This is not for the squeamish; and it is certainly no late Trick or Treat. It is the hard, cold facts of what the FDA allows to become common pet food ingredients.
It must be stated before the graphic descriptions begin, that the disgusting items discussed below are, in fact, illegal to be processed into any food including dog and cat food. Despite (or perhaps in spite of) the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act which clearly states no food, human food or animal food, can contain any part of a diseased or euthanized animal, an FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration) policy allows any diseased animal and any euthanized animal to become dog and cat food ingredients.
Although the topic has rarely been discussed in main stream media, a few brave journalists (and certainly brave editors) have discussed the ‘The Dark Side of Recycling’; which is the title of Keith Woods article published in 1990. His original story was published by the San Francisco Chronicle, however his version was “watered down.” Earth Island Journal published his complete story in the fall of 1990.
The first couple of paragraphs from The Dark Side of Recycling…
A RENDERING PLANT SOMEWHERE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — The rendering plant floor is piled high with “raw product”. Thousands of dead dogs and cats; heads and hooves from cattle, sheep, pigs and horses; whole skunks; rats and raccoons — all waiting to be processed. In the 90 degree heat, the piles of dead animals seem to have a life of their own as millions of maggots swarm over the carcasses.
Two bandanna-masked men begin operating Bobcat mini-dozers, loading the “raw” into a ten-foot deep stainless steel pit. They are undocumonted workers from Mexico doing a dirty job. A giant auger-grinder at the bottom of the pit begins to turn. Popping bones and squeezing flesh are sounds from a nightmare you will never forget.
In September 1995 Baltimore City Paper Journalist Van Smith provided readers with another graphic description. This is the beginning of his story What’s Cookin’?…
Consider these items: Bozman, the Baltimore City Police Department quarter horse who died last summer in the line of duty. The grill grease and used frying oil from Camden Yards, the city’s summer ethnic festivals, and nearly all Baltimore-area and Ocean City restaurants and hotels. A baby circus elephant who died while in Baltimore this summer. Millions of tons of waste meat and inedible animal parts from the region’s supermarkets and slaughter-houses. Carcasses from the Baltimore Zoo. The thousands of dead dogs, cats, raccoons, possums, deer, foxes, snakes, and the rest that local animal shelters and road-kill patrols must dispose of each month.
These are the raw materials of Baltimore’s fat-and-protein economy, which are processed into marketable products for high profit at the region’s only rendering plant, in Curtis Bay. In a gruesomely ironic twist, most inedible dead-animal parts, including dead pets, end up in feed used to fatten up future generations of their kind.
In the spring of 1996, Earth Island Journal published ‘Food not Fit for a Pet’ by Wendell O. Belfield DVM. The following is an excerpt from his story…
For seven years, I was a veterinary meat inspector for the US Department of Agriculture and the State of California. I waded through blood, water, pus and fecal material, inhaled the fetid stench from the killing floor and listened to the death cries of slaughtered animals.
Prior to World War II, most slaughterhouses were all-inclusive; that is, livestock was slaughtered and processed in one location. There was a section for smoking meats, a section for processing meats into sausages and a section for rendering.
After World War II, the meat industry became more specialized. A slaughterhouse dressed the carcasses, while a separate facility made the sausages. The rendering of slaughter waste also became a separate specialty — no longer within the jurisdiction of federal meat inspectors and out of the public eye.
To prevent condemned meat from being rerouted and used for human consumption, government regulations require that meat is “denatured” before removal from the slaughterhouse and shipment to rendering facilities. In my time as a veterinary meat inspector, we denatured with carbolic acid (a potentially corrosive disinfectant) and/or creosote (used for wood-preservation or as a disinfectant). Both substances are highly toxic. According to federal meat inspection regulations, fuel oil, kerosene, crude carbolic acid and citronella (an insect repellent made from lemon grass) all are approved denaturing materials.
Condemned livestock carcasses treated with these chemicals can become meat and bone meal for the pet food industry. Because rendering facilities are not government controlled, any animal carcasses can be rendered — even dogs and cats. As Eileen Layne of the CVMA told the Chronicle, “When you read pet food labels, and it says ‘meat and bone meal,’ that’s what it is: cooked and converted animals, including some dogs and cats.”
Every time I think about it, it sends chills up my spine. Every time I think about this ‘truth’ of pet food, I’m angered the FDA allows these horrendous ‘things’ into dog foods and cat foods. We can learn a reality of why the FDA allows this from a letter written to the FDA from a Wisconsin Rendering Facility…(this letter was in protest of the FDA’s proposed ban of mad cow disease risk materials into pet food – dated August 9, 2004…
If you will allow us some latitude, let’s look at the $70 cost to dispose of a CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease – deer equivalent to Mad Cow Disease) deer carcass by means of incineration. This deer weighs an average of 180 pounds. This translates into a $1 cost to dispose of 2.57 pounds of deer carcass. An average dairy cow in the dead stock business weighs around 1,200 pounds. This means that incineration cost alone for this cow would be just more than $466. If you multiply this by the approximately 10,000 animals per month that are disposed of by Wisconsin’s dead stock and rendering industries, the figure is a staggering $4.66 million per month that units of government in Wisconsin alone must absorb.”
Money…it’s all about money. Despite Federal Law prohibiting ANY food to contain dead livestock and euthanized dogs and cats, despite Federal Law prohibiting ANY food to contain a diseased animal, an FDA policy allows any diseased animal and any dead animal to become pet food ingredients because it would be a tremendous expense to tax payers and industry. C’mon…they can put a man on the moon, but no one can figure out something better to do with diseased and euthanized animals than put them into dog food and cat food? Somebody isn’t thinking here. Hint: Biofuel.
All of the disgusting material that is rendered can and should be used to produce fuel instead of pet food. Biofuel production with waste material is happening all over the globe. But not here. Here, FDA policy prevents someone from being forced into coming up with a better plan than putting the garbage into pet food.
It’s a crime; seriously…it’s a Federal crime.
Pet Food ingredients that could come from the rendering examples above are: Animal Fat, Meat and Bone Meal, Meat Meal, and Animal Digest.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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