Animal Disposal Following an Emergency

Most states have their own guidelines on disposal of dead animals, so people with questions regarding the specific situation in their state are highly encouraged to contact local or state health and agricultural officials for clarification.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any special health risks I need to be aware of when disposing of dead animals?

The risk to humans from animal carcasses is low if proper precautions are taken.

  • Practice proper hand washing to prevent infection with certain pathogens that may be transmitted from farm animals, including Salmonella and E. coli.
  • Secure all food sources and remove any animal carcasses to avoid attracting rats.
  • Wear insect repellant when outdoors. Emergencies such as natural disasters may lead to more mosquitoes, which can carry disease.

People working to clean up areas containing swine or poultry carcasses should take the following precautions:

  • Wear protective clothing, including waterproof gloves, waterproof boots, and protective eyewear (cover any open wounds).
  • Use duct tape to seal tops of gloves and boots to prevent water seepage.
  • Wear respiratory protection-an N-95 respirator or better.
  • If you smell hydrogen sulfide (a rotten egg smell), get out of the building and call your county extension office.
  • Clean and disinfect all clothing and boots after handling carcass-contaminated materials.
  • Wash work clothes separately from street clothes.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before placing fingers in mouth (nail biting, etc.).
  • Shower and wash hair thoroughly after handling carcass-contaminated materials.