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More Ways To Handle Disposal Of Dead Horses

By Jeffrey Rolo

In the first part of this series, we learned various methods we can consider when disposing of a dead horse. This continuation will explore the other options at your disposal, including one that I believe is ideal should the option be available in your area.

University Research

If you're not too squeamish about such matters, you could consider offering your horse carcass to a local veterinarian school for research purposes. Not all schools may need or accept horses at any given time, but if a school near you could benefit from your horse's corpse, it would certainly go to a good cause.

Horse Composting

Composting a horse carcass is an increasingly popular form of horse disposal, but like burial, it's a subject that requires a lot of forethought and careful attention. As such, check out Should I Compost A Dead Horse if you're interested in attempting to compost your dead horse on your property.


This is a very good option for horse owners that cannot bury a horse on their own property due to size or legal considerations. There's just one problem: many landfills will not accept animal carcasses due to preference, county law or state law, so don't make the mistake of thinking you can just transport your dead horse to the nearest dump.

To give you an idea of how challenging it can be to locate a landfill willing to accept a horse carcass, my region has about eight nearby landfills. Only one of those landfills accepts dead horses. So don't wait until the last minute call local landfills and see which of them may be willing to dispose of horse carcasses. Even landfills that are willing to accept a horse carcass may have special rules, such as the length of time a body has been dead, or making it mandatory that the carcass be covered with a tarp upon delivery.

Landfill fees will vary. Generally they are around $150.00 - $200.00, but the aforementioned one near me that accepts horses charges only $75.00. That said, landfills will not transport your horses for you, so expect to tack on a couple hundred dollars more if you're unable to transport your own horse.

The landfill option isn't as recyclable or ideal as rendering or donating a carcass to a zoo for meat, but it's also less traumatic to the psyche if you're sensitive about what happens to the body. If the option is available to you, I think it's a very good idea, because although horse burial is the preferred option for some, there's a lot to be said not to have to worry about vermin, legal issues or environmental considerations. And if you can locate someone to transport the carcass (or have the means to do so yourself), it's also a very convenient option.

Transporting A Dead Horse

Many horse rendering plants are willing to pick up your horse carcass for you, but if such an option isn't available to you and disposal on your own personal property isn't a good possibility, chances are you'll incur an additional transportation fee to bring the carcass to its final destination, where ever that destination may be. Many of us own a standard horse trailer, but not many of us have a flatbed trailer sitting around in the backyard.

Transportation costs will vary depending on the transporter as well as the distance to the destination, but you're probably looking at about $100.00 - $200.00 for transportation costs, give or take.

You don't need to locate a transporter that specializes in horse carcass transportation, and in fact such a specialist probably doesn't even exist around you. Anyone is capable of transporting a carcass if they have the equipment, so pick up your phone book and call around. General handymen, heavy equipment transporters, lawn care professionals (most have flatbeds to transport their mowers)... you name it. For me, I've got a local guy that works for the town transporting wood who is always willing to pick up extra work in his spare time.

Once you've determined how to dispose of a dead horse, the transportation part is generally fairly easy to arrange.

Regardless of which method of dead horse disposal you decide upon, make sure you are prepared for the unexpected so that if a rude surprise strikes, you can take quick action. Trust me... the worst time to call local landfills, county officials, etc. is when you're emotionally distraught over the recent loss of a cherished pet. Plan your options ahead of time, store away some extra money as a rainy day fund to help cover transportation or processing costs, then put the whole subject out of your mind and enjoy your happy years with your horse.

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