Pet Food Past and Present
It should be safely, legally locked away in the past. “The National Animal Control Association estimated that each year about 5 million pets were shipped to rendering plants and recycled into pet food during the 1990s.” But it’s not.
Encyclopedia.com explains to a world of pet owners (bold added):
Pet food is a specialty food for domesticated animals that is formulated according to their nutritional needs. Pet food generally consists of meat, meat byproducts, cereals, grain, vitamins, and minerals.
The primary ingredients in pet food are byproducts of meat, poultry, and seafood, feed grains, and soybean meal. Among the animals used in rendering are livestock, horses, and house pets which have been put to sleep. The National Animal Control Association estimated that each year about 5 million pets were shipped to rendering plants and recycled into pet food during the 1990s. They are generally listed as meat or bone meal in the ingredient lists.
Euthanized pets should never – ever – have been recycled into pet food. Who ever thought this was acceptable? FDA is who.
FDA in partnership with the rendering industry in partnership with greedy pet food manufacturers wanting cheap ‘material’ that analyzes as protein is who decided any rendered material that analyzes as protein is good enough. To this day, FDA still allows it. Law doesn’t allow euthanized pets in pet food, but FDA openly and without hesitation ignores law (but we fully intend to stop them).
Do euthanized pets end up in pet food today?
There is no guarantee it happens, there is no guarantee it doesn’t happen. Costly DNA testing could prove it…but it would be very costly and remember – FDA still allows any euthanized animal, any diseased animal, any non-slaughtered animal to be recycled into pet food/animal feed.
What we do know is that millions of pets continue to be euthanized today – from ASPCA.org – “Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).” Unless the animal shelter has a crematory (few can afford it), the euthanized animals are rendered; it is illegal to ‘bury’ euthanized animals in landfills as the euthanizing drug in the bodies poses a risk to endangered wildlife.
In the 1990’s, several revealing stories were published on rendered euthanized pets. In 1990 “How Dogs and Cats Get Recycled into Pet Food” by John Eckhouse, was published by The San Francisco Chronicle; the story has been removed from the Internet (to my knowledge). Rumor is the story was provided to the paper by Keith Wood (his story “The Dark Side of Recycling” can be read via your public library – click here). In 1995, the Baltimore City Paper published the story “What’s Cookin? Ever Wonder What Happens to Dead Animals?” by Van Smith (to read this story – click here).
Due to public concern, the FDA began an investigation of dog food (Risk of Pentobarbital in Dog Food; they did not test cat food), testing to find the euthanizing drug pentobarbital. The FDA website states “The low levels of exposure to sodium pentobarbital (pentobarbital) that dogs might receive through food is unlikely to cause them any adverse health effects”. Under ‘How pentobarbital can get into dog food’ the FDA states “Because in addition to producing anesthesia, pentobarbital is routinely used to euthanize animals, the most likely way it could get into dog food would be in rendered animal products.” To view the list of dog foods tested by FDA, click here.
The agency stated no dog or cat DNA was discovered in the pet foods that tested positive for a euthanizing drug…but the FDA refused to provide their testing methods to an outside the agency scientist. Around 2010, a DNA lab contacted TruthaboutPetFood.com and we worked together, unsuccessfully testing a few pet foods for dog and cat DNA. In preparation for this testing, our DNA lab asked the FDA for their testing methods (if we found dog or cat DNA, the testing would have been replicated using FDA methods). The FDA refused to provide their methods stating they were proprietary.
And in 2004, the Congressional Research Library provided Congress with a report titled “Animal Rendering: Economics and Policy”. Under ‘Industry Overview’ the report to Congress stated (bold added):
Renderers annually convert 47 billion pounds or more of raw animal materials into approximately 18 billion pounds of products. Sources for these materials include meat slaughtering and processing plants (the primary one); dead animals from farms, ranches, feedlots, marketing barns, animal shelters, and other facilities; and fats, grease, and other food waste from restaurants and stores.
Since the above stories – for more than 20 years – no journalist has been let inside the rendering industry walls; the industry has refused to talk about where today’s 2.7 million euthanized shelter pets go. There is no transparency. Rendered pets could go to pet food, livestock feed, fish feed (yes, the FDA allows this material to be fed to animals used for human consumption too). No one but ‘them’ knows. Sickening to consider.
To my knowledge, FDA has not done any pentobarbital testing of pet food since the year 2000 and Congress has not requested updated information on the rendering industry since 2004. No one seems to care where euthanized pets go.
The truth is: any rendered pet food ingredient (‘meal’ ingredients) could include a euthanized animal. With certainty there are conscientious renderers out there, but since the industry doesn’t talk – we don’t know who those conscientious renderers are or which pet food companies they sell to. The only guarantee consumers have is human grade pet food or with raw those made under constant USDA inspection.
Euthanized pets in pet food/animal feed would be a direct violation of federal law. This is something we hope to stop with our soon to take place action against the FDA.
Adopt a shelter pet. Support rescue groups.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients? Chinese imports? Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 4,000 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. Click Here to preview Petsumer Report. www.PetsumerReport.com
The 2016 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods. Click Here
The Other List
The List of pet foods I would not give my own pets. Click Here
Have you read Buyer Beware? Click Here
Cooking pet food made easy, Dinner PAWsible
Find Healthy Pet Foods in Your Area Click Here