Animal by-products are animal carcasses, parts of carcass or products of animal origin that are not intended for human consumption.
Animal by-products regulations
The handling, use and disposal of animal by-products is controlled by the European Union (EU) Animal By-products Regulation 2009 and the EU Implementing Regulation 2011. The main aim of these regulations is to prevent animal by-products from presenting a risk to animal or public health through the transmission of disease.
The regulations are enforced in England and Wales by the Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations and the Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (Wales) (No2) Regulations 2011.
Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and local authorities (usually trading standards) are responsible for enforcing animal by-products legislation.
Animal by-product permitting
Most activities involving animal by-products require authorisation from AHVLA. You can find further information about animal by-product controls on the AHVLA website:
If you are unsure whether you require an authorisation you should discuss your proposed activity with your local AHVLA office.
If the animal by-product is also classed as a waste then a permit or waste exemption is required from the Environment Agency in addition to authorisation from AHVLA. For example, if catering waste is being used as feedstock for a composting or anaerobic digestion plant, a waste exemption or an environmental permit will be required in addition to the AHVLA authorisation.
A waste exemption or an environmental permit is likely to be required if you are incinerating, landfilling, anaerobically digesting, composting or landspreading wastes containing animal by-products.
The revised Waste Framework Directive excluded certain wastes from its scope. This has resulted in some animal by-products no longer being classed as a waste.
If you handle or dispose of fallen stock or parts of animal carcasses, you must meet the requirements of the Animal By-Products Regulations. This imposes a ban on the routine on-farm burial or open burning of carcasses or parts of carcasses.
You may only bury animal carcasses in very limited circumstances, for example for emergency disease control or if you are located in areas designated as 'remote areas' in the Animal By-Products Regulations. The Isles of Scilly and Lundy Island in England and Bardsey Island and Caldy Island in Wales are designated as ‘remote areas’. More information can be found on: