Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dog food: Your dog is likely eating dogs, cats, roadkill, drugs and plastic

Dog food: Your dog is likely eating dogs, cats, roadkill, drugs and plastic, If you’re worried about pet food recalls over salmonella risks, you might have something else to worry about now when it comes to what your dog is eating. The lack of regulations in the pet food industry make it likely that your dog is eating the kind of rendered and diseased animal parts, including other dogs, that just might make you feel ill, says a new report in Slate on April 19.

Dog food gets its start in rendering plants. And rendering plants take in almost any kind of animal part, mix it up, relable it and sell it as tasty dog food, Slate says.

While the dog food package might include ingredients that sound healthy, like chickens and vegetables, the reality is apparently much more gruesome.

That material — because it often can’t even be called food — that ends up in dog food can include all the parts of a cow left behind after butchering that can’t be sold for humans, including brain, udders and other undesirable parts.

Chicken and pig remains are also mixed in. So are zoo animals.

Grocery stores send expired meat to rendering plants, without removing the plastic packaging.

In addition, federal law allows veterinary clinics and animal shelters to send their dead cats and dogs to rendering facilities, Slate says.

Roadkill is also taken to rendering plants.

On top of that, many of the domestic animals that wind up at rendering plants are loaded with drugs, such as antibiotics, steroids and even sodium pentobarbital, which is used to euthanize animal shelter animals. The drugs often aren’t fully neutralized during the rendering process.

In general, the animal remains that are sent to rendering plants are put into a huge grinder. The material is pulverized and then transferred to a vat where it is heated to high temperatures. Most viruses and bacteria are typically killed off.

The heating causes fat and grease to float to the top. The fat is skimmed off, packaged and renamed. Most of this mixture is called “meat and bone meal,” Slate reported.

This meat and bone meal can then be used in livestock feed, pet food or fertilizer.

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