# Is it sustainable to bury dead animals next to plants?

I heard that dead animals can be used as fertilizers and can be helpful for making a tree grow taller and more healthy.

Once I had buried a dead dog under a lemon tree, which at first did not result in more fruits. But after after some years the tree started bearing more fruit than before.

Is it sustainable to use this type of technique to make plants grow more? Can you use dead animals as fertilizers?

• Are you asking if it is sustainable to raise animals to be buried as fertilizers? – Stockfisch May 30 '13 at 15:32
• That would be mildly disturbing. I think for starters, we could focus on burying animals, which died a natural death and were not raised simply as fertilizer. – Earthliŋ May 30 '13 at 16:10
• The burial part sounds sustainable to me. Take off that polyester doggie sweater, and little Fido is biodegradable. Your other options are consuming a bunch of fossil fuels to cremate him, the utterly bizarre custom of putting the corpse in a box underground in a cemetery, where it can't be of any use to plants, or the even more bizarre solution of animal taxidermy. – Nate May 30 '13 at 21:07
• If the dead animal is a pet, it might have got some medications or even euthanasia. The effect of this on vegetables or groundwater quality also has to be considered! – Sironsse May 31 '13 at 15:47
• @Silke yes you are right – Yadav Chetan May 31 '13 at 16:07

• That anaerobic decomposition creates substances like botulinum toxin doesn't convince me by itself that burying animals is unsustainable. For one, the question gave no information about proximity to a water supply. In general, both rock/soil and plants tend to be really good at filtering out many toxins, so it's not clear to me that a few buried animals are going to pose any noticeable health risk. Remember, that leaving carcasses out in the open can also create pathogens, but in that case, they're not buried. I may be wrong about this, but it would be nice to see supporting evidence. – Nate Jun 12 '13 at 4:17