Backpedaling and Introducing you to the NRA (National Renderers Association)

I wrote a post referencing a RAW food supplier, and then I back pedaled and removed the reference.  Why? I'm going to be vague about the 'who' because the 'what' is not a confirmation, and I have no wish to cast aspersions another's way.

Nevertheless, my one true talent (and it is how I make my living in consulting) is reconciling the dissonant stuff in business.  I've learned long ago to trust my reactions to dissonant stuff, and then give my brain and analytical abilities a chance to both discover and correct the problem.  (I'm good at that too).

As I'm an intuitive person, I pay attention to what is on my mind in the morning.  In this particular instance I was wondering how 'pure ground beef' was being sold at less than 1/2 of what I could buy it for (but not chicken, turkey, etc).  I did a little extra nosing around, and found some conversations about this supplier that pointed to the fact that the  RAW food business being connected to the rendering business.

I have no real exposure to the rendering business other than tangentially.  At the CPA firm where I started my career (many years ago), there was a rendering client.  I was never assigned to them, and I remember being glad for that! 

I'm straying off my point.  My point is that I came to believe, reasonably, that the provider of the '100%, locally sourced, beef' was in fact providing fresh, rendered product that otherwise would be unfit for human consumption.  I don't know that it is a bad thing, but there is a bit of obliqueness in how the product is described. Rendering is not so much different than my Weston#22.  Into the hopper all things must go and then it is all ground together to get its 'start' in the process. I merely start with food fit for human consumption.

I am still in the process of processing this information and more importantly, processing my reaction to it.  On an emotional level, I am adverse to using this 'locally sourced beef' as the source may be the on-site renderer which sources cattle from nearby operations who rely on renderers to take unusable product of their hands.  However, on an objective level, if it were safe, and I don't know how to fully evaluate that answer other than I see no negative reactions to the product by any on the internet, then such a product is useful to my pet and to the environment. As it currently stands, I'm not ready to commit to this product.

While not ready to conclude on my feelings about any of this, it did get my fingers to do the internet walking.  I found some interesting stuff.  First, there is a lesser-known, NRA, The National Renderers Association.  You can visit them here.  There's lots of interesting statistics and resources.  One such resources is an on-line pdf book called Essential Rendering.

One-third to one-half of each animal produced for meat, milk, eggs, and fiber is not consumed by humans.  These raw materials are subjected to rendering processes resulting in many useful products.   Meat and bone meal, meat meal, poultry meal, hydrolyzed feather meal, blood meal, fish meal, and animal fats are the primary products resulting from the rendering process.  The most important and valuable  use  for  these  animal  by-products  is  as  feed  ingredients  for  livestock, poultry, aquaculture, and companion animals.
If you are interested in learning about about the pet food industry and rendered products, you can find a very informative paper here.

A popular aphorism is 'waste not want not'.  Rendering surely provides a solution for following that prudent advice. Anything not used fully and completely is a shameful act.  However, things used inappropriately are shameful too.  I believe that rendering is a useful means of re-purposing animal parts for other purposes.  But heretofore I was blissfully unaware that rendering is the destination for euthanized animals of all sorts, to include shelter animals as well as single source animals such as beef and poultry, etc. Further, I have seen allegations of all manner of stuff thrown into the hopper and then passed off as consumable.  I have not, nor do I plan to, research this further. However, if you are bold and with stout stomach you can venture out.  The Last Chance for Animals website has some summary statistics.  There is a video there, but I have not/will not watch it.I get the point without having my face rubbed in it.

There, is though, a "DOH!" factor in my self-professed ignorance:  "Just where did you think that it went?" is the correct retort.  I'm not going to express any indignation about any of this--to do so would be a little hypocritical.  We humans are enterprising, and rendering is a logical and even beneficial means of transforming waste into something useful.  (Soylent Green was too).  And any time we choose the better animals and/or the better parts of animals, we are still contributing to all of the excesses along the food change from inhumane raising, feeding and handling of protein sources for our or our pet's consumption to the waste products that are the fuel of the  rendering hopper feeder--and then go back in as a source.

So long as we and our pets are eating animal-based proteins--we "feed" the cycle.

I am culpable.



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