Fallen livestock can no longer be buried or burnt in the open because of the risk of disease spread through groundwater or air pollution. The Animal By-products Regulations control how carcases are disposed of.
Pigs that have died or been dispatched on a farm can be incinerated subject to certain criteria being met, or be taken to/collected by an approved knacker, hunt kennel, incinerator or renderer, either by private arrangement or under the National Fallen Stock Scheme.
These methods of disposal are costly to producers and consume energy, collection can also involve long distance transport and there is an associated risk of disease transmission.
In non-EU countries composting of carcases provides a lower cost disposal option. BPEX is participating in research projects exploring bio-reduction of fallen pigs and associated disease risks to provide a scientific base for any possible regulatory review.
More information visit the Defra website
BPEX has several research projects looking at novel techniques of dealing with fallen livestock. These include:
Anaerobic bioreduction (Harper Adams University College)
Aerobic bioreduction (Bangor University)
A recent paper has been published by the Royal Agricultural College
100 Club by Stuart Houston entitled 'A Creative Study Into the Scope for Increasing Value from Fallen Livestock and Animal By-products' in June 2012