Deer carcase and offal disposal
22 July 2022
In order to reduce the risk of disease-spread there are strict requirements when disposing of deer carcases (both farmed and wild)
Note: although the United Kingdom has left the European Union (EU), certain pieces of legislation (formally known as 'retained EU law') will still apply until such time as they are replaced by new UK legislation; this means that you will still see references to EU regulations in our guidance.
This guidance is for England
The Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013 cover the disposal of deer carcases, parts of deer and products of deer origin not intended for human consumption. The Regulations apply to both farmed and wild deer (subject to specific criteria).
Strict controls are in place to ensure animal by-products are disposed of safely to reduce the risk of the spread of disease.
If you think that a notifiable disease, in particular TB, has caused ill health or death, you must report it to your animal health team (trading standards or environmental health service) or the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA, on 03000 200301). Carcases should be available to be examined by post-mortem in these cases. Always consider the possibility of anthrax if death is sudden and unexplained. Do not dispose of the animal until directed to do so by either an APHA official or an animal health inspector.
Disposal of deer carcases and offal
FARMED DEER (KEPT WITHIN A RING FENCE)
The disposal of deer carcases, parts of deer carcases and products of deer origin are controlled by the Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013 as category 2 material (unless diseased, in which case they become category 1).
The Regulations require that this material is collected and transported without undue delay to one of the following:
- knacker's yard
- hunt kennel
- maggot farm
More information on fallen stock and safe disposal of dead animals can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Burial or burning is generally banned and is only permitted in England in specific remote areas, namely the Isles of Scilly and Lundy Island. Disposal in this way is subject to strict rules and record keeping.
The Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013 only apply to wild deer in certain circumstances, namely if the deer is suspected of being infected with a disease communicable to animals or humans. In this case the carcase must be treated as high risk (category 1 animal by-product) and disposed of accordingly.
In all other cases concerning wild deer hunted in their natural habitat, if good hunting practices are observed the Regulations do not apply and gralloch (entrails) and other body parts may be disposed of safely on-site. However, 'approved game-handling establishments' (AGHEs) must dispose of animal by-products generated on their premises in line with the Regulations.
Gralloch from any deer suspected of having a notifiable disease, in particular TB, cannot be buried. This material will have to be collected in a sealable container and carried back to the premises - for example, the larder - for inspection and disposal. If carcases are taken to a larder additional controls may apply, depending on the amount of further dressing that takes place.
Wild deer that are suspected of being infected with a disease communicable to humans or animals must be disposed of as an animal by-product by either:
- rendering in an approved premises
- complete incineration in an approved incinerator
Transportation of deer carcases and/or parts
Animal by-products must be collected, identified and disposed of without undue delay in order to prevent risks arising to public and animal health.
Animal by-products must be transported in sealed new packaging, or covered leakproof containers or vehicles.
Containers should be dedicated to the use of specific categories of animal by-products. If not they must be cleaned and disinfected after each use in order to prevent cross-contamination.
Animal by-products must be identified in accordance with the Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013:
- category 1 material must be labelled as 'For disposal only'
- category 2 material must be labelled 'Not for animal consumption' (with limited exceptions)
You must ensure all animal by-products are covered or contained whilst awaiting collection / disposal to prevent animals and birds gaining access.
The person consigning the animal by-product must keep a record of each consignment and ensure that identifying documentation (a commercial document) accompanies the by-product during its transport. Such records must show as a minimum:
- date of transport*
- quantity and description of material*
- category description of the material*
- name and address of origin of material
- name and address of transporter*
- name and address of destination and approval / registration number (if applicable)*
- signature of responsible person (generally the person producing the document)
As a consignor of animal by-product waste you must keep a record showing the bullet points asterisked above. In most cases, the copy of the commercial document can serve as your record. However, it is advisable to have additional records in book form or electronically, as appropriate.
A commercial document template is attached for your use.
If the document is produced by the consignor, it should be signed by the consignor. If the document is produced by the transporter, it should be signed by the transporter. Each movement of animal by-products and derived products must be accompanied by the top copy of the commercial document, which has to be left at the destination premises. The premises of origin and the transporter each retain a copy.
Commercial documents and all records relating to animal by-products must be retained for at least two years and produced on demand to an inspector.
For additional information see the Food Standards Agency publication The Wild Game Guide, which is a guide to the hygiene regulations for people who shoot wild game and supply in-fur or in-feather, or as small quantities of wild game meat.
For more information on the work of trading standards services - and the possible consequences of not abiding by the law - please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement and penalties'.
In this update
No major changes.
Last reviewed / updated: October 2021
- Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption (Animal by-products Regulation)
- Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.
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