How to Dispose of Horse Remains

One of the unfortunate things you have to learn when you own horses, is what to do when your horse dies. You can’t just bury a dead horse anywhere because of the risk to groundwater and other animals. Most states have laws that govern the disposal of dead livestock. In Oklahoma, Statute 35, § 17-3-17 provides guidelines for the legal disposal of livestock remains.

Oklahoma 35, § 17-3-17 Carcass Disposal

(a) Dead animals shall be disposed of in accordance with a carcass disposal plan developed by the owner and approved by the Department which shall decrease the possibility of the spread of disease, reduce odors, and preclude contamination of ground and surface waters of the state. Dead animals shall be disposed of properly and in an environmentally safe manner in accordance with Federal, State and local requirements. At all times the facility shall comply with the provisions of Section 1223 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes, in addition to compliance with the carcass disposal plan.

(b) The plan shall include provisions for the disposal of carcasses associated with normal mortality and shall include provisions for emergency disposal when a major disease outbreak or other emergency results in deaths significantly higher than normal mortality rates.

Accepted methods of carcass disposal include the following:

  1. Rendering
    1. The owner shall obtain a contract with a rendering service that insures disposal of all carcasses within a reasonable period of time. The name, address, and telephone number of the rendering service shall be provided. In addition, the frequency and schedule of carcass pickup shall be included.
    2. Storage facilities shall be sealed or have lids and maintained so as to prevent pests and odors in accordance with a Department approved OAP and PMP.
    3. Sealed storage facilities shall not be required for animals weighing 300 pounds or more, but the prevention of pests and odors shall be addressed by a Department approved OAP and PMP.
  2. Burial
    1. Burial shall only be allowed as a method of carcass disposal if no reasonable alternative exists and the disposal plan contains specific measures and practices which are utilized to protect the ground and surface waters of the state.
    2. In no event shall burial be used by an LMFO unless the burial area meets the requirements of an Animal Waste Management System, including but not limited to the use of liners.
    3. Prior approval by the Department is required of any carcass disposal plan listing burial as the method of disposal.
  3. Composting
    1. Prior approval by the Department is required of any carcass disposal plan listing composting as the method of disposal.
    2. The Department may require another method of carcass disposal other than composting if the Department determines that a more feasible and effective method of carcass disposal exists.
  4. Incineration shall only be used as method of carcass disposal if the animal feeding operation has a valid air quality permit from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division

Equine Euthanasia Programs:

Oklahoma State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
Center for Veterinary Health Services
Stillwater, OK 74078

Equine Crematory Services:

Ashes to Ashes Pet Cremation (serves the Continental U.S.)
22331 590th Street
Pomeroy, IA 50575

Memorial Pet Care (serves the Continental U.S.)
654 E. King Street
Meridian, ID 83642

Precious Pets Cemetery and Crematory
5520 North Spencer Road
Spencer, OK 73084

Rendering/Carcass Disposal:

Darling International, Inc.
915 N. 5th Street
P. O. Box 86
Collinsville, OK 74021

Valley Proteins
1208 S. Calumet Road
Calumet, OK 73014

Landfills that Accept Equine Carcasses:

* Waste Management® accepts equine carcasses at some, but not all locations. To find out if your local Waste Management location will take horse carcasses, please contact them: 800-963-4776