New U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations for rendering cattle, scheduled to take effect in April, are raising concerns that owners will dispose of dead livestock improperly.

According to FDA officials, the rules are intended to prevent the spread of BSE through animal feed. Under the rules renderers must remove the brains and spinal cords from carcasses of cattle that are over 30 months of age before processing them for animal feed.

An article in the Omaha World-Herald, reports that rendering companies today typically charge $25 to $30 to remove a dead animal from a farm. However, the new, added processing requirements would raise the price to $45 to $50 per head. There is tremendous concern as to whether rendering companies will even bother offer the new service and whether producers will be willing to pay the extra fees.

Nebraska State Veterinarian Dennis Hughes is quoted as saying improper disposal, with dead cattle left to rot in ditches or fencerows, could become a major problem.

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