Emergency Animal Mortality Disposal – N.C. Requirements

— Written By

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

Written By

Justin Moore, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionJustin MooreDirector of Marketing and Communications, NC State Extension Call Justin Email Justin Extension Administration
NC State Extension, NC State University
Posted on Sep 5, 2019
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