Animal Rendering Products In More Places Than You Think
You'll Be Surprised To Learn What Goes Into Film, Glue & Crayons
By Renea Mohammed
The Vancouver Humane Society Newsletter
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 plants.
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 process.
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 Used:
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, pharmaceutical products
Linoleic acid: Used in paints and esters
Meat meal and bone meal: Used in livestock feed and pet food.