Animal by-products: disposal guidance

Strict regulations designed to prevent harm to people, animals and the environment.

Fallen stock

Fallen stock is any animal that has died of natural causes or disease on a farm or that has been killed on a farm for reasons other than human consumption.

It is illegal to bury fallen stock on farm. This is due to the risk of spreading disease through residues in the soil, groundwater or air pollution. This ban also covers animal by-products, including afterbirth and stillborn animals.

Remote area derogation for on farm burial

There is a derogation from the ban on burial in some parts of Scotland classed as "remote areas". This does not mean burial should be regarded as the first option in remote areas, rather it should be the very last option considered for disposal purposes. A map has been prepared highlighting the areas in Scotland classed as "remote areas".

BSE testing of fallen cattle

Fallen stock must be tested for BSE if they are:

  • 48 months or over if born in the UK or a EU Member State (excluding Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia)
  • 24 months or over if born in all third countries and Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia.

Most cattle keepers in the remote area are still required to submit adult fallen cattle to a sample site for BSE testing. 

If carcases are unrecoverable, this must be reported to your local APHA office immediately.

Owners in the UK must contact a collector within 24 hours of their animal's death, to arrange delivery to an approved sampling site within 72 hours of the animal's death. If you are delivering the carcass yourself, you must contact an approved sampling site to agree this within 24 hours and you must deliver the carcass within 72 hours of the animal's death. You must also contact your local APHA office immediately if you think an animal has died of a notifiable disease.

How you can comply

Fallen stock must be collected, identified and transported without 'undue delay'. This means as soon as reasonably practical under the circumstances (usually within 48 hours of death).

Various disposal options are available to livestock keepers:

  • make your own arrangements - producers are at liberty to make their own commercial arrangements with an approved disposal operator (such as the local knackery or hunt kennel)
  • approved incineration - producers can install their own approved incineration unit on farm (contact APHA for details)
  • join the NFSCo - producers can join the National Fallen Stock Scheme which provides a bio secure, uniform collection and disposal service throughout most parts of the UK including the "remote areas" on the Scottish mainland
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