If ongoing name-brand pet food recalls are not motivating enough to switch your family pets to a species appropriate diet of raw meaty bones, Slate brings you the grisly truth about what's in process pet food. Fair warning: it's gross.
Under Food and Drug Administration regulations, only about 50 percent of a cow can be sold for human consumption. The hide, bones, digestive system and it contents, brain, feces, udders, and various other undesirable parts are all left over after a cow is slaughtered and butchered. The stuff that can’t even go into hotdogs gets consolidated and shipped to rendering plants. Slaughterhouses that handle pigs and chickens also send their leftovers to rendering plants. So do many other facilities that find themselves with large volumes of otherwise unusable dead animal parts, including animal shelters and veterinary clinics that euthanize a lot of animals.
A rendering plant has a huge grinder that is filled up with whatever comes in. Some rendering plants are pickier than others, and some process ingredients in different batches to comply with state or local laws. But on the whole, most tend to dump in whatever they receive and start the grinder when it is full: parts from slaughterhouses, whole carcasses of diseased animals, cats and dogs from shelters, zoo animals, road kill and expired meat from grocery store shelves (tossed in fully packaged, complete with plastic wrap and Styrofoam).Learning to feed your dog or cat the right diet of meat from healthy animals takes time, but it doesn't take long. The rewards in your animals' robust health (and your own peace of mind) are well worth the effort.