Open Access
Research (Published online: 22-09-2017)
9. Aboveground burial for managing catastrophic losses of livestock
Gary Alan Flory, Robert W. Peer, Robert A. Clark, Mohamed Naceur Baccar, Thanh-Thao Le, Aziz Ben Mbarek and Sami Farsi
International Journal of One Health, 3: 50-56

Gary Alan Flory: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 3000, 4411 Early Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA.
Robert W. Peer: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 3000, 4411 Early Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA.
Robert A. Clark: Virginia Cooperative Extension, 600 North Main Street, Suite 100, Woodstock, Virginia 22664-1855.
Mohamed Naceur Baccar: Veterinarian Divisional Inspector, Sub Director of Training and Skills Development, National Center of Zoosanitary Vigilance, Tunis, Tunisia.
Thanh-Thao Le: Department of Health and Environmental Control, Columbia, SC, USA.
Aziz Ben Mbarek: Veterinarian in Charge of Animal Health, Regional Department for Agricultural Development, Sfax, Tunisia.
Sami Farsi: Veterinarian Divisional Inspector, Head of the Livestock Production District, Regional Department for Agricultural Development, Sfax, Tunisia.

doi: 10.14202/IJOH.2017.50-56

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Article history: Received: 17-07-2017, Accepted: 20-08-2017, Published online: 22-09-2017

Corresponding author: Gary Alan Flory


Citation: Flory GA, Peer RW, Clark RA, Baccar MN, Le TT, Mbarek AB, Farsi S. Aboveground burial for managing catastrophic losses of livestock, Int J One Health 2017;3:50-56.

Background and Aim: Environmental impacts from carcass management are a significant concern globally. Despite a history of costly, ineffective, and environmentally damaging carcass disposal efforts, large animal carcass disposal methods have advanced little in the past decade. An outbreak today will likely be managed with the same carcass disposal techniques used in the previous decades and will likely result in the same economic, health, and environmental impacts. This article overviews the results of one field test that was completed in Virginia (United States) using the aboveground burial (AGB) technique and the disposal of 111 foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) infected sheep in Tunisia using a similar methodology.

Materials and Methods: Researchers in the United States conducted a field test to assess the environmental impact and effectiveness of AGB in decomposing livestock carcasses. The system design included a shallow trench excavated into native soil and a carbonaceous base placed on the bottom of the trenches followed by a single layer of animal carcasses. Excavated soils were subsequently placed on top of the animals, and a vegetative layer was established. A similar methodology was used in Tunisia to manage sheep infected with FMDs, Peste des Petits Ruminants virus, and Bluetongue Virus.

Results: The results of the field test in the United States demonstrated a significant carcass degradation during the 1-year period of the project, and the migration of nutrients below the carcasses appears to be limited thereby minimizing the threat of groundwater contamination. The methodology proved practical for the disposal of infected sheep carcasses in Tunisia.

Conclusion: Based on the analysis conducted to date, AGB appears to offer many benefits over traditional burial for catastrophic mortality management. Ongoing research will help to identify limitations of the method and determine where its application during large disease outbreaks or natural disasters is appropriate.

Keywords: aboveground burial, carcass disposal, foot-and-mouth disease, foreign animal diseases, mesophilic static pile composting.


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