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Posted by3 months ago

How do people who keep large animals (pigs, cows, horses) as pets dispose of those pets when the pet dies?

Silly question, but I kind of fell into the animal video rabbit hole on youtube, and there are a lot of videos of people who keep animals that are considered livestock as pets. When your fish dies, you can flush it down the toilet, when your hamster dies it gets a shoebox casket and gets buried in the back yard, but you're not going to bury a cow in the backyard without a back hoe. And you're not going to call the BBQ joint around the corner either. So what do people do with these very large pets when the pets pass?

112 comments
94% Upvoted
level 1
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level 1

When my horse died, the animal hospital he had been taken to disposed of the body for a few hundred dollars. They said they would use it for the veterinary school to autopsy and then cremate him.

Here's a list of disposal services in most states: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/humane-horse-remains-disposal

If you don't want to bury in your backyard, your options are cremation, landfill, or rendering service. Obviously, given the large size, the cost for these can be a fair bit higher than a small pet.

115
level 2

FYI. For animals, the procedure is more typically called a necropsy. An autopsy is typically referred to for humans.

41
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That sounds like a scam...they get a body for science and madw you pay? Wow

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Why did they want to autopsy your horse?

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landfill

Ah yes, the memory of my first visit to the landfill as a child and seeing NUMEROUS horse corpses.

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Shouldn't they be paying YOU for the autopsy subject ??

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Shouldn't they have paid you then?

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level 1

That's a really good question. I grew up on a cattle ranch, so, obviously, the cows were not pets, and they were intended for the slaughterhouse, but we did sometimes have a cow who got sick and died of natural causes. In that case, the practice was generally to create a sort of fire pit and burn the corpse completely. (The meat was usually considered tainted, so a "field butchering" was not something that was done.) Some of this was to prevent whatever disease there may have been from getting to the other cattle and discouraging carrion from gathering, but it was also a practical solution for disposing of an animal that was just one side or the other of a ton. Sometimes this would even be done with a horse that had to be put down or had done out on the range, and horses were in the middle of the venn diagram of livestock and pets. We also cremated dogs and cats, which were undeniably pets (if sometimes working pets.) Burying in the backyard in a shoebox or trash bag may be practical in suburbia, but -- out in the sticks -- something was going to come along to dig it up unless you buried it really deep. So, we usually did the fire pit for even the smaller animals. The more beloved dogs who had lived for several years as part of our family would be cremated in a barrel, so that we could keep the ashes (usually in a decorated coffee can.)

I don't know if that's an answer to your question exactly, because I do know that some people have horses and pigs in urban environments, too, and "home cremation" is definitely not an option there, but that's how we did it out on the ranch. A friend of mine had his St. Bernard cremated through his vet, so that would cover big dogs and pigs, but I don't know about a horse. I suppose that there must be a service for that kind of thing. I don't imagine racehorses get buried in the back 40.

57
level 2

Famous racehorses get buried, the usual practice otherwise is to bury the head and cremate the rest.

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Comment deleted by user · 3 mo. ago
level 2

I don't know about a horse. I suppose that there must be a service for that kind of thing.

FWIW On Yellowstone they cremated his son in a furnace for horse cremations. Even though it's a TV show I doubt they would make up something that wasn't accurate.

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[deleted]
· 3 mo. ago

I looked into cremation when my horse died 11 years ago. It was a dollar a pound, they'd send a truck to get him. I didn't have that kind of cash so a construction ompany that was just down the road came out for a couple hundred bucks and dug a hole.

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level 1

People with space to keep horses usually have contacts and neighbors with large machinery. I paid my neighbor 60$ and he dug a very large hole in my pasture when my horse died.

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level 2

That's what we did, too.

Personally, it's the way I'd like to be buried as well. Dig a hole out in the pasture and plant a tree over it. It's funny that there are all these restrictions on how humans can be buried, but I can bury a 500-pound horse on my property with no problem.

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Our neighbors have horses that pull carriages at events. When they die they bury them in the front yard and make little memorials for them.

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Check state/local regulations first. Some states don't like contaminated groundwater in a neighbor's well.

Whats stupid is that some states don't differentiate on size, making it just as illegal to bury a cat as a cow.

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Same for us. A horse ran into a tree and killed itself - the next day we had someone with a back-ho come dig us a deep pit to drop the horse corpse.

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