Deadstock Regulations

Table of Contents

  1. Background
  2. Introduction
  3. The Regulatory Framework
  4. Response to Inquiries and Complaints


When the Dead Animal Disposal Act (DADA) was enacted in 1968, the deadstock disposal industry was dependent on the salvage and rendering of deadstock into secondary materials. Deadstock and meat plant materials were transformed at rendering plants into fats and protein, both of which were traditionally used in animal feeds and other industrial by-products. Deadstock collectors and renderers marketed these materials in Canada and abroad. The discovery of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow Disease) has had a drastic impact on cattle farmers, deadstock collectors and renderers as the traditional markets for cattle by-products were lost. Meat and bone meal becamea waste management issue for the industry, leading to additional costs of doing business in the livestock sector. Also, the nature and scale of livestock management in Ontario had changed, and additional environmental standards for on-farm management of deadstock were required.


In 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) replaced the DADA with a new regulatory framework.

The new framework focusses on minimizing risks to food safety, animal health, environmental impacts and disease threats. The regulation under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (NMA) addresses on-farm disposal. The regulation under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 (FSQA) addresses disposal when the animal dies at places other than the farm. Both regulations provide greater flexibility for industry in the disposal of deadstock. Regulation 347 under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) was also amended to clarify the definition of agricultural waste, and to clarify which activities managed under the new NMA and FSQA regulations are exempt from waste disposal requirements under Part V of the Act and Regulation 347. The new amendments include an update to existing terminology associated with the definitions of "agricultural waste" and "farm operation" and exemptions from Part V of the Act and this Regulation.

The Regulatory Framework

1. Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (NMA)

The regulation under the NMA sets out requirements for the disposal of dead farm animals on the farm. This regulation applies to all farm operations, regardless of the requirement to have a nutrient management strategy or plan under O. Regulation 267/03. The purpose of introducing standards for on-farm disposal of deadstock is to protect the environment and provide some separation between deadstock and live animals.

This regulation sets out requirements for the disposal of all on-farm livestock including cattle, goats, sheep, horses and swine, deer, elk, alpacas, llamas, bison, yaks, donkeys, ponies, rabbits, poultry and fowl, ratites, and fur bearing animals.

The operator of the farm is responsible for disposing of the animal within 48 hours of its death. The two exceptions to this rule are:

  • If a delay occurs in order to perform a post mortem activity on the animal, or
  • If the animal is put into temporary cold or frozen storage conditions (as specified in the regulation).

Additional disposal options for greater flexibility to manage deadstock include:

  • Burial
  • Incineration
  • Composting
  • Disposal vessels
  • Collection by a licensed collector
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Delivery to a waste disposal site approved under the EPA
  • Delivery to a disposal facility as defined under the FSQA
  • Delivery to a licensed veterinarian for post mortem and disposal.

If an operator chooses to bury, incinerate, or compost deadstock, or use a disposal vessel, the regulation establishes requirements to minimize impacts on the environment. Minimum separation distances have been established from:

  • Livestock housing facilities
  • Field drainage tiles
  • Residential and commercial lands
  • Surface water
  • Bedrock and aquifers
  • Wells including municipal wells and floodplains.

For each disposal option there are specific operating requirements that will have to be met in order to safely dispose of the dead farm animal. In some cases, there are limitations on the volume of deadstock being disposed at any one site.


A farm operator may transport only their own deadstock:

  • To a common bin or collection point for collection by a licensed deadstock collector
  • To a veterinarian for the purposes of a post mortem
  • From one farm to another for disposal if they own the property where the disposal will take place
  • To a site approved under the EPA or licensed under the FSQA that is not a provincially licensed meat plant.

During transport, the deadstock must be kept out of public view, and in a leakproof container. Each surface that comes into contact with the deadstock must be impervious and capable of being cleaned and sanitized. Transportation under these circumstances does not require approval under the FSQA.

Record Keeping

The regulation specifies a number of records that must be kept by farm operators related to disposal of their dead farm animals. Standard records that must be kept include information on the method of disposal, quantity of animals disposed, and date of disposal. Other records may be required depending on the type of disposal method used. Records must be kept for two years. While there is no standard format, the records must include documentation that demonstrates compliance with the regulation.

Emergency Conditions

Provisions for emergency conditions, such as a barn fire, exist where an operator cannot, comply with the NMA requirements with respect to storage, disposal or transportation of the dead farm animals. The regulation allows the operator to apply for approval to arrange for storage, disposal, or transportation that do not otherwise meet the requirements of the regulation. In this situation, each case is decided individually. The circumstances are weighed against the potential threat to the environment if an alternate method of disposal were used.

2. Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 (FSQA)

The Disposal of Deadstock regulation under the FSQA provides for the management and disposal of deadstock off-farm. It is designed to protect public health by preventing meat from deadstock from entering the human food chain. The regulation establishes standards and requirements for transportation, processing, storage and disposal. In addition to protecting public health, these standards help minimize impacts to animal health and the environment.

The FSQA regulation applies to the management of farmed animal deaths that could enter the human food chain, including cattle, goats, sheep, horses, swine, deer, elk,alpacas, llama, donkeys, ponies, rabbits, poultry, fowl, and ratites. The regulation does not apply to furbearing animals, other than rabbits, as the interest is only with animals that could potentially be served as food.

Permitted methods of disposal are set out for deadstock that is disposed of beyond the farm premises and deadstock disposed of by custodians of the animals at their time of death. Custodians include owners or operators of:

  • Fairs and exhibitions
  • Sales barns
  • Assembly yards
  • Race tracks
  • Transporters of live animals
  • Veterinary clinics.

Veterinarians that receive deadstock for post mortems are deemed to be custodians and must dispose of the carcasses in accordance with the regulation.

Operators of sales barns, assembly yards and feeding stations that choose to accept (from livestock transporters) deadstock that die in transit are deemed to be custodians and must dispose of the carcasses in accordance with the regulation.

A custodian disposing of deadstock must dispose of it by:

  • Having the animal collected by a licensed deadstock collector
  • Transporting the deadstock to licensed operators of:
    • Transfer stations
    • Composting facilities
    • Salvaging facilities
    • Rendering facilities
  • Transporting the deadstock to an approved waste disposal site, or
  • Transporting the deadstock to equivalent facilities outside of Ontario that can legally accept deadstock.

Deadstock can only be transported, out of public view, in vehicles, trailers or containers designed and equipped to prevent leakage or escape of deadstock materials and capable of withstanding repeated cleaning and sanitizing.


Any person in the business of transporting and collecting deadstock, other than their own, must be licensed as a collector and meet the requirements for vehicles and proper transport (see previous section).

Collectors must display proof of their licence in the windshield of their vehicle.

Collectors are required to dispose of deadstock by:

  • Transporting the deadstock to licensed operators of:
    • Transfer stations
    • Composting facilities
    • Salvaging facilities
    • Rendering facilities, or
    • Transporting the deadstock to an approved waste disposal site, or
    • Transporting the deadstock to equivalent facilities outside of Ontario that can legally accept deadstock.
    Transfer Stations

    The FSQA regulation sets out licensing, facility, and operating requirements for transfer stations, which are sites that receive and consolidate deliveries of deadstock for shipment to licenced operations.

    All shipments from a transfer station must be transported by a licensed collector.

    Salvaging Facilities

    The regulation requires meat from deadstock that is distributed to be cut into prescribed portion sizes, denatured, packaged and labelled. Meat fed to the salvagers own animals or used for baiting may be cut into larger portions and that meat is provided some specific exemptions to the denaturing, packaging, and labelling rules.

    • Any person that accepts deadstock carcasses for feeding to captive wildlife or sporting dogs is required to be licensed as a salvager, and ensure the carcasses are handled and fed in a manner that prevents the scavengers or pests from removing the carcass or any part of it from the area where the feeding occurs.

    Any dead animal that the operator does not use or process must be transported from the facility by a collector.


    A broker is licenced to purchase and sell meat from deadstock in a raw form. The regulation sets out the requirements for denaturing, packaging, and labelling when a broker alters the meat.


    The FSQA regulation provides for centralized composting of deadstock. It sets out the application, siting, facility and operational standards and requirements for those centralized deadstock composting facilities. The facility and operational requirements provide for various composting and curing methods as well as for composting pads made of different materials. The regulation establishes turning, temperature and substrate standards. Compost that is derived from deadstock and that has been composted in accordance with the regulation may only be sold if it meets all of the prescribed standards for finished compost. Material that fails to meet the requirements may be re-composted or disposed of at an approved waste disposal site depending on the regulatory defect(s). The regulation specifies who may transport material, other than finished compost, from a composting facility.

    Any dead animal that the operator does not use or process must be transported from the facility by a collector.


    The regulation sets out license requirements for rendering facilities.Any dead animal that the operator does not use or process must be transported from the facility by a collector.

    Record Keeping

    Collectors and operators of disposal facilities are required to keep a record of every animal received and of its' disposal. Brokers are required to keep records of the meat the broker receives and of its disposition. Records are required to be retained for three years.

    Operators of composting facilities are required to keep additional records and retain them for the periods as specified in the Regulation.

    Emergency Conditions

    There are provisions for dealing with emergencies involving deadstock off-farm, similar to that in the NMA. These emergencies might include such things as building fires, and traffic accidents during transport.

    Licence Fees

    There is no fee for licences.

    Response to Inquiries and Complaints

    OMAFRA and MOE jointly manage and enforce these newregulations.

    OMAFRA is responsible for:

    • Education and outreach for both regulations
    • Response to FSQA complaints and inspections
    • Licencing of facilities under the FSQA.
If you have questions such as:
  • How and where do I find out information about available disposal options?
  • How do I find a licensed collector?
  • Are there environmental grants that might be available and how to apply for them?
  • How to obtain a licence under the FSQA?

Please contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.

Through an agreement with OMAFRA, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is responsible for compliance and enforcement activities under the FSQA. Contact Kevin Joynes, Dead Animal Disposal Advisor for OMAFRA at (519) 820-3128.

MOE is responsible for:

On-farm deadstock compliance and enforcement for NMA complaints and inspections.

If you have complaints regarding on-farm deadstock:

  • Please contact the local MOE office during normal business hours, and the Spills Action Centre, at 1-800-268-6060 during off-hours.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300