The Shocking Truth About Commercial Dog Food

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Warning. The following story is shocking but true. It’s taken with permission from an article published in 1990 by the Earth Island Journal.1

“The rendering plant floor is piled high with ‘raw product’. Thousands of dead dogs and cats; heads and hooves from cattle, sheep, pigs and horses; whole skunks; rats and raccoons — all waiting to be processed.

“In the ninety degree heat, the piles of dead animals seem to have a life of their own as millions of maggots swarm over the carcasses.

“Two bandanna-masked men begin operating Bobcat mini-dozers, loading the ‘raw’ into a ten-foot deep stainless steel pit. They are undocumented workers from Mexico doing a dirty job.

“A giant auger at the bottom of the pit begins to turn. Popping bones and squeezing flesh are sounds from a nightmare you will never forget.

“Rendering is the process of cooking raw animal material to remove the moisture and fat. The rendering plant works like a giant kitchen.

“The cooker, or ‘chef’, blends the raw product in order to maintain a certain ratio between the carcasses of pets, livestock, poultry waste and supermarket rejects.

“Once the mass is cut into small pieces, it is transported to another auger for fine shredding. It is then cooked at 280 degrees for one hour.

“The continuous batch cooking process goes on non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week as meat is melted away from bones in the hot “soup”.

“During this cooking process, the “soup” produces a fat of yellow grease or tallow that rises to the top and is skimmed off.

“The cooked meat and bone are sent to a hammer-mill press, which squeezes out the remaining moisture and pulverizes the product into a gritty powder.

“Shaker screens sift out excess hair and large bone chips. Once the batch is finished, all that is left is yellow grease, meat and bone meal.”

Welcome to the
Dark Side of Recycling

So, what on earth could this unsavory concoction be legitimately used for?

Certainly not to make anything edible — right?

Unfortunately, as hard as it is to believe, the final product of this grisly process is sold as a source of protein and fat for making animal feeds.

That’s right, food made to be fed to chickens, pigs, cattle — and dogs.

Every day, hundreds of rendering plants across America ship thousands of pounds of this recycled rubbish to ranches, farms, feed lots — and pet food manufacturers.

Each batch of rendered product must be labeled according to its dominant animal source. 

So, the ingredients most likely to be made in this same way tend to have vague names that fail to clearly identify the source animal.

For example:

  • Animal by-product meal
  • Meat by-product meal
  • Animal fat

All are products of similar rendering process.

Toxic Waste
and Euthanized Pets

However, this same system which converts waste into animal feed has also evolved into a recycling nightmare. That’s because many rendering plants are unavoidably processing toxic waste, too.

You see, dead animals are frequently accompanied by a host of unwanted contaminants. Pesticides enter the rendering process via tainted livestock.

Fish oil is commonly contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals.

Dead pets collected from shelters are frequently thrown into the grinder with their flea collars still attached. Insecticide-laced patches found on the skin of slaughtered cattle are also carelessly added to the mix.

Antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals follow livestock directly into the soup. And drugs given to euthanize animals have been regularly found in the rendered product.

Unwanted metal contaminants can be traced to a variety of sources including pet collars, ID tags, surgical pins and needles.

Even plastics can sometimes end up in the process.

Even Spoiled Grocery Meats

Every day, out-of-date supermarket meats as well as spoiled fish and poultry arrive by the truckload, right in their original Styrofoam trays and shrink wrap. 

There’s simply no time for the tedious task of unwrapping each individual package of the many thousands of rejected products.

Plastic cattle ID lags, pesticide patches and even the green waste disposal bags containing dead pets from veterinary clinics and shelters are tossed directly into the pit.

As difficult as it can be to imagine, literally all of it — plastic, paper, cardboard — goes right into the rendering machine.

As shocking as it is to believe, much of what goes into some dog food is simply what’s left over after the processing of human food — what’s commonly classified as “unfit for human consumption”.

Unfit for Humans
Yet Legal for Dog Food

Here’s a short list of some of the unsavory raw materials already mentioned — plus a few others. And although each of the following ingredients are appalling, each can be lawfully used to make dog food:

  • Slaughterhouse waste (organs, heads, hooves, beaks, feet)
  • Bread and cereal rejects (cobs, stalks, mill sweepings)
  • Dying, diseased and disabled farm animals
  • Road kill (deer, skunks, and raccoons)
  • Contaminated grain middlings
  • Distiller fermentation waste
  • Spoiled supermarket food
  • Euthanized cats and dogs
  • Restaurant grease
  • Dead zoo animals

The Bottom Line

By now, it’s probably become obvious the pet food industry can be nothing more than a sinister waste disposal vehicle for human food manufacturers — and a way to profit from its own garbage.

That’s why it’s so important for every pet owner to be able to spot these dubious ingredients — and to avoid buying the products that have been made using these questionable materials.

Look for brands made by conscientious manufacturers who take pride in producing quality products — those designed to enhance and extend the life of your dog.

You’ll almost certainly be buying a better dog food.

Footnotes

  1. Keith Woods, “The Dark Side of Recycling”, Earth Island Journal, Fall 1990
  • Deanna Alexander

    How do you make your food?

  • Terri Lee Batton

    I have one question LOL!!! Did they bring their dogs or not? hahahahaahahaha!!! This string is PRICELESS – THANKS FOR THE LAUGHS!

  • Terri Lee Batton

    I LOVE YOU LABS!!! hahahaha, I know this “conversation” happened a week ago but I am just catching up. On a tough Friday at lunch, this made me LOL… Thanks!! :)

  • Shawna

    I see this was posted a month ago but I don’t see that anyone replied? Sometimes Disqus doesn’t show all posts though so I apologize in advance if someone did and I just can’t see it. :)

    I agree, we have definitely bred dogs to look very much different but the digestive tract of the Chihuahua is no different than the digestive tract of the Husky, Malamute or German Shephard which all, in my opinion, still resemble the wolf. The digestive tract is not hugely different than the modern day wolf for that matter. The only difference I am aware of is, at least some, current day dogs are able to make more amylase digestive enzyme (which digests carbs). That said, I’ve read they can nowhere near produce the same amount that humans produce.

    If you think about it though, even humans are capable of digesting raw meats — I LOVE sushi. My hubby eats his prime rib so raw that it actually makes me a bit queasy (as does my sushi for him though). :) Never had it but steak tartare is considered a delicacy and is raw beef. Of course, all of these raw meats have to be handled carefully so as not to become contaminated with bacteria — that happens during processing.

  • Shawna

    Although I am, under the right circumstances, pro zero vaccines (my grandchildren are 100% vaccine free) I am also very much pro those vets that advocate limited vaccines and titers. It’s such a huge step in the right direction.

  • theBCnut

    The eating habits of the economically challenged is not a good way to decide on correct eating habits and I don’t think anyone suggested feeding red meat exclusively. Dogs in the Bible were considered unclean because they are carrion eaters. Please don’t tell me you think they can’t handle raw. They can handle raw and rotting, both. YUCK!!

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Bottom line is people rarely ate meat , dogs ate all kinds of other things bread , eggs , fish, dairy products etc , the point ,you do not need or even want to feed a dog” raw” red meat exclusively.

  • Bill Pickersgill

    I don’t understand how you can say Dodds is great, she vaccinates , look at her sites all the people whose dogs are ruined . And some Vets are sincere and have good intentions but that doesn’t mean they know what their doing , and the more I see” a lot” of Vets will do what they can to make money of pets.

  • LabsRawesome

    That scripture has absolutely nothing to do with an actual dog, or canine. Gentiles were referred to as dogs. The “bread” is the word of God. Think about it, the woman comes to Jesus begging for her possessed daughter to be healed. Why in the world would Jesus start talking about canines and bread? He would not, and he did not.

  • theBCnut

    Make up your mind! Are you going to interpret this figuratively or literally. You can’t have both ways. Why are you pointing this passage out as proof of how dogs should be fed and then contradicting yourself and saying it isn’t about dogs. I know what it’s about. I’m the one that keeps saying you are misinterpreting the Bible to say what you want it to say.

  • theBCnut

    Arsenic, the poison, will make a dog’s coat full, soft, and shiny, before it poisons the dog to death. Coat appearance is not a good indicator of health, but it does fool people who don’t know any better into thinking that their dog is in optimal health.

  • theBCnut

    Dogs being able to eat bread is NOT the same thing as dogs requiring bread.

  • theBCnut

    I have a real strong grasp of the meaning of this scripture, which you seem to fail to have. This scripture isn’t about what is proper to feed dogs in any way. Even if you look at the literal meaning instead of the figurative, it still is only saying that dogs may pick up what is dropped on the floor, not you should drop bread on the floor so dogs can eat a proper meal.

    People who interpret the scriptures to mean whatever they want them to for their own agenda need to consider the eternal ramifications of their actions.

  • theBCnut

    That’s not what Matt 15:24 says, unless you really favor completely out of context interpretations, in which case you might as well believe that it says Christ commands we not give bread to dogs, just as valid as your interpretation.

  • theBCnut

    I raise my own cattle, sheep, and goats. It doesn’t take me any longer to cook meat than anything else I cook. Butchering is a whole nother story.

    And they didn’t trim off the fatty portions before cooking in the Bible. Those were the best parts. They were often set aside for sacrifice to God when the priests could take their own food from the sacrificed animals. They would be preferred cuts when people were preparing their own meat. The fatted calf was only for the most special occasions, not every day meals. Since they didn’t have refrigeration, they only killed one of their own animals when they would be using the whole carcass. Birds and fish are smaller, so easier to use the whole thing.

  • Shawna

    Hi Bill,

    I think most vets have good intentions but I agree with you that more often then not the drugs and certain recommendations given are not for me. My dad is a Naturopath and I utilize alternatives at most every turn. I am lucky too that I have three great holistic vets here in my area.

    Along with the more natural, lower carb diet I’m using turmeric, bromelain, garlic, berries as well as frankincense and copaiba essential oils to prevent new cell growth and kill the existing cancer. She is, however, a foster dog so rescue ultimately has the final say in what happens.

    Dr. Dodds is wonderful. Some other vets that advocate for less or no vaccines, alternatives like herbs and a natural diet and can easily be found online are Dr. Karen Becker (Mercola Healthy Pets website), Dr. Barbara Royal, Dr. Will Falconer, Dr. Peter Dobias, Dr. Martin Goldstein, Dr. Stephen Blake and MANY more.

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Don’t take it to a Vet their horrible, they will only make it worse all they know how to do is give them drugs , run tests do surgery, just like hospitals Dr.s are terrible they also will make you worse than when you went in Mk 5 : 26[ NIV] bible . They are clueless about cause and effect , that it’s the chemicals in dog food that gave the dogs cancer .The overwhelming just want to make money not because they care so much for the animal , it’s all about money 1 Tim 6 : 10 [ NIV[ bible .
    Look at Dr. Jean Todds site a Vet , all the people who talk about how their dog is ruined by another money scheme vaccines .

  • Bill Pickersgill

    The bible is the secret or” Foundation of Nutrition” your right on, check out my blog the above title .

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Whatever you do don’t take it to a Vet , and fasting is great nothing but spring water like one day a week 24hrs .And look into” herbs” for whatever type cancer it has, herbs are very biblical.

  • Shawna

    My point was more that if the right amounts and types of fats are fed the coat can look great and no shedding despite underlying health conditions. Her coat looks amazing but she still has cancer.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Ummmm, didn’t you use the literal gospel in the earlier post about feeding dogs bread? So which one is it? Literal or figurative?

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Right, it’s simple, the Jews didn’t want the gospel so the gentiles will take it . It’s 1st figurative or he meant not to give dogs [gentiles] bread , it isn’t literal that dogs can’t or don’t eat bread it was the gentiles , that shouldn’t get the gospel [ bread]1st , not real dogs or canines.

  • Bill Pickersgill

    No , when Christ said it’s not right to give the dogs bread he meant gentiles , not real dogs it’s figurative, not literal .The Jews should get the gospel 1st , not the gentiles.

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Your righ,t the spiritual meaning is if the Jews don’t want or accept the gospel then it will be given or go to the gentiles “figuratively” speaking the” dogs” . But you can also glean a physical point or understanding from a lot of scripture just like this one , the gentile women said even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table , meaning the gentiles will accept or take the gospel , since the Jews don’t want it , and we learn as the women said to Christ by saying even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table that dogs ate grains or bread .

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Matt 15 : 24 Niv bible .

  • Bill Pickersgill

    The comment is about people and your right about the rich could eat meat a lot , but the mass or most people poor and they had dogs too, rarely ate red meat because it was a luxury , and it took so much effort to go out kill an animal skin it, cut it up , cut the fat off etc.Just like today, would you eat a lot of red meat if you had to go out side and kill it yourself and go through the process to prepare it ?.
    And your right about fish exactly, it was so easy to catch fish and cook it , compared to going thru the process to prepare the fattened calf and eat red meat . So most people were poor and didn’t eat much red meat so neither did the domesticated dogs they owned.

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Matt 15 : 24[ Niv] bible .It’s a lie dogs don’t need carbs go online study all the llnks , my dog lived on whole grains and whole milk and people said he was the healthiest dog they’d ever seen .

  • Bill Pickersgill

    It doesn’t make any sense to say the the appearance of the coat can be deceiving and then bring up that their coats looked better after you fed them real food so to speak.. Exactly, if a dog is getting enough saturated fat it’s coat will shine , in general you can tell the health of a dog by how much it sheds in the winter especially [ it shouldn’t] and how much the coat shines , very simple .
    The dogs you got were fed junkie dog food that’s why they were so sickly , right ?.

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Don’t understand what you mean.

  • http://dograp.com el doctor

    Hi Labs

    Thank you for the bible lesson!

  • Think about it

    Why do you think it is most truthful? Earth Island Journal no longer supports the article, and hasn’t for years. It is, after all, over 25 years old. They could have been making fertilizer.

  • LabsRawesome

    24 “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”
    This means I was sent only to the Jews.
    25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord help me!” She said.
    She is confessing that she believes that Jesus is the son of God.
    26 He replied ” It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
    “The children” are the Jews. “The bread” is the word of God. The

  • theBCnut

    Love it!! That sounded like something Oswald Chambers would have wrote.

  • LabsRawesome

    IKR like the Bible would tell us what to feed our dogs. Hahahaha

  • Crazy4dogs

    Must be a biblical nutritionist. 😉

  • LabsRawesome

    In this story a dog refers to a sinner or unworthy person, not an actual canine. The dark corners of the country, the most remote, shall share Christ’s
    influences; afterwards the ends of the earth shall see his salvation.
    The distress and trouble of her family brought a woman to Christ; and
    though it is need that drives us to Christ, yet we shall not therefore
    be driven from him. She did not limit Christ to any particular instance
    of mercy, but mercy, mercy, is what she begged for: she pleads not
    merit, but depends upon mercy. It is the duty of parents to pray for
    their children, and to be earnest in prayer for them, especially for
    their souls. Have you a son, a daughter, grievously vexed with a proud
    devil, an unclean devil, a malicious devil, led captive by him at his
    will? this is a case more deplorable than that of bodily possession, and
    you must bring them by faith and prayer to Christ, who alone is able to
    heal them. Many methods of Christ’s providence, especially of his
    grace, in dealing with his people, which are dark and perplexing, may be
    explained by this story, which teaches that there may be love in
    Christ’s heart while there are frowns in his face; and it encourages us,
    though he seems ready to slay us, yet to trust in him. Those whom
    Christ intends most to honour, he humbles to feel their own
    unworthiness. A proud, unhumbled heart would not have borne this; but
    she turned it into an argument to support her request. The state of this
    woman is an emblem of the state of a sinner, deeply conscious of the
    misery of his soul. The least of Christ is precious to a believer, even
    the very crumbs of the Bread of life. Of all graces, faith honours
    Christ most; therefore of all graces Christ honours faith most. He cured
    her daughter. He spake, and it was done. From hence let such as seek
    help from the Lord, and receive no gracious answer, learn to turn even
    their unworthiness and discouragements into pleas for mercy.

  • LabsRawesome

    Yep. Jesus said not to give dogs grain!! :-)

  • LabsRawesome

    I know, I was just curious as to what other dumb stuff he would post. Hahaha. :-)

  • theBCnut

    Arsenic will make the coat shine before it kills the dog.

  • theBCnut

    I took his comment to be about people not dogs, but either way he is wrong. Eating meat, or not, didn’t have to do with the time it took to cook, but rather expense and availability. The rich could have meat at every meal, the poor could not, just like in poor areas of the world now. Oh, and fish was a common poor man’s substitute for meat. Anyone could fish. People can make the Bible say whatever they want it to. Every citation that he did supply was so far out of context as to be laughable.

  • theBCnut

    HaHaHahaha!!!!! Appropriately out of context, just like the rest of his posts. However, if we all want to interpret the Bible this way, Jesus, himself, just said it isn’t right to give dogs bread, but he didn’t contradict the woman, so dogs mopping up the floor must be a blessed by God activity, never mind that dogs are unclean beasts in that context.

  • http://dograp.com el doctor

    Matthew 15:27New International Version (NIV)

    27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

  • Shawna

    I’m guessing my direct ancestors, who came much after biblical times, didn’t read the bible, that is not the diet they ate.

    The appearance of the coat can be deceiving when it comes to the health of the pet. If they have adequate fats in the diet the coat can be quite soft, supple and shiny. My current foster do is a prime example – She came to me with a dull and stiff coat (she is a Dachshund). She also has bad teeth (they were horrible when she first came, now just bad), cancer, a huge lipoma and kidney disease (suspected – blood work scheduled but not done yet). After being with me on a better quality food her coat is amazing.

    Mine, and the fosters, all get a high meat protein raw diet – I’ve been feeding that way for over 10 years. Below is a pic of some of my own raw fed crew. I mostly foster Boston Terriers and Papillons.

  • LabsRawesome

    Dogs have zero requirement for carbs.
    Please cite the chapter book and verse.

  • theBCnut

    I don’t recall reading any thing like that in the Bible. Where did you find it?

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Shawna it’s in the bible they rarely ate meat , too much effort to prepare go thru all that for a meal , they do need carbs their great, my dog lived on whole milk and whole grains and people said he was the healthiest dog they had ever seen .
    Cats no , they just need whole milk room temp and fish .
    Bottom line you tell the health of a pet by it’s coat does it shine it will if it’s getting the proper nutrients and they shouldn’t shed very much especially in the winter .

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Excellent Renate ,” most” Vets are terrible ,arrogant, only in it for how much money they can make , 1 Tim 6 : 10 [ Niv] bible . You take your dog to a vet and they will ruin it 97% of the time , just like the medical profession Mk 5 : 26 [Niv] bible . I guarantee it, they love money , all they know how to do is give it drugs and do surgery.
    If you feed a dog” real” food chemical free it will never get sick , or need vaccines either, which are nothing but a money making scheme.

  • Bill Pickersgill

    Jami , are you kidding? ask a Vet , they simple don’t understand why dogs have health problems when it 97% from junkie dog food , there was no dog food before roughly 1970 , dogs ate what the people ate , and they lived a lot longer healthier lives than now ,since the inception of dog and cat food .
    Cancer was unheard of in dogs before dog food , this is simple reasoning ., it’s full of cancer causing chemicals and by- products .

  • Shawna

    E-coli contamination comes from exposure to feces. ANY food handled by a worker that has not washed can become contaminated. Looking at the CDC reports over the years the human foods contaminated with e-coli include

    hamburger (and other meats)
    ready to eat salads
    organic spinach and spring mix blend
    prepackaged cookie dough
    Taco Bell
    etc
    http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/outbreaks.html

    From what I’ve read, cooking beef does not protect one from mad cow disease.
    “Does Cooking Food Kill the Prion That Causes Mad Cow Disease?

    Common methods to eliminate disease-causing organisms in food, like heat, do not affect prions. Also, prions only seem to live in nervous system tissue.” http://www.webmd.com/brain/mad-cow-disease-basics#2

  • Shawna

    I can’t guess at the diet of my ancestors of biblical times but my direct ancestors, the Cherokee Indian, ate a good deal of red meats and meat in general and not much in the form of grain (except corn). However, from pictures showing tri-color corn, I have to assume the corn they ate was quite different from the genetically modified corn of today.

    My grandparent’s (not so long ago) farm dogs did get scraps from the table but they also hunted. As far as my grandparents (or actually more likely my great grandparents) they did not consume grains like we do today. In order to make grains more nutritious they fermented, sprouted or long soaked their grains – practices we have unfortunately lost in modern day.

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