July 1, 2008

For Immediate Release                                                       
CAST Paper Evaluates Disposal of Swine Carcasses in Routine and Catastrophic Conditions
July 9, 2008…Indianapolis, Indiana. In swine production, as in other forms of animal agriculture, a certain number of animals will die on the farm before being marketed. These death losses, also referred to as mortalities, may be classified broadly as either routine or catastrophic and may impact swine producers, industry, state and federal health and environmental agencies, and the public. To address these possible implications, CAST has released a new Issue Paper, Swine Carcass Disposal Options for Routine and Catastrophic Mortality.
“Although routine swine mortalities represent a small proportion of overall herd size and occur throughout the normal course of production, the issue of routine mortality disposal has received increased public concern and greater regulatory scrutiny as individual swine farms have become increasingly more specialized and larger in size,” says Task Force Chair Allen Harper, Virginia Tech Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center.  “On the other hand, catastrophic swine mortalities involve greater death losses within a distinct period of time and result from a single event such as a barn fire, hurricane, or flood, or the introduction of an epidemic swine disease.”
          This latest CAST publication, part of a three-part review of swine, poultry, and cattle carcass disposal options, assesses potential strengths and limitations of existing procedures. Further research and development has the potential not only to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of methods currently in practice but also to make emerging technologies applicable on a wider scale.
           Specific topics addressed in the new CAST Issue Paper include

  • Introduction and Overview of Methods
  • Burial, Incineration, Rendering, and Composting
  • Alternative and Nontraditional Technologies
  • Biosecurity and Disease Control with Traditional Methods
  • Conclusions and Future Considerations

          “Safe, effective disposal of swine carcasses in both routine and catastrophic circumstances is essential for human and animal health, environmental protection, and aesthetics,” says CAST Executive Vice President John Bonner, “and CAST is pleased to provide this new publication to highlight key issues in the ongoing discussion.”
The full text of the paper Swine Carcass Disposal Options for Routine and Catastrophic Mortality (Issue Paper No. 39) is available without charge online ( and in hardcopy (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling), along with many of CAST’s other scientific publications. CAST is an international consortium of 37 scientific and professional societies. It assembles, interprets, and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.
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Dr. Allen F. Harper—Phone: 757-657-6450, ext. 410; E-mail:
Dr. John M. Bonner—Phone: 515-292-2125, ext. 25; E-mail: