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The Shocking Stuff in Pet Food

What's in pet food? Other pets! Euthanised dogs and cats from veterinarians and animal shelters are routinely picked up and made into pet food, turning our pets into cannibals.

Ann N. Martin, author of "Food Pets Die For," writes in the latest Nexus Magazine that "4-D" (dead, diseased, dying and disabled) animals are cooked together with slaughterhouse waste, roadkill, garbage from restaurants and grocery stores, and even zoo animals in order to produce pet food. The pet food industry is self-regulated, meaning that no government agency controls what goes into pet foods. The list of acceptable pet food ingredients includes: hydrolyzed hair, dehydrated garbage and "undried processed animal waste products," meaning waste from any animal except humans. If the pet food label says it contains 24% protein, it must contain that much protein, but the source of that protein doesn't matter.

Reporter Van Smith wrote an article for the Baltimore City Paper stating that "thousands of dead dogs, cats, raccoons, possums, deer, foxes, snakes, and the rest that local animal shelters and roadkill patrols must dispose of each month" are rendered into pet food.

California operates more rendering plants for turning pets into pet food than another other state. Reporter Sandra Blakeslee wrote in the New York Times that, "Los Angeles sends 200 tons of euthanized cats and dogs to West Coast Rendering every month."

When Martin e-mailed 102 veterinarians in California and asked how they disposed of euthanised animals, 90% said they send the animals to rendering plants. A disposal company picks up 100 bodies a week from just one California branch of the Humane Society.

The grains included in dry pet foods aren't much better. These can include broken grains, hulls, chaff and joints, and can be contaminated with straw, dust, sand, dirt and weed seeds.

Most pets are euthanised using the drug sodium pentobarbital, but no one knows how much of this drug ends up in pet foods. A report from the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) says, "Over the years, the Center for Veterinary Medicine has received sporadic reports of tolerance to pentobarbital in dogs. In 1996, the CVM developed and validated a method to detect pentobarbital in dry dog food and a preliminary survey of 10 samples found low levels in 2 samples. CVM had collected 75 representative dry dog food samples and were in the process of analyzing these for pentobarbital levels." This means that when these dogs are themselves euthanised, the drug may not be effective.

Maybe we'd treat animals more humanely if we learned their language.

To read this shocking article in its entirety, click here.

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