Transferable by air, water and direct contact, animal diseases found in carcasses can be highly contagious. A recent report of some dead chickens that were dumped in a canal in Kampong Thom Province highlighted the urgency of educating the public about the proper disposal of animal carcasses for the safety of livestock, poultry and humans alike.
Leading agro business and poultry giant C.P. Cambodia shares best practices for raising chickens, which includes the proper disposal of carcasses in the event that a contagious disease strikes and claims part of the stock, even though the previously mentioned chickens were not theirs.
Dr Poohrich Sinwat, veterinarian and business development manager for C.P. Cambodia, explained how important carcass management is in raising chickens and other animals.
“Every chicken farm should have a place or facility for carcass disposal,” Sinwat said, and pointed out that there are three common methods to safely dispose of carcasses that his company has successfully used for the last 20 years. These methods include a trench burial, incineration and the use of safe disposal pits (see info box).
One reason that makes the safe disposal of carcasses a necessity in chicken farming is that deadly diseases are easily spread in tropical climates, said Sinwat. He added that in order to avoid disease and death among chickens, C.P. and their contract farms maintain strict and routine preventive measures.
“All chickens in our company’s farms and contract farms are vaccinated against viruses to prevent disease and are occasionally fed antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. Our veterinarians carry out monthly and on-call health checkups for animals in all farms where they also take samples for laboratory tests,” he said.
However, it is natural that disease can’t always be prevented even when best practices are enforced. When there is an outbreak of disease, Sinwat said, C.P. offers guidance to their contract farmers – something that is accompanied by government support for large cases.
“In case [of] large numbers of deaths, perhaps around hundreds, farmers may lack the capacity to dispose of carcasses on their farm. Then the government authorities can be asked for help and advice,” he said.
Safe methods of carcass disposal for farmers contracted by C.P. Cambodia
1. Trench burial
Dig a three metre wide and deep pit in an open field that is around two to three kilometres away from the farm, sources of water, or the community. Disinfect the pit with calcium hydroxide. Carcasses have to be covered with one metre of soil and an extra layer of soil, around 50 centimetres above ground, so the soil will not sink during decomposition.
You can either buy a cylindrical incinerator or build one yourself. To build your own incinerator, assemble a one by one metre chute constructed of cement and bricks. Make sure there is enough space for a fire beneath the chute, which has to be covered during incineration. Do not build the incinerator near the farm or a community.
3. Disposal pit
A common way to deal with small amounts carcasses in poultry production are disposal pits. The pit should be three metres wide and five metres deep with solid walls and a permeable base. The pits can also be used to dispose of swine carcasses.