The Agriculture Department installed the $800,000 tissue digester in 2011. The machine is like a huge pressure cooker that breaks down and sterilizes animal carcasses.
But it doesn't work, so legislation proposed in the House and Senate would pay to remove the nonworking machine, at a cost of $1 million, and replace it with a different one, which will cost about $1.6 million.
The digester that doesn't work was purchased from a company that subsequently entered bankruptcy proceedings, the Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday. Another company was awarded a $565,000 contract to install the digester but couldn't get it to work.
The digester sits unused in a laboratory that houses several state agencies, including the Agriculture Department.
Because the digester doesn't work, the state has continued to dispose of animal carcasses at crematoriums in Albuquerque.
Carcasses of larger animals are sent to a Game and Fish Department incinerator in Santa Fe.
Agriculture Department spokeswoman Katie Goetz said the digester is needed because neither the city of Albuquerque nor Bernalillo County will approve an incinerator, especially one in such close proximity to medical facilities.
The digester also eliminates the need to transport diseased carcasses, and it does not produce smoke like an incinerator.