Echinococcosis is world-side problem in agricultural areas where domesticated animals are raised for food. The animals acquire the parasite eggs from carnivore droppings, and the carnivore acquire the disease by eating cysts in animal viscera. Carefully disposing of animal waste after slaughter can help break this cycle.


Domesticated animals affected: sheep, cows, pigs, goats


Dogs and foxes are the main carnivores involved in the life cycle, but others (including cats) may participate.


Offal refers to animal waste after slaughter. This may include any of the internal viscera. Usually this involves the intestines and lung but also may include the liver, kidney, and heart.


While the eggs of Echinococcus species can persist in the environment, the cysts will usually become nonviable after a couple weeks in a suitable waste container.


Goals of waste containers:

(1) carnivore resistant

(2) suitable for the locale

(3) located to minimize bother


Common waste containers:

(1) large metal drums

(2) burial pits


Features for a large metal drums:

(1) secure lid

(2) anchored so they cannot be knocked over


Features of a burial pit:

(1) 4 feet (1.22 meters) in diameter and 4 to 6 feet (1.22 - 1.82 meters) deep

(2) walls may require shoring in loose soils

(3) pit cover

(4) layer of dirt piled over the pit cover to keep animals out

(5) covered fume pipe


Enzyme mixtures are available that can help speed the tissue digestion.


General rules:

(1) Burial pits should not be used when the water table is high or flooding might occur.

(2) The stench may be very bad in hot weather.

(3) Whole carcasses, heads or substantial body parts should not be placed in the waste containers since these will fill the container up and resist breakdown.


Cremation may be an option if firewood is readily available. If all else fails, then the offal needs to be buried deep and covered.


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