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Are You Poisoning Your Dog? Part 1

Are You Poisoning Your Dog?

It’s a good thing rendering facilities exist since without them our cities would run the risk of being filled with diseased and rotting carcasses. After the second world war rendering of slaughter waste became a separate specialty and the rendering plants were no longer subject to most of the federal inspection regulations associated with meat processing. This left the industry self regulated and out of the “public eye.”

First let’s look at the “raw material” as it is received at the plant. The slaughterhouse for animal carcasses, require that the meat be “denatured” before being sent to the rendering plant to meet government regulations. Meaning that first it must be contaminated in some way that would make it unusable for human consumption. Materials used to accomplish this task are: carbolic acid, creosote, fuel oil, kerosene, citronella, etc. Once soaked into the meat, it’s then fit to be sent on to the rendering plant.

Another source of raw material is the dogs and cats received in nice little green plastic bags from the veterinary community, but also raccoons, possums, deer, foxes, snakes, etc. Don’t forget the grocery industry, that needs to get rid of the spoiled meat cuts that are no longer salable and the fat, bones, etc. that we would consider garbage.

Most of us are aware that the primary source of “meat” in all pet foods, is from diseased, dead, or deformed animals. Anything not “fit” for human consumption is considered O.K. for “pet” consumption.

For example the National Animal Control Association has estimated that animal shelters kill over 13 million household pets a year. Of this total, 30% are buried, 30% are cremated and the remaining 40%, about 5 million pets, are shipped to rendering factories to be recycled and used in pet food. What about the injections of sodium pentobarbital used to put pets to sleep or the cancerous tumors and other organs of diseased animals? No problem, says the FDA, such residue would be too small to cause a problem.

Why then did the University of Nebraska researchers confirm the death of an 11-month-old girl from an adverse reaction to penicillin contained in dry cat food she had eaten? The Nebraska investigators noted in “The American Journal of Cardiology” that the penicillin level in the cat food was 600 times higher than USDA limit for human food.

Back at the plant we find the floor piled high with “raw product” consisting of a mixture of whole bodies and animal parts, plastic bags, styrofoam packages, metal tags, pet collars–anything and everything that is considered to be “waste”–but suitable for recycling.

“Rendering” is the process of cooking raw animal material to remove the moisture and fat. So let’s see how this is done:

First we see masked men (because of the stench of rotting carcasses) operating mini-bulldozers, loading the “raw” material into a 10 foot deep stainless steel pit. At the bottom of the pit, a giant auger-grinder begins to turn. This converts the mass material into smaller, more manageable chunks. From there it is transported to another auger for fine shredding.

Now you have to realize that this is a business and like any other business, they have to cut costs wherever possible. Consequently they do not bother to take the time to remove the flea collars from pets, the pesticide ear tags from cattle, the plastic bags, styrofoam packaging, etc. Just push it in with the bulldozer and let’s get grinding.

This mass of goop is then cooked at 280 degrees for one hour. During the cooking process the goop produces a layer of yellow grease or tallow that rises to the top and is skimmed off. The cooked meat and bone (along with whatever metal, pesticides, etc.) are sent to a hammermill press, which squeezes out the remaining moisture and pulverizes the product into a gritty powder. Once the batch is finished, all that is left is yellow grease, “meat” and bone meal. This continuous batch cooking process goes on non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, grinding out ton after ton of salable product.

Depending on the dominant ingredient of a particular run, the product now becomes: beef, chicken, lamb, meat meal, meat by-products, poultry meal, fish meal, fish oil, yellow grease, tallow, beef fat, chicken fat, etc.

Never is it labeled, dog meal, cat meal, skunk meal rat meal, or any of the “other” goodies that get mixed in with the everyday batches of “raw material.”

Although this processing effectively kills off any beneficial enzymes, it does not get rid of the sodium phenobarbital in the carcasses of euthanised animals. The potential of other chemical contaminants to be degraded by the rendering process is also highly questionable. Perhaps instead of calling them rendering plants it would be more appropriate to call them “toxic waste” recycling plants. The primary source of meat and fat in commercial pet food is from this endless process of rendering. The scary part is that millions of tons of this “food enhancer” is also trucked to poultry ranches, cattle feed lots, dairy and hog farms, fish feed plants, etc. where it is mixed with other ingredients to feed animals and fish that humans will eat. By the time the pet food boys get through adding their own “enhancers” (i.e. preservatives, food dye, synthetic vitamins,) who really knows what’s in the bag?

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