Cats’ carcasses crushed and cooked to feed cats

A spokesperson for a rendering plant in Baltimore, Valley Proteins, said that recycling dead pets is “a very small part of the business that we don’t like to advertise.”. They process these animals as a public service and not-for-profit. I don’t understand the not-for-profit element of that statement. The company spokesman insists that they do not sell “dead pet by-products” to pet food firms because people are sensitive about it.

However, in February 1990 the San Francisco Chronicle carried a story in which it stated that stray cats and other animals are rounded up by meat renderers and ground up into pet food.

The person who brought the information to the newspaper said that the paper buried the story and changed it by deleting many of the charges that he had documented. A report for ABC television’s 20-20 was also watered-down. The person concerned then took the information to Earth Island Journal and asked to remain anonymous. He went into hiding as a result of threats against him.

The anonymous person reported that on the floor of a rendering plant there is a large pile of “raw product”. This is thousands of dead dogs and cats and other animals. In 90° heat the bodies are crawling with maggots. Two guys in small bulldozers load the mass of bodies into a large stainless steel pit at the bottom of which is a grinder. The bodies are mashed up and the raw product is blended into a certain ratio between different types of carcass and raw material.

It is then cooked at 280° for one hour. A yellow grease forms at the top which is skimmed off. The cooked product is pressed to squeeze out the remaining moisture turning it into a powder. Shaker screens sift out bits of bone and hair.

What remains is a source of protein and other nutrients for various products including pet food. For me this means dead cats are feeding living cats. Dead pet dogs are feeding living dogs. If proof were needed here it is. I always knew it happened.

One difficult to accept aspect of this already gruesome process is that the dead animals contain pesticides and other chemicals. I’ll focus on domestic cats. Sometimes cats are shoved into the pit with flea collars still attached. That means organophosphate-containing insecticides get into the mix. Then there are also euthanasia drugs. Apparently these drugs are also in the mix which strongly implies that many of the dead animals are euthanized cats and dogs from, I’ll guess, shelters.

The story about what happens to euthanized cats in shelters always stops at the moment of euthanasia. We never read stories about what happens to the dead body after that point. Many are shipped to rendering plants to feed other cats it appears.

You may ask why, for example, flea collars are not cut off the dead body. It is too costly for plant personnel to do this. This is a bulk business. Every year in the US 12.5 million tonnes of dead animals, meat wastes and fat are disposed of at 286 rendering plants.

We are told that the testing for pesticides and other toxins in animal feed is ‘incomplete’. Clearly, not enough care is taken to remove these toxins from the process.

Sodium phenobarbital (a drug used in pet euthanasia) does not degrade during the rendering process. I have focused on pet food and cats. This sort of pollution of the food chain obviously affects other animals such as livestock and I presume humans.

People are becoming more conscious and aware of pollution of all kinds. It is perhaps time for us to reconsider whether we want to go on rendering stray and domestic cats into pet food.

P.S. The source of this story is the website of a business selling premix to people preparing their own raw pet food: Feline Instincts LLC. My thanks to Sandy for pointing the page out for me.

11 thoughts on “Cats’ carcasses crushed and cooked to feed cats”

  1. I covered this and looked into other sources when I wrote (Cat Food Uncovered)

    “Update 2008. Since the initial reports and public concern, the Food & Drug administration (FDA) in the USA analysed samples of pet food using very sensitive tests to look for cat and dog DNA. None was found. Although not against the law to use rendered pets and roadkill, the practice is increasingly uncommon and reputable pet food companies now stress that they do not use these sources.”

    The problem is that there needs to be some cost effective and environmentally sound way to dispose of or recycle such huge numbers of animal carcasses. Cremation/incineration is not cost-effective nor environmentally friendly (carbon dioxide pollution). When you consider that we are all part of a food chain (or rather, of a food web) then rendering for food is the most logical use. Leaving aside the issue of chemicals (most of which can be denatured by extreme heat during the rendering process) and tags or implants (which are either sieved out or retrieved by magnets), we are very squeamish about such things. I’m sure if people were given a detailed description of what happens to bodies in the extreme temperatures an incinerator or w=how the decomposition process works they would be equally grossed out.

    I’m not bothered by whether my proteins and atoms get broken down underground, in a furnace or in an animal’s gut. I have often joked that when I’m dead, Pedigree Petfoods would be welcome to recycle me into pet food. In the UK, the Pet Food Manufacturers Association only use animals that also go into the human food chain (and are certified fit for human consumption). The parts of an animal that were linked to CJD were removed from pet foods before being removed from pies.

    In my area, dead animals from local vets are sent to an incinerator run by a pig farmer, while those that die at shelters are often buried in the shelter grounds.

    • Sarah, Thanks for expressing a rational view towards the realities of using dead animals in pet food. Cats need to eat meat, and that meat will have to be dead before it’s processed into food. Some animals are raised just to be slaughtered, like cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, and so on. People who eat meat have no problem with this. The issue arises when these animals are given various drugs or other substances to increase weight for higher profits. This means that those who eat this meat may be adversely affected.

      This would be my main concern, and I think that a lot of health issues arising from pet food may be associated with these substances, and euthanasia drugs. Although the thought of our pet eating diseased animal tissue may be repulsive, we do know that street animals eat many things to survive. And many domestic dogs eat poop! Many people can’t afford to feed their pets food that’s fit for human consumption.

      Most of us can’t imagine our deceased pets being used in pet food, but we’re o.k. with them being incinerated, and having their ashes kept in a container on our shelf. Those who’ve had many pets, may have many jars of ashes.

      In reading articles from TruthAboutPetFood, I’ve come to completely distrust the FDA, USDA, and AFFCO in addition to other governing organizations that oversee pet food. If they were really doing their job, all those animals that died in 2007 wouldn’t have happened. I believe that profit will remain the bottom line, not the health and lives of our pets.

      Once my cat is dead, I will turn her body over to the vet, and it will be disposed of by rendering. I accept this because a carcas is no longer the living being that I cared and loved. I can’t imagine that shelters have the money to pay for pet burials. How many euthanized animals can be buried on the shelter grounds? The idea seems very impractical.

      I will donate any part of my body, if usable, to help others in need. If my heart may give life to someone, I see this as the greatest gift I could give.

      • Sarah, I just finished reading your very detailed, extensive report in MessyBeast, Cat Food Uncovered. I so appreciate your willingness to cite all of this valuable information.

        Maybe not everyone would wade through this immense body of knowledge that you’ve provided, but I did, and would encourage anyone who wants to know more about the hidden facts of pet food ingredients, to take the time to read your report.

        In my effort to keep my cat as healthy as possible, I give her organic commercial raw food (RAD CAT) made of venison, along with some lightly cooked chicken. I also put a small amount of D-Mannose powder in each meal to help prevent UTI.

        In the past, I always gave my cats Friskies canned and dry, because I was ignorant of the health risks. Fortunately my cats lived on 5 acres, and also ate various critters, such as mice, geckos and lizards, etc. They lived to be in their teens, but may have lived even longer with better quality food.

    • I just wrote this story. I think what is happening is that some shelters perhaps most shelters cremate euthanized cats but it seems certain that some don’t and they are shipped out for rendering. I don’t know for sure. I’m simply reporting on what I read but there is a bit of blackhole regarding information between euthanasia at shelters and either cremation or rendering. There needs to be a wider discussion about what happens to euthanised cats at shelters. That’s my opinion and other people may have a different opinion which I accept.

      • I agree with you, thanks for the informative article. I hope for the day when no shelters kill cats unless they are suffering beyond help.

      • I doubt if the truth about this will be revealed by most vets and shelters. They know that it will have a devastating effect on people.

        I think it’s a highly organized underground racket. Consider what people pay for euthanasia and the ashes of their pet. Those may not even be the real ashes of their pet, unless they’ve watched the entire process, which most people don’t do.

        I have very little trust in the pet industry in general, and no trust in regulatory agencies at all.

    • Gypsy, It’s a common thought that vets and shelters cremate the dead animals, but, based on nothing factual. And if you ask, I doubt if you’ll get a truthful answer, but you could try calling a few to see what they say. They may say that the animals are sent to an “outside facility” for disposal, but won’t indicate that it’s a rendering plant.

    • My understanding of the situation is that it does happen today. In fact, I am sure that it happens the day but I don’t know to what extent. Thanks for commenting Gypsy.


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