The P.E.I. government is cutting back on its subsidies for a service that helps farmers safely dispose of animals that die.

The provincial dead stock service subsidy is aimed at the beef and dairy cattle industries.

'[It] could lead to people dumping carcasses to compost in the woods.' — Dr. Wade Sweet, P.E.I. Veterinary Medical Association

Ivan Johnson, chair of P.E.I. Cattle Producers, doesn't lose many of his cattle each year, but when an animal dies he has it removed from the farm.

"It's an important service not only to the farming community but to the island in general," said Johnson.

For years Maritime Pet Foods has been trucking away carcasses from Island farms for disposal or rendering. It costs $168 per animal, and the province has been covering most of that for cattle. Last year, the service cost the government $609,000.

In this year's budget the province is planning to cut some of that funding.

"It's another cost on the farming community and it's not very nice when we see those cuts," said Johnson.

The P.E.I. Veterinary Medical Association doesn't like it either. It has asked the province to maintain the funding.

"Our fears are that people are going to, instead of calling for removal, they're going to organically compost, which could lead to people dumping carcasses to compost in the woods," said association president Dr. Wade Sweet.

Sweet said this could attract coyotes and cause the population to increase.

Just how the funding cut will impact farmers is still being worked out. P.E.I. Cattle Producers has formed a group along with dairy farmers and government to work out a solution.

The province says at this point it has not determined just how much money it will cut from the service.