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Friday, July 30, 2010

Rendering Plants: Pet Food's Dirty lil Secret

Rendering. What is it?

According to Merriam Webster, the transitive verb means:
a : to melt down ; also : to extract by melting b : to treat so as to convert into industrial fats and oils or fertilizer.

Brief History:
The rendering process began centuries ago for the purpose of soap and candle making. This took place using a kettle over an open fire. As technology advanced, new methods were employed and different rendering expanded to other products. Namely beef.

Steam boilers replaced kettles and introduced steam into the process to produce better grade products. This also cut down the risk of fire using the older method. In the 19th century, steam "digesters" injected steam into the product being rendered, both edible and non edible. The fat was drained off, the remaining water entered another vat and solids were dry pressed  and steamed into product. Remaining water sent to sewer or evaporated or compressed into a glue protein which was added to fertilizer.

Enter beef. Rendering advanced Chicago meat processing through by employing the use of this economical byproduct run off in a solution that would have otherwise overloaded the environment. Big beef packing companies contracted out to rendering plants at first,  but then created in house processing to cut costs.

In the 20th century, wet steam rendering was replaced with dry processing resulting in less obnoxious odors and far more economical.
More than likely the word TALLOW rings a familiar bell. As pertains to rendering, from Wikipedia the following explanation is offered:

"Tallow, derived from beef waste, is an important raw material in the steel rolling industry providing the required lubrication when compressing steel sheets. The meat and the bones (which are in a dry, ground state) are converted to what is known as meat and bone meal. For many years meat and bone meal were fed to cattle. This practice is now prohibited in developed countries because it is believed to be the main route for the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad-cow disease, BSE), which is also fatal to human beings. Meat and bone meal from cattle is, however, fed to non-ruminant animals and meat and bone meal from non-ruminant animals is fed to cattle in the United States. This may not prove to be a solution to the problem due to the resistant nature of the infectious agent of BSE, a misfolded protein called prion, therefore, even if cattle is fed to non-ruminant animals and vice-versa, it will not prevent BSE from occurring. The underlying cause is that the prion survives within the system of the animal that has been fed with meat and bone meal from different animals including cattle. These animals are then eventually rendered and fed to cattle, which also results in the development of the disease."

So why am I blogging about this? Because if you own and feed an animal commercial dry dog food that is made by unsavory rendering plants, you should know the truth behind what is in this food source. Look at labels. Do you see these ingredients?
  • Poultry by-product meal
  • Meat by-product meal
  • Fish meal
  • Animal fat
These are from rendering plants. What are these ingredients comprised of? This is where is gets ugly. Rendering converts waste into animal feed. The kind of waste to which I refer may include:

  • Slaughterhouse waste (organs, heads, hooves, beaks, feet)
  • Bread and cereal rejects (cobs, stalks, mill sweepings)
  • Contaminated grain middlings
  • Dying, diseased and disabled farm animals
  • Road kill (deer, skunks, and raccoons)
  • Distiller fermentation waste
  • Spoiled supermarket food with packaging thrown in
  • Dead zoo animals
  • Restaurant grease
  • Euthanized cats and dogs (with flea colors still attached)
While unfit for human consumption, it is legal for making pet food.

The (past) President of the Association of American Feed Control Officials, the folks who, along with the Pet Food Institue, decide what goes into pet food is shown here in an interview. Listen to the very last KEY WORD he uses. It will sicken most people:

Wonder why pets develop health issues when fed lesser quality pet food? Look to pet food companies that utilize rendering facilities. In an article called "The Dirtiest Secrets of the Dog Food Ingredients Industry" the atrocities of our pets deaths can land them in rendering facilities for pet food consumption:

"Dead Dogs Are Included In Dog Food Ingredients
When dogs don't get adopted at dog shelters, they usually get euthanized. It is very expensive to bury these euthanized dogs so they often get picked up by rendering companies and used to make dog food and other animal feed. They get "rendered" by throwing them into huge vats along with other ingredients at very high temperatures and then chopped up and melted down into one big conglomerate rendered soup. So, dead dogs get "recycled" back into dog food. The term "recycled" is an industry term. When you feed your dog commercial dog food, you may very well be feeding dog to your dog, although "dog" or "canine" will never be listed specifically in the ingredients. At one point, the city of Los Angeles alone was sending 400,000 pounds of euthanized dogs and cats to rendering factories. The $2.4 billion dollar per year rendering business doesn't mention these figures anywhere on their websites that tout "recycling" and the multi-billion dollar pet food industry (more than $13 billion per year in the United States alone) keeps this a hush hush secret.
When treasured family pets get terminally ill and the family decides to euthanize them or when pet dogs die on the operating table, the bereft family often leaves the dead dog with the vet. However, most of these dogs do not get buried or honored in any special way. Just like the fate of the unwanted shelter dogs, euthanized pet dogs at the vet's office often get sent to rendering plants to be turned into dog food. That's right... beloved family pets get turned into dog food. Never leave your pet dog at the vet's office no matter what.
Believe it or not, it gets even worse. The barbiturate that is used to euthanize dogs (and other animals included in dog food such as zoo animals), sodium pentobarbital, does not fully break down in the rendering process. In other words, high temperature does not break down sodium pentobarbital. So, when you feed your dog, there is a very high likelihood it is laced with a residue of the chemical used to euthanize dogs!
If the dead dogs included in dog food had cancerous tumors or contagious diseases, it doesn't matter. They are still sent to the rendering factory. If the dead dogs had been treated with powerful antibiotics and other strong medications, these are included in the vat at the rendering plant. If the dog was wearing a chain around its neck, had surgical pins containing heavy metals inserted, had a flea collar on, it doesn't matter. Nothing is removed. It is all just dumped in with the rest, mechanically chopped up, heated to very high temperatures, and turned into dog food and other products like cosmetics. If the dog died of mad cow disease, the dog would still be picked up by the rendering plants because vets don't even call it mad cow disease. Instead, they euphemistically call it "Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)." The FDA is in complete denial on this subject...."

 If this information does not provide a need to take control of your pet's final disposition as well as feeding choices, take a look at this article "A Look Inside A Rendering Plant"

..."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"."

It is this kind of practice that has brought about holistic and human grade ingredient pet food that IS fit for your pet's consumption. Holistic refers to natural grade human grade ingredients that are fit for consumption. Fillers and by products not included.

Holistic pet food is very expensive which has led people to either make their own dog food or seek out RAW or BARF (Bones And Raw Foods) to replace the shameful rendering related pet foods on the market. You can find out more on BARF by visiting BARFWORLD

As always - keep in mind I am not a veterinarian or specialist on the topic. Consult your veterinarian regarding the proper way to feed your pet and ask more about their opinion o the BARF and homemade recipes for dogs. Some vets are not in favor of the BARF program while others believe in it wholeheartedly as does my vet.

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