Emergency Animal Mortality Disposal – N.C. Requirements

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As Hurricane Dorian approaches the coast of North Carolina, we want to revisit existing guidance/requirements related to animal mortality. Our primary focus for mortality management continues to be composting, and we approach carcass disposal with one goal: addressing catastrophic animal mortality in a manner that will not result in negative environmental impact.

During planning for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in 2015 and 2016, burial remained a tool for management of mortality, although one of the least desirable options. During Hurricane Matthew, most poultry carcass disposal was managed by composting, some were transported to landfills, and a very small number were buried only if the farm had a pre-approved burial site. No burial of mass mortality took place during Hurricane Florence as none of the affected farms had pre-approved burial sites. For all future federal disasters affecting North Carolina, burial will not be permissible unless there is a pre-approved burial site that follows all existing regulations and N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services policy guidelines.

See below for regulatory and NCDA&CS policy documents. Also, the Department’s Emergency Operations Center has generated a list of landfills across the state that will potentially accept carcasses – find more resources on managing animal mortalities.


  1. N.C. General Statue 106-403. Disposition of dead domesticated animals
  2. N.C. Guidance for Composting of Mass Animal Mortality
  3. NCDA&CS Mass Animal Mortality Management Plan for Catastrophic Natural Disasters
  4. Hurricane Dorian – N.C. Landfill Options (Excel)

Dr. Doug Meckes
State Veterinarian
N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Dr. Michael Martin
Director of Poultry Programs
N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services