Trading Standards Advice Leaflet


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Farming Standards Advice - Guidance Leaflets

Deer carcase and offal disposal (farmed and wild)

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.

In the guide
Notifiable diseases
Disposal of deer carcases/offal
Transportation of deer carcases and/or parts
Documentation required

Notifiable diseases
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 regional operations director at the regional AHVLA (Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency) office of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). 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 AHVLA official or an animal health inspector.

Disposal of deer carcases/offal
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 :

  • approved premises:
    - for incineration
    - for rendering
  • technical plants
  • 'authorised premises':
    - for diagnostic, educational or research purposes
    - for taxidermy
    - knacker's yard
    - for feeding to zoo and circus animals, reptiles and birds of prey, dogs from recognised kennels or recognised packs of hounds, and maggots for fishing bait

For more information on what constitutes an approved, technical or 'authorised' premises and where these can be found, please visit the AHVLA website.

Burial or burning is generally banned, and is only permitted in specific remote areas - namely, parts of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Bardsey Island and Caldy Island in Wales, and the Scilly Isles and Lundy Island in England. Disposal in this way is subject to strict rules and record keeping.

The Regulations 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).

In all other cases concerning wild deer, it is still permissible to remove gralloch (entrails) from carcases in the field/forest.

It is recommended that gralloch should be:

  • covered with soil, rocks or wood to prevent access by scavengers
  • buried at least 250m from any well, spring or borehole used as a source of drinking water
  • buried at least 30m from any other spring or watercourse and at least 10m from any drain
  • have at least 1m of subsoil below the bottom of the burial pit, allowing a hole deep enough for at least 1m of soil to cover the carcase
  • be free of water at the bottom of the hole, when first dug

A disposal pit may be used for the disposal of a limited quantity of by-products from wild deer. The pit should be constructed in accordance with Defra's code of good agricultural practice: Protecting our Water, Soil and Air.

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, suspected of being infected with a disease communicable to humans or animals must be disposed of as animal by-product by either:

  • rendering in an approved premises - or
  • 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 must be dedicated to the use of specific categories of animal by-products, and where they are 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)

Documentation required
The person consigning the animal by-product must keep a record of each consignment, and must ensure that identifying documentation accompanies the by-product during its transport. Such records and documentation must be retained by the consignor/haulier and consignee for two years, and must show the:

  • name and address of origin
  • name and address of transporter
  • name and address of destination
  • quantity and description
  • date of transport
  • signature of person responsible and name printed

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.

For additional information see the Food Standards Agency publication The Wild Game Guide, 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.

Failure to comply with any provision of the law could result in a fine of up to £5,000 and/or three months' imprisonment for each offence.

Please note
This leaflet is not an authoritative interpretation of the law and is intended only for guidance. Any legislation referred to, while still current, may have been amended from the form in which it was originally enacted. Please contact us for further information.

Relevant legislation
EU 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

Last reviewed/updated: December 2013

© 2014 itsa Ltd on behalf of the Trading Standards Institute.