. Contact local landfills for availability and disposal requirements.


Rendering is a process by whereby the carcass is cooked to destroy pathogens and yield useable end products such as meat, feather, bone and blood meal.

Rendering plants are widely available throughout the nation. Arrangements with rendering agents should be made in advance, whenever possible, to facilitate carcass removal within state required regulations.

To find a rendering agent in your area, please contact the National Renderers Association, Inc. or your state Department of Agriculture. 
National Renderers Association, Inc.
801 North Fairfax Street, Suite 205
Alexandria VA 22314
Phone: (703) 683-0155
Fax: (703) 683-2626


(updated February 2007)