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Spinoff/ Sick/Dead Horse Disposal Options

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  • Spinoff/ Sick/Dead Horse Disposal Options

    I am putting together some info ... can anyone think of other types of disposal, along with pros/cons, legality issues, other issues?
    I'm eventually going to have a "database", if you will, so feel free to add any comments so I can put them all together.


    Pros- Free. Sentimental "spot" on farm.
    Cons- need backhoe.
    Legalities- only legal in some areas.
    Issues -

    Pros- Quick disposal
    Cons- Expensive
    Legalities- not known
    Issues- may not have one in area

    etc etc
    Last edited by DiablosHalo; Mar. 13, 2009, 03:15 PM.

  • #2
    super cheap
    super easy
    very close and easy to access
    Can put horse down on trailer and easily transport

    if no trailer. have to pay someone to haul
    not open on weekends (but can hire someone to haul, and hold horse, for you on weekends)
    less dignified than I'd want for our horses


    • #3
      LOL Burial may indeed provide a "sedimental" spot, but it's the sentimental I think you were looking for. That gave me a good chuckle.

      Rendering isn't necessarily expensive. Cremation is far more expensive, but another alternative.
      If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
      ~ Maya Angelou


      • Original Poster

        LOL!!! Can you tell ... I am used to writing sediment all the time (working with drainage issues, etc)... AND it's Friday!!!! I'm surprised I can type at all! Thanks for the heads up- how embarassing!

        Originally posted by Tif_Ann View Post
        LOL Burial may indeed provide a "sedimental" spot, but it's the sentimental I think you were looking for. That gave me a good chuckle.

        Rendering isn't necessarily expensive. Cremation is far more expensive, but another alternative.


        • #5
          Feeding to hounds

          Provides sustenance to another animal

          Limited availability/seasonal
          Not appropriate for emergency euthanasia
          Owner emotions
          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
          -Rudyard Kipling


          • Original Poster

            JSwan- I wanted to ask more about that- feeding to the hounds.

            (excuse my ignorance)... why is it only seasonal? Do they not eat year round? (I know there is a good reason, but I don't know it!)

            Why not for emergency euthanasia? What is the limiting factor?

            How would I get a hold of the hunt secretary to see if I can put them on my "list"? I don't know all the hunts in this area.



            • #7
              You forgot a 'con' for landfill: getting a dead horse off a trailer is...well, let's just say it's a bit of a challenge, and it's not like landfills are going to have guys standing around just to help people unload dead horses. Also, many areas do not have landfills. Here, we have what they call a "transfer station", which means we dump our garbage in a big bin that they hoist on a truck and haul away. In cold weather, you might get away with dumping a dog or a cat if you wrapped it up good so nobody would know what it was, but probably nix on a horse.

              Dog Food: (most englishy horsey people in the east are going to think "foxhounds", but other possibles depending on region might be sled dogs, ranch herd dogs, even wolf research facilities)

              • You can make the kennel owner deal with killing the horse/removing the carcass.
              • Shouldn't cost you anything.
              • Some in the hunt world think the hounds eating the horse is somehow fitting and right, but personally I don't see the sentimental point. (I do understand the practical point, however; dogs have to eat and dead horses can't be left laying around.)

              • You have to have some kind of connection in advance. Calling dog people you don't know and saying, "Hey, ya want a dead horse to feed to your dogs?" is a little weird.
              • Kennel owner has to be free on fairly short notice to deal with your situation.
              • Can't be done if chemical euthanasia is used.
              • Not all areas have kennel-type dog situations within reasonable hauling distance.


              • #8
                1.) Burial. The best option if it's legal in your area and you have the equipment to do it. Renting equipment and hiring someone to operate it can run about $500.

                2.) Rendering. Pick-up costs vary but where I live, it's about $300. Resulting product used mostly as fertilizer.

                3.) Composting. Not widely available, but an option for some.

                4.) Cremation. Costly, but gives you something to bury if you can't legally bury the body. Runs about $1400 at Cornell, has to be planned well in advance as crematoriums aren't run daily. Add in cost of getting body to crematorium, or ship horse to site and euth there.

                5.) Vet school donation. Understanding that pre-mortem studies might be done, horse may suffer in the name of science before being euthed. I *THINK* you can specify that the horse be used for necropsy ONLY...I heard of someone doing this.

                6.) Zoo donation. Horse must be transported LIVE to the zoo, and euthed via bullet immediately prior to feeding to the big cats.

                7.) Hunt donation. As above, must ship to hunt alive, bullet euth, then fed to hounds.

                8.) Landfill? I *think* I remember reading that some landfills will take large animal carcasses...definitely call ahead...


                • #9
                  Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                  The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


                  • Original Poster

                    Does anyone have experience with zoos? We have a few in the area and that might be an avenue for me to explore.


                    • #11

                      You asked several questions about hunts.

                      It depends on the kennel and its location and the hunts preferences. But they don't like to feed flesh in warmer months because of flies and smell. Sometimes they'll feed something small like a stillborn calf that can be eaten quickly. But not large animals.

                      It's not appropriate for emergency euthanasia because it is something that is scheduled in advance and the horse cannot have any drugs like banamine or sedatives, nor can it have euthanasia chemicals in its system. Usually what people do is take their old or lame horse to the kennel before the animal is really bad off.

                      It's also not something usually available to the general public and would not make a dent in the population of horses going to slaughter. There aren't that many hunt clubs and they don't keep very large packs like they used to. But it's something you can explore if you get to know the hunt - they may place you on a list.

                      SGray mentioned composting. This is also an excellent method. I'm composting a goat and pretty much all that is left is his skull and horns.
                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                      -Rudyard Kipling


                      • #12
                        There was a thread on that a while back. I'll see if I can do a search for it.

                        My mom had a horse that went to the hounds. He had to be put down in the winter so burial wasn't an option. It was either Pickering or Radnor that came for him, I don't remember which.

                        ETA: Found the thread about donating to a wild cat park:



                        • #13
                          Also, there is a wolf sanctuary down south that has a trainer shooter and will transport the carcass. So the euth. can be done at home.

                          I watched the videos of horses being shot in England for slaughter. The horses were much calmer and passed much quicker than with a captive bolt. However,the horses were kept outside in pens with feed, and someone experienced was holding the horse, which was walked away and inside a room for the end. It wasn't like the other plants, where all the horses are shuffled off the trailer and filed like cattle, watching and hearing everything going on before them, and throwing their heads.


                          • #14
                            In places where the ground freezes, burial isn't an option in the winter. Luckily we do have a small business that will come pick up a horse carcass for a few hundred dollars. I don't know what they do with the carcasses once they have them.
                            You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                            1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                            • #15
                              I guess it would depend on why the horse has to be euthanized... I don't see how a cancer ridden horse could be used for zoo, hounds or any other animal.

                              Because of the elimination of the government subsidy for pick up services, rendering has now doubled in price in my area... still reasonable compared to other areas - went from $75 in Dec. to $150 in January.

                              Dumping at a landfill is not legal here. Burying is not in most places and not everyone has a farm.

                              My BO has been composting her deceased horses (and dogs). Never knew this was taking place.. no smell, nothing left after a few months.


                              • #16
                                Ok...this may be a gross option but I know it is done in the West where there is a lot of open land. The carcass is left for scavengers who will clean it up in days. Here in VA, we have many many buzzards who can pick a carcass clean unbelievably fast also. The local clean up crew of buzzards is amazing.

                                Upsides: cheap.

                                Downsides: Cannot use chemical euthanasia, can be offensive and smelly for a while, may not be legal in some areas and could attract unwanted wild animals and dogs.

                                Around here burial costs about $150 and euthanasia about $150. There is a renderer also that will come but I don't know those costs.


                                • #17
                                  Disposing in the open may cause other problems. In India, there was a dramatic crash in the vulture population. It was found that it was due to a vet drug. The vultures fed on dead livestock and after ingesting enough, they died. It caused a dramatic crash in their population.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by tkhawk View Post
                                    Disposing in the open may cause other problems. In India, there was a dramatic crash in the vulture population. It was found that it was due to a vet drug. The vultures fed on dead livestock and after ingesting enough, they died. It caused a dramatic crash in their population.
                                    I think I covered that...you cannot chemically euthanize an animal that will be left for scavengers for that very reason. Any animal that eats that dead one, will sicken or die. A horse must die of natural causes or be shot if it is going to left out.


                                    • #19
                                      On the cremation option...you know it's traditionally head, heart and hooves, don't you? Not the whole body. That would be one big oven, talk about Hell's Kitchen.

                                      Not pleasant to think about it but you need to see what you want to do if/when it happens.

                                      Myself, I don't think it matters to them, just us. I vote for a quiet end at home via a needle and then the renderer. Sort of recycle them.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                      • #20
                                        Euthed the old boy last month, and found out only afterwards that because of the drugs, only disposal options were deep burial (Wisconsin in winter, NOT happening!) or incineration.
                                        Would 've been good to know that ahead of time...might 've gone with gun shot.

                                        Or, given his beautiful starred face, maybe not.
                                        Still, after all the reading about compost etc, it was a bit of a shock to find there weren't any other options.

                                        Good on ya for learning *all* choices first!