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Inexcusable Pet Food Ingredient Definitions

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  1. Dianne

    Talk about being between a rock and hard place.

  2. Peter

    Your suggestion: call your pet food manufacturer, is well put.

    Every chicken you’ve ever had in your life was female. The industry simply has no use for male chicks, since they do not develop the type of body (breast meat, primarily) that consumers would purchase. So they are simply “culled” and ground up alive or tossed into barrels on top of each other, to suffocate. The industry really doesn’t hide this… factory farms aren’t going to keep animals that they cannot sell alive… it is just normal business practice which would never cease… unless we stop eating chicken.

    1. Julia Sharp

      This is all failing under the USDA. The USDA allows those chicks to be ground alive. The USDA allows puppy mills. The USDA was just busted for some of the most horrific cruelty imaginable yet no one heard about it in mainstream media…but thanks to the New York Times, we know. So we did a petition. We want the end of crushed chicks and factory farm horrors. They are not only feeding this to animals, we suspect they are feeding it to humans on some levels. Read the background in our petition to understand why this happens.

  3. N E

    My stomach just turned around. I noticed that my cats would never eat anything with chicken in it, for unknown reason until now, it seems. Horrific.

  4. Verna Brunet

    We tried to fight city hall to give residents the right to keep a small number of chickens for eggs. We lost. Sure, some people would be cruel to their chickens, but the chicken industry is cruel to all of them.

    If we had the right to own a few chickens, people would buy from their neighbors to avoid the excessive cruelty of the industry. Sales & profits would go down.

  5. Terri Simmers

    I am out raged. The things our so called food business does not wont us to know about would raise our for Fathers from the grave. What ever happened to doing things the right way and with a good heart. This is horrific.And they wonder why we do not trust any more!

  6. Laurie Matson

    I was aware of Male Chicks being ground up and going to pet food years ago. However, I was not aware of spent Laying Hens having the same demise. I have seen a Mercy for Animals Video of the Hatchery process and chicks going into a Macerator or tossed in a barrel to pile up and suffocate. Many end up on the floor being left to die or schmooshed intentially with a foot. At least with the Macerator death is very quick and beats suffocating in a barrel. They are all horrible options though 🙁

  7. Regina


    Thank you for the warning that this article was not for the faint of heart. I could not even finish the fourth paragraph.

    I’m sick. This is just maddening.

    And more and more, people wanting to grow/produce their own food are hit with regulations and restrictions preventing them from doing so. I hope I don’t sound like a paranoid lunatic, but, is our government actually trying to kill us????

    Please, Susan, Please, keep us posted on this issue!!!! I do know you are not going to let this go! I can’t wait to hear AAFCO’s response to your following up on this very issue.

    1. Terri Janson


      No you don’t sound like a paranoid lunatic. I have thought the same thing about our government and the GMO problem. European countries and others won’t except any of our exported food that contains GMO’s but we eat it! Even Japan won’t allow McDonald’s in their county unless it is GMO free but we have them here…..

  8. Pat P.

    If most of the pet food industry is aware of, tolerates and supports such appalling sadistic cruelty, why should we expect them to be honest about what goes into the food? It is not just the baby chicks that suffer incredibly horrific treatment. They know that, too. 99% of all farms are BiG Agra, where the majority of these horrors take place–for human food, and we know pet food is worse. Most slaughter houses are, also, extremely inhumane. These people are sociopaths (with some exceptions) that will do ANYTHING for money!

    The ONLY chicken that I will feed my cats is raw from a reputable, well-researched company–not many of them. I don’t know what they do with their male chicks, though. Hopefully, not what most do!

  9. Jude from Maine

    Our country, like most countries, is run by whoever has the most money. Money buys power and power inevitably corrupts. I have no faith in our government to do the right thing. It’s so very horrible and disheartening.

    I have watched undercover videos of what goes on in factory farms and feel sick whenever I see people buying or eating slaughtered animals. I cannot get those videos out of my mind. I’m ashamed of our so-called overseers who take the easiest, cheapest road to produce income and who willingly accept easy money (bribes) from big industry’s lobbyists in exchange for their integrity. I don’t know how these people sleep at night.

    Susan, I don’t know how you have the courage to keep fighting for justice for the animals and for those who love them and believe that they are feeding their pets healthful food. I am humbled by your strength and perseverance. Thank you for staying in for the long haul.

  10. Sharon

    Impact Pet Foods is very different than any other food out there! 100% sourced from the same sources that supply restaurants and based on whole food nutrition. Dogs go crazy for it and there is nothing in it that a human wouldn’t eat!

    This article proves that we need a revolution in pet food!

  11. Terri Janson

    CRUELTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is WHY I refuse to give up my laying hens that are aging! I will continue to feed and take care of them even if I get no eggs. Why are people so cruel. :((

  12. Deanna Siegel

    Above and beyond the issue of the inhumane way the chickens are killed is the content of the resulting “meat”. It is filled with their feathers, beak, intestines and the fecal matter contained therein. While one would assume that the product chicken would be healthier for one’s animals than chicken by products, it seems that chicken meat contains it all including things that would not even be allowed under chicken by products.

  13. Nina

    This is a legitimate, non-argumentative question…IF “chicken” and “chicken meal” cannot contain “feathers, heads, feet and entrails.”…how is macerated meat able to be used?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I don’t have an answer for you on that – all I know is that suppliers of these ingredients are selling to pet food.

    2. Alison

      Had a thought that this is the fresh chicken ingredient, yuk. My dogs do get chicken backs now and again but normally lamb carcass

  14. Ellie

    OK. I got as far as the grinding up of baby chicks and had to stop reading. I have some knowledge of the mistreatment of livestock in this country and I guess I just could not take another disgusting fact on the subject.
    There are some really good farmers and small ranchers that still treat their animals with respect but they are becoming few and far between. The small farmer has all but disappeared in some areas and the eyes of large cooperate farm owners are on those small farms. These large corporations often lobby politically to create conditions that make it all but impossible for small farmers to stay in business.
    Once upon a time in America a film on a cable network of small animals being slain in such a way would have brought about a huge public outcry. Is it because of the control that is place on the media or just the fact that no one really cares anymore that no one says or does a thing about this ? I don’t know but it seems that almost daily I am made aware of some horrendous failure of the population to react to some horrible situation that should have had immediate action to correct.

  15. Mike

    I, too, was outraged by your article, so I called Wellness and Natural Balance, the manufacturers of the canned cat foods that I feed my two cats. Both assured me that none of their foods contains ground up chicks. Wellness gave me positive assurance that none of their suppliers are allowed to use that ingredient. Natural Balance said that their foods contained only striated muscle meat, or specific organ meat such as liver, and never whole chicken products in any form.
    I hope this is true.

    1. Paolo

      The question to ask is, ‘from whom do you purchase your chicken meal.’

      1. Mike

        I disagree. The only reason to ask that question would be if I wanted to do the research with those suppliers, which would transfer the burden of proof to me. I want Wellness and Natural Balance to be responsible for what goes into their foods, and to be able to assure us that they don’t use any ingredients that contain live-ground chicks. They seemed to be aware of the problem, and, again, both assured me that none of their ingredients contain ground chicks (though Wellness seemed more certain of that, whereas NB relied on definitional exclusions).

  16. Tracey

    Killing chickens and cows is inhumane, this people committing these acts are sick twisted heartless bastards. I recently read an article about farms in Florida where customers pick out which LIVE animal they want, then the animal is killed right in front of them. A lot of these animals are skinned alive. What kind of heartless POS would do this? This is beyond disturbing and cruel. I keep hearing about how big AG tries to get our bought and paid for government to put a GAG order on all these inhumane acts against animals. How about not doing them in the first place! Animals were not put on this earth to be abused by humans but that is exactly what has been happening. It must stop. I really believe there is a special place in hell for those sick individuals that abuse, torture and kill animals, and big pet food and big AG are part of that group.

    I will never eat chicken or beef again, and I mean it! My dogs will be eating fruit and other things. This is just so disgusting that any animal is treating this way. Every time I drive by a cattle ranch I get sad, knowing that most of these cows will be slaughtered and end up as a steak or a hamburger at a fast food restaurant. I think I will just eat candy!

    Between the banks, wall street, pet food, and big AG this country doesn’t have a pray. The Lord will administer justice. I just hope I will still be here to see it.

    1. Mike

      Talk with your vet before taking your dogs off meat entirely. They are carnivores, and you might harm them if you deprive them of animal proteins.

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