In South Africa, until recently, veterinary waste has not been included in definitions of health care waste, and so has been neglected as a contributor to the hazardous waste stream. Despite the application of, for example, the "Polluter Pays" principle in South African environmental legislation, to generators of waste, which would include veterinarians, there appears to be little awareness of and even less enforcement of the legislation in this regard. This paper reports on a 2001-2003 survey of management practices of the five waste contractors servicing just over half of the veterinarians in Durban, South Africa's second largest city. Some of their activities, when evaluated in terms of the legislation, guidelines and policies relating to waste handling and disposal, were found to be non-compliant. Since any discussion on waste management should take cognisance of waste from generation to final disposal, the responsibility of veterinarians as waste generators is also discussed in the light of the recent developments in health care waste management in South Africa. This study presents a review of past and current policies, legislation and guidelines that have application to veterinary waste. This is the first study to address veterinary waste disposal in any South African city.