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THE DARK SIDE OF RECYCLING
CHEMICALS IN PET FOOD
IS THERE CAT AND DOG IN PET FOOD?
A LOOK INSIDE A RENDERING PLANT
Dead Cats And Dogs Used To Make Pet Food 4-26-06
We see pictures of whole grains, prime cuts of meat and human grade vegetables on the bag, and we assume there's some chef in a pet food kitchen cooking up the best for our loved ones. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Most of what makes up dog and cat food comes from the rendering plant.
To render, as defined in Webster's Dictionary, is "to process as for industrial use: to render livestock carcasses and to extract oil from fat, blubber, etc., by melting. "When chickens, lambs, cattle, swine, and other animals are slaughtered for food, usually only the lean muscle is cut off for human consumption. This leaves about 50 percent of a carcass left over. These leftovers are what become what we so commonly find on pet food labels, such as "meat-and-bone-meal" or "by-products.
"So basically, what pets eat are lungs, ligaments, bones, blood and intestines. Some other things that go into rendering to make your Cat and Dog Food are:
* Euthanized companion animals Cats and Dogs
* Spoiled meat from the supermarket, Styrofoam wrapping and all
* Road kill that can't be buried on the roadside
* The "4 D's" of cattle: dead, dying, disease and disabled
* Rancid restaurant grease
When dead animals from cow pastures are picked up, they may not be rendered until up to a week after they are dead. Because of this, it is estimated that E. coli bacteria contaminate more than 50 percent of meat meals. The rendering process destroys the bacteria, but it does not eliminate the endotoxins bacteria release when they die. ---
These endotoxin, which can cause sickness and disease, are not tested for by pet food manufacturers.When all this comes to the rendering plant, it's put in a huge vat and shredded. Then it's cooked at 220 to 270 degrees for 20 to 60 minutes. After it cools, the grease is skimmed off the top. ---
This is "animal fat." The rest is pressed and dried. This is "meat and bone meal." Dogs wouldn't eat this stuff in the wild, so why will they eat it out of their bowls? Their noses are tricked by the smell of it. The smell of animal fats for dogs and fish oil for cats is sprayed on the dry, bland kibble bits to make them appetizing. --These flavors usually come from rendered restaurant grease, animal fat, or other oils unfit for human consumption. Huge conglomerates use pet food companies as a cheap, and even profitable, way of disposing of the waste from their human food companies. Three of the five major pet food companies are owned by these huge corporations.
Who owns what? Corporation & Pet Foods:
Nestle: Alpo, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Mighty Dog, Purina One
Heinz: 9 Lives, Amore, Gravy Train, Kibbles-n-Bits, Nature's Recipe
Colgate-Palmolive: Hill's Science Diet
Proctor & Gamble: Eukanuba and Iams
Mars: Kal Kan, Mealtime, Pedigree, Sheba, Waltham's
VETERINARIANS AND PET FOOD
So, why don't vets warn people? The question should be, what makes veterinarians think they can recommend food. In Food Pets Die For, Ann Martin says, Our family physician doesnt display weight loss products in the reception room So why is this going on in our veterinary clinics that do not specialize in nutrition. She says she considers it unethical for vets to sell pet food unless they are trained in pet nutrition. The reason your vet thinks so highly of the pet food they sell probably has more to do with money than nutrition. In vet school, the only classes offered on nutrition usually last a few weeks, and are taught by representatives from the pet food companies. ---Vet students may also receive free food for their own dogs and cats at home. They could get an I ams notebook, a Purina purse and some free pizza. The companies also hire students to be representatives for the company and to promote their products to other students. This issue was even placed on the agenda for an Executive Committee meeting at the vet school at Colorado State University. According to the minutes discussion was held on how to handle dealing with pet food companies and their donations of pet food to the university. It was agreed to put together a task force to discuss this issue, investigate the possibilities, and make suggestions to the Executive Council on how to work with the numerous pet food companies that want to donate to CSU. There was no further mention of this topic in meetings since. --In May 2000, Purina made the announcement that in an effort to help university, veterinary hospitals provide optimal nutrition recommendations for dogs and cats, Ralston Purina is funding three new veterinary diet technician positions. They donated $100,000 to support these positions for the first year. How would you feel about a company that paid your salary?
CHEMICALS IN PET FOOD
Because the ingredients in pet food aren't exactly as pure as consumers are made to believe, not only is the food unhealthy, it may also be poisonous. When the "food" comes out of the rendering plant, there's no way it would be bought by a consumer or eaten by a dog. To make it more pleasing to the eyes of owners and the mouths of animals, the producers of pet food add a myriad of chemicals. To keep the food fresh, the first thing added is a preservative. The bags of food must stay fresh through shipping and on the shelf. There are several synthetic preservatives out there:
* Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
* Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
* Propylene glycol (also used as automotive antifreeze)
Their is little known about the effect these chemicals may have on an animal. Some experts and veterinarians claim ethoxyquin is the best and
safest preservative on the market, others claim it is a potential carcinogen, causing skin problems and infertility in dogs.Some other things that may be added to your dog or cat food are:
* Coloring agents
* Drying agents
* Flavoring agents
* Nutritive Sweeteners
IS THERE CAT AND DOG IN PET FOOD?
Reporter John Eckhouse was one of the first people to discover the practice of sending euthanized pets to the rendering plants. He quoted an employee of Sacramento Rendering as saying, "Thousands and thousands of pounds of dogs and cats are picked up and brought here every day." When a vet tells a grieving owner that they'll "take care" of their dead loved one, they usually mean sending it off with the disposal company for rendering. This is all perfectly legal. Many veterinarians and especially shelters don't have the money to bury or cremate animals. Although many in the pet food industry deny that they use euthanized animals, proof that the practice goes on continues to surface. ---Also - Do you know what is in 'meat meal' - the major constituent of dry dog and cat food? Urine, fecal matter, hair, pus, meat (from animals, afflicted) with cancer and T.B., etc." --
A LOOK INSIDE A RENDERING PLANT
by Gar Smith
Copyright June, 2000 - 2011
Rendering has been called "the silent industry". Each year in the US, 286 rendering plants quietly dispose of more than 12.5 million tons of dead animals, fat and meat wastes. As the public relations watchdog newsletter PR Watch observes, renderers "are thankful that most people remain blissfully unaware of their existence".---When City Paper reporter Van Smith visited Baltimore's Valley Proteins rendering plant last summer, he found that the "hoggers" (the large vats used to grind and filter animal tissues prior to deep-fat-frying) held an eclectic mix of body parts ranging from "dead dogs, cats, raccoons, possums, deer, foxes [and] snakes" to a "baby circus elephant" and the remains of Bozeman, a Police Department quarterhorse that "died in the line of duty".---In an average month, Baltimore's pound hands over 1,824 dead animals to Valley Proteins. Last year, the plant transformed 150 millions pounds of decaying flesh and kitchen grease into 80 million pounds of commercial meat and bone meal, tallow and yellow grease. Thirty years ago, most of the renderer's wastes came from small markets and slaughterhouses. Today, thanks to the proliferation of fast-food restaurants, nearly half the raw material is kitchen grease and frying oil.---Recycling dead pets and wildlife into animal food is "a very small part of the business that we don't like to advertise," Valley Proteins' President, J. J. Smith, told City Paper. The plant processes these animals as a "public service, not for profit," Smith said, since "there is not a lot of protein and fat [on pets]..., just a lot of hair you have to deal with somehow."---According to City Paper, Valley Proteins "sells inedible animal parts and rendered material to Alpo, Heinz and Ralston-Purina". Valley Proteins insists that it does not sell "dead pet by-products" to pet food firms since "they are all very sensitive to the recycled pet potential". Valley Proteins maintains two production lines & emdash; one for clean meat and bones and a second line for dead pets and wildlife. However, Van Smith reported, "the protein material is a mix from both production lines. Thus the meat and bone meal made at the plant includes materials from pets and wildlife, and about five per cent of that product goes to dry-pet-food manufacturers..."---A 1991 USDA report states that "approximately 7.9 billion pounds of meat and bone meal, blood meal and feather meal [were] produced in 1983". Of that amount, 34 per cent was used in pet food, 34 per cent in poultry feed, 20 per cent in pig food and 10 per cent in beef and dairy cattle feed.---Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) carried in pig- and chicken-laden foods may eventually eclipse the threat of "mad cow disease". The risk of household pet exposure to TSE from contaminated pet food is more than three times greater than the risk for hamburger-eating humans.
(Gar Smith is Editor of Earth Island Journal.)
THE DARK SIDE OF RECYCLING
[Author's name withheld]
[In February 1990, the San Francisco Chronicle carried a macabre two-part story detailing how stray dogs, cats and pound animals are routinely rounded up by meat renderers and ground up into& emdash; of all things & emdash; pet food. According to the researcher who brought the information to the Chronicle, the paper buried the story and deleted many of the charges he had documented. A report he worked on for ABC television's 20-20 was similarly watered down. In exasperation, he sent the story to Earth Island Journal. NEXUS has been asked to withhold the name of the author/researcher, who has been forced to flee San Francisco with his wife and go into hiding as a result of the threats made against his well-being. Ed.]-- 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 & emdash; 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 bandana-masked men begin operating Bobcat mini-dozers, loading the "raw" into a 10-foot- deep stainless-steel pit. They are undocumented 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.--Rendering is the process of cooking raw animal material to remove the moisture and fat. The rendering plant works like a giant kitchen. The cooker, or "chef", blends the raw product in order to maintain a certain ratio between the carcasses of pets, livestock, poultry waste and supermarket rejects.---Once the mass is cut into small pieces, it is transported to another auger for fine shredding. It is then cooked at 280 degrees for one hour. The continuous batch cooking process goes on non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week as meat is melted away from bones in the hot 'soup'. During this cooking process, the 'soup' produces a fat of yellow grease or tallow that rises to the top and is skimmed off. The cooked meat and bone are sent to a hammermill press, which squeezes out the remaining moisture and pulverises the product into a gritty powder. Shaker screens sift out excess hair and large bone chips. Once the batch is finished, all that is left is yellow grease, meat and bone meal.
A Meaty Menu
As the American Journal of Veterinary Research explains, this recycled meat and bone meal is used as "a source of protein and other nutrients in the diets of poultry and swine and in pet foods, with lesser amounts used in the feed of cattle and sheep. Animal fat is also used in animal feeds as an energy source." Every day, hundreds of rendering plants across the United States truck millions of tons of this "food enhancer" to poultry ranches, cattle feed-lots, dairy and hog farms, fish-feed plants and pet-food manufacturers where it is mixed with other ingredients to feed the billions of animals that meat-eating humans, in turn, will eat.---Rendering plants have different specialities. The labelling designation of a particular "run" of product is defined by the predominance of a specific animal. Some product-label names are: meat meal, meat by-products, poultry meal, poultry by-products, fish meal, fish oil, yellow grease, tallow, beef fat and chicken fat.---Rendering plants perform one of the most valuable functions on Earth: they recycle used animals. Without rendering, our cities would run the risk of becoming filled with diseased and rotting carcasses. Fatal viruses and bacteria would spread uncontrolled through the population.
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