Emergency and Routine Mortality Management - final report

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SUMMARY: Following unexpected animal losses, producers need to consider all available management options, associated costs and environmental effects of mortality disposal. This calls for planning, coordination, networking, development of educational tools and establishing relationships with those who need help and those who are there to assist. Access to current information on disposal options, associated regulations, and available capacity of local service providers are important for proper disposal and disease control. NYS farmers faced over 10 disasters through fires, roof collapse, etc. this past year. In addition to animal losses, there is increased demand for disposal of recalled meat, fishery waste and liquid waste. Disposal methods need to protect ground and surface water. Passively aerated static windrow composting with strategic turning is a good method to manage these wastes and enhances biosecurity. It is simple, employs equipment used in daily operations on farms and is cost effective. This disposal method has been implemented in many places and many technical questions have been answered but there are still a few unknowns for which veterinarians, agriculture service providers and regulators want assurance. The current question is, "Are pharmaceuticals that are used to treat and euthanize livestock a risk to biosecurity and the environment" Trials are in progress to answer some of the questions, however when one is answered others surface. More investigation is needed to follow the fate of these drugs; a portion degrades and a portion may stay in the pile or leach out into soil or water. Additional mortality piles will be built with samples taken and analyses completed to determine the fate of several commonly used pharmaceuticals. Based on results from basic, applied and social science aspects of this project, guidelines for pile construction and management will be developed and incorporated into bulletins made available online through eXtension and in trainings for agency staff and industry stakeholders. To further the knowledge base and identify additional challenges in safe, economical mortality disposal practices, CWMI, APHIS and the Department of Homeland Security, along with other research institutions, will plan and coordinate a 4th international symposium. The symposium will highlight research and practice in the disposal field, facilitating discussion and planning for mortality disposal that adheres to best management practices. Extension's working relationships with agriculture, businesses, and government position is to provide information and education as well as implement solutions. Educational programs for producers and service providers, combined with web-based surveys of service providers, make it feasible to establish and update databases. Rapid access to this information needs to be available via web, email, and other methods.
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NIFA; Hatch
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Cornell Waste Management Institute
mortality management; mortality composting; animal health pharmaceuticals
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