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Spin Off! What do to after euthanasia?!

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  • Spin Off! What do to after euthanasia?!

    What are viable options for disposal of a horse carcass after euthanasia chemical and direct means?

    Is there an environmentally sound and responsible solution to this question that is easily affordable and available to all horse owners?




    Bone yard?

    Are there any other ideas?
    Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

    Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!

  • #2
    What are direct means? Rendering is really the best way to dispose of them if they were chemically euthanized. Burying would be ok too if you have the ability and can legally do so. I have never tried composting but I like the idea.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      I've heard composting is a fairly pleasant option (if you have a large manure or compost pile) and doesn't take as long as one would think. Maybe someone knows the details?
      "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen


      • #4
        I have 2 horses, one dog and one coyote composting in my back pasture. You do need lots of manure. I like to have at least 4-6 feet of manure surrounding the body.


        • Original Poster

          Does composting work if chemical euthanasia was imployed?
          Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

          Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!


          • #6
            We have only had to have one euthed so far thank goodness, but we chose to cremate.


            • #7
              Unless you've embalmed the critter, chemical euthanasia won't prevent composting.

              Another option is to donate the body to a zoo or hunt, if you have such a thing nearby. Not for the faint of heart, possibly, but if you want to go with the whole "circle of life" thing, it's a viable option.
              Click here before you buy.


              • Original Poster

                Will composting render the chemicals used in euthanasia harmless?
                Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

                Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!


                • #9
                  They are harmless, unless you plan on eating the freshly euthanized animal. The drugs will break down along with everything else, and pose no more risk to the environment than penicllin or aspirin or any other pharmaceutical.
                  Click here before you buy.


                  • #10
                    My vet clinic composts and then buries horses that have died at the clinic. From what I understand it's more environmentally sound to compost for a year and then bury. I do believe they use a trench and compost with manure; then they bury the remains a year later. By then I think they are mainly just bones.

                    I am not sure it's quite as easy to compost at home unless you have a large quantity of manure but certainly it seems possible. We have buried horses on our farm, but I certainly wouldn't want to do it regularly.


                    • #11
                      It takes way less than a year for a body to decompose. My BO has done it several times and it is surprising how quickly everything but maybe the largest bone disappear. There is no odour either, even in the summer. I know one horse died in Jan. and by the end of the summer, when the manure pile was removed/spread out, there were only a few bones left.


                      • #12
                        The county picks up for free here (Madison). Surrounding counties do also. There's also a service that will pick up 7 days a week and even remove from a stall for $100 plus $2.00 per mile (might be more for stall removal) outside of Fayette county. They also cremate for $1200 and return the remains in a nice wooden box.

                        For my favorite horse, I'm planning on farm burial.


                        • #13
                          LauraKY - I'm glad to know my county isn't the only still offering this type of service for free. My county will come out and actually bury a horse for free on your property if you own a farm. We have a horse cemetery on our farm.

                          We also have rendering available to us but I've never chosen that option.
                          Susan N.

                          Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


                          • #14
                            Sometimes you can take them to the landfill. I know it doesn't sound like a pleasant option to a lot of people, but....

                            When I boarded, we had no place to bury horses. And I had two rescue horses who had to be euthanized. The vet arranged for someone to haul them to the landfill, and they were buried there. I don't remember the cost - a couple hundred per horse.
                            Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                            Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


                            • #15
                              We bury ours here on the farm. In NYS you only have to bury 4 feet deep, no mention of how close to water supply. We don't bury near a water supply. Currently we have 5 horses(one our 18.3h clydesdale), 5 dogs and I forget how many cats we buried here.

                              We still have room for me. One of our boarders did use the rendering company which was I think a few hundred dollars. The landfill will NOT take large animals carcasses.

                              If you search Cornell University's website on Composting carcasses I believe there is more extensive information on how to do it.

                              Some places around the country have very strict rules as to the disposal of any animals remains. At least around here no zoo, and there are a few will take the carcasses and I don't think Cornell will either, unless one pays for a necropsy or cremation.


                              • #16
                                I know that in MD the University of Maryland will cremate a horse for less than a service would charge, but you have to haul, and give them a little notice (not sure how much) so they can have the incinerator empty.
                                Other Uni's with ag programs, or medical/vet programs may have the same service.

                                The only thing I know about composting flesh, is that the pile needs to be hot and active, and it would be much quicker than you suspect.

                                You could have him taxidermied like Trigger!!

                                Is this an idea you need now? Or just idle curiosity?
                                I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

                                R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed


                                • Original Poster

                                  It is more in solving the overall problem of what to do after the fact!

                                  I know what my options are. It is, I fear, going to be a huge problem in the future. Perhaps, no more of a problem than it is now or has been.

                                  I just see everyone saying euthanize all of the "unwanted" horses without talk of what to do with the remains! I think a plan needs to be in place, broad spectrum, to deal with this if it arises.

                                  I see many sides of many issues. It is not black and white with me on many things. I am fairly flexible. Many shades of grey.

                                  On one side, I hate to see all of that meat go to waste when there can be a use for it.

                                  Enough of this I guess.....I am not trying to start an argument. I just hope there can be reasonable safe alternatives when the time comes for solving the unwanted horse problem.
                                  Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

                                  Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!


                                  • #18
                                    I buried my first two horses and the third had to be taken to a landfill...cremation was $1 per pound - or $1200, which was out of the question at the time...barn owner said only "special" horses could be buried on his land (which was land-trusted to be a farm forever and was about 100 acres). My vet hooked me up with a man who drove a flatbed trailer and would take my horse to the landfill. The man and his wife showed up, immaculately dressed, I may add...quite respectful...and assured me that my horse would be "buried" in the landfill - not merely "dumped".
                                    I am glad we have the choice of euth for our heese when needed...only wish we had it for peeps, too.
                                    Taxidermy? Yeah - I'd do it if it didn't cost a fortune! And I had room for multiple heese in the house!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by mustangtrailrider View Post
                                      Will composting render the chemicals used in euthanasia harmless?
                                      No you have to be extremely careful. Any animals that can and will dig up the remains can be killed via the euthansia solution used on the horse. Studies have shown it is still viable even after 2 plus years.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        That to me is the crux of the whole humane chemical euthanasia idea. Poisoning a carcass and the land around it for an indefinite period of time.

                                        That is why I asked:

                                        What to do after euthanasia?

                                        It seems that there would be a more environmentally sound plan established. Just burying the remains either in the landfill or your backyard sounds like the next EPA nightmare!

                                        A mechanical euthanasia doesn't have the same ramifications, but most people can't stomach the idea....I am not a huge fan of the thought either, but now that I am more aware, I suspect that the rest of ours will be done with a bullet instead!
                                        Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

                                        Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!