If you are squeamish this article may be uncomfortable. This was a difficult article to write, because of the close relationship we have to our pets. My purpose is to inform and educate “Pet Parents” as to what can be done to extend the life and improve the health of their beloved friends.
I was brought up on a livestock and grain farm where there was never a problem feeding the pets as well as the other animals. With the declining farm population and people now living in cities and small towns, less and less people have access to the feeds that are so prevalent on farms. Consequently we purchase processed and prepared foods at supermarkets and pet stores and the like.
What we do not know is where the foods are prepared and more importantly from where the raw feedstuffs come. The following paragraphs expose facts generally unknown to the public. Hopefully you will read to the end of this article to find out what you can do to improve your pets nutrition and health.
Most of us have heard of a rendering plant, but don’t have much information as to what they do or how they do it! Rendering plants dispose of over 12 million tons of dead animals, fat and meat wastes. These dead animal processors gather dead, diseased, dying or disabled (known as 4-D animals). The processing consists of grinding carcases into small pieces and “cooking” them just long enough to facilitate separating of the “meat” and offal from the bones, hides, etc.
An important point: Most pharmaceuticals and chemicals are not broken down in the short heated processing period!
What is not well known is the animals may have had charcoal or preservatives to slow the decay prior to processing. Another distressing fact is the animals may have been sick and previously treated with pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. Larger road kill animals may also be included in the mix. The most upsetting fact is: Euthanized pets from pounds are many times included.
With those words, I am going to add that the plastic bags used by pounds, veterinarians and labs are not removed, because of time and labor costs. Collars, ID tags, flea collars and the like also are not removed. The hair and feathers are processed with everything else.
This is what constitutes animal protein used in pet foods. Vegetable proteins are ground corn, wheat middlings and sweepings, soybean meal, rice hulls, peanut meal and shells and many other products.
Other ingredients can be cooking oils from fast food restaurants, tallow and other vegetable and animal sources.
The American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) has oversight, but they are understaffed and very little pressure is available to require monitoring.
There is help: A very limited number of companies avail themselves of the use of proper feedstuffs to produce a healthful, nutritional pet food. This requires third party verification of products used to process a nutritious pet food. The cost, of course, is greater, but to help extend your pets natural life it is a choice that many owners are now making with satisfaction.