- Human food is not the only "product" derived
from the bodies of factory farmed and other animals. Animals or their parts
not considered suitable for the dinner table are typically sent to rendering
- Rendering plants take in a wide variety of source materials
that include parts such as brains, eyeballs, spinal cords, intestines,
bones, feathers or hooves as well as restaurant grease, supermarket rejects
such as spoiled steak, road kill and in some areas euthanized cats and
dogs from veterinarians and animal shelters.
- Such source materials are processed at the rendering
plant into ingredients used in a number of products that many people do
not associate with animals. Such products include soap, toothpaste, mouthwash,
hair dyes, nail polish, photographic film, crayons, glue, solvents, shoe
polish, toys, anti-freeze, ornaments, pharmaceutical products and cosmetics
(including those not tested on animals).
- There have been some health concerns associated with
the rendering industry. Perhaps the best known of these is Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy or mad cow disease.
- Studies conducted in the U.K. found the disease had been
spread through cattle feed containing protein supplements derived at rendering
plants from other ruminants (including other cows). Another problem stemmed
from a dioxin and PCB contamination.
- In 1999, it was found that fat from a rendering company
in Belgium was contaminated with dioxins and PCBs and that the "product"
had been used in animal feed. Analysis of eggs and chickens in Belgium
showed such contamination and there was concern about exposed animals being
"recycled" into the animal feed supply.
- There has also been concern about sodium pentobarbital,
a drug used to euthanize some animals, showing up in pet food in part because
it can withstand the rendering process without degrading. Other concerns
have been linked to carbadox, foot and mouth disease, scrapie, chronic
wasting disease and the antibiotic sulfamethazine (SMZ) which contains
sulfa compounds that may actually be concentrated during the rendering
- As some of these concerns suggest, unwanted ingredients
often accompany the dead animal "raw materials" that end up in
rendering plants. These not only include drugs and antibiotics, but also
pesticides, heavy metals from cattle ID tags, surgical pins and needles,
and plastic used in the packaging of unsold supermarket meats.
- Some of us may protect the treatment of animals by the
animal industries by limiting our consumption of animal products. For those
of us who choose this path, it may be worthwhile to educate ourselves about
the products of the rendering industry. People for the Ethical Treatment
of Animals (PETA) can be contacted for a list of common animal by-products.
Their website is located at: http://www.peta.org.
- How Some Rendering Industry "Products" Are
- Non-edible tallow: Used in wax paper, crayons and soap
- Oleic acid: Used in foods, soaps, permanent wave solutions,
shampoos, hair dyes, lipsticks, liquid make-ups, nasal sprays
- Glycerine: Used in inks, glues, solvents, antifreeze,
cosmetics, foods, mouthwashes, toothpastes, soaps, ointments, plastics
- Stearic acid: Used in rubber, cosmetics, lubricants,
candles, hair spray, conditioners, deodorants, creams, food flavoring,
- Linoleic acid: Used in paints and esters
- Meat meal and bone meal: Used in livestock feed and pet