Legal options for horse carcass disposal in Minnesota include burial, composting, cremation, rendering, fur farm use and pet food. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Pollution Control Agency (PCA), and Board of Animal Health (BAH) regulate carcass disposal. Burial can be the most cost effective way of disposing of a carcass (if you own equipment to prepare the site), but may not be an available option in all areas of the state. The BAH states that the carcass must be five feet above the high water level, covered with three feet of soil, and not in soils that are within 10 feet of bedrock. If your burial site meets these requirements, then burial of a chemically euthanized horse is a legal option. These regulations are in place to prevent contamination of groundwater and to prevent exposure of the carcass to burrowing, digging, or scavenging animals, especially birds like bald eagles.
In some areas of the state (because of high water tables and the abundance of bedrock) it is not possible to meet the BAH criteria listed above. Therefore, in these areas of the state, burial of any equine carcass is not a legal option.
By: Krishona Martinson, PhD, Univ. of Minn.