Title: It Ain't Just
for Meat; It's for Lotion
By - J.Peder Zane
New York Times - article
May 12, 1996
To the lay person they are cows
(and that is how they are referred to in the accompanying article) but to
the beef industry they are steers, or castrated males, and heifers, or
young females (Only females that have given birth are referred to as
The average animal at slaughter
weighs 1,150 pounds. It weighs 714 pounds once the head, hooves, hide, and
intestines are removed. The remaining carcass yields about 568 pounds of
beef and 49 pounds of organs and gland, some of which
- like the liver
- make their way to the dinner table.
The rest (97 pounds) is mostly fat and bone, and turns up in everything
from floor wax to pet food.
According to the Agriculture
Department, ranchers were getting about $632 per head (cattle) last week,
while meat packers, who butcher the animals, were getting about $644 for
the meat and $101 for the byproducts.
Some of the most valuable body parts,
along with their common uses and recent wholesale price list is attached
at the end of article.
Chopping sheep brains� That's what
made the British cows mad, and could have killed the English men who ate
them, scientists believe.
While American farmers and ranchers
assure the public that no sheep passes their Elsles' lips, some folks
might be surprised at what American livestock, swine and poultry are
fatted upon. Besides corn, soy or other grains, their diets is often
include heaping helpings of dried blood, pulverized feathers, crushed
bone, leftover french fry grease from fast-food joints and meat meal -
which may include mashed pancreas, kidney and heart, and those parts that
even packers, wouldn't dare shove into luncheon meats or head cheese.
Cannibalism down on the farm? You
betcha�... Baby chick is growing strong and healthy on what�s left from
mom after she's been shipped off as atomic wings, drumsticks and boned
"We use everything but the
squeal, the cluck and the moo," says Dr. Raymond L.
Burns, coordinator of the alternative uses program for the Kansas
Department of Agriculture in Topeka.
Welcome to the world of offal,
rendering and carcasses, an industry that gives a new meaning to the
phrase "You are what you eat."
It asks: Once you have carved away
the T-bone steaks and London broils, the pork chops and sides of Canadian
bacon, the leg and the rack of lamb, what to do with the rest? With the
hearts, kidneys and pituitary glands? The horns, hoofs, toenails,
skulls and intestines? How about the "paunch material" - undigested
Answer: More than you can imagine.
The abattoir's detritus is used in a dizzying array of products, including
life-saving medicines, life-enhancing beauty aids, soaps, candy, clothing,
upholstery, shoes and sporting goods. Not to mention crayons, floor waxes,
antifreeze, matches, cellophane, linoleum, cement, photographic paper and
For while the renewed outbreak of mad
cow disease in Britain led to no small panic as humanity imagined a world
without Big Macs or Quarter Pounders, the fact is, the doomsday scenario
is much worse. "Take away cows or pigs and you change life as we know it,"
half-Kids Dr. Jerry Breiter, vice president of allied products for the
American Meat Institute, a trade association.
Although mad cow disease is not a
threat to the United States cattle industry, there are other concerns.
Persistent problems are E. coli bacteria - which killed three children in
1993 who ate undercooked hamburgers at Jack In The Box restaurants - and
salmonella contamination afflict many thousands of Americans a year.
While the meat industry downplays the
threat, it has taken steps to clean up its act. Most large meat plants now
spray steam on carcasses to kill bacteria. They routinely check meat for
microbes and have established hazard checkpoints. In addition, consumers
can safeguard themselves by thoroughly cooking all meat.
Still, there are ever-present ethical
questions, even for those who do not think meat is murder. The
industry's cold-eyed view of animals as products to be optimally exploited
is no doubt disquieting to many people. It's worth keeping in
mind, however, that no animals are slaughtered just to make floor wax or
lipstick - 80 to 90 percent of a cow or pig's value is in the meat people
eat. And, as cattle prices have slid to their lowest levels in a decade,
prompting President Clinton to try to shore up beef prices last week, meat
packers are all the more concerned with squeezing out every penny.