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Book of Compassion
 

The Book of Compassion

 

Table of Contents

 

A Few Words

 

Universal Declaration of the Rights of Animals

 

My Visit to A Dairy Farm

  Dairy Cows - Life, Usage, and Sufferings (New York Times)
  Cows� Body Parts � Common Usage � Sale Price
  Recycling of Slaughterhouses Waste (Rendering Plants)
  Milk � Its Impact on Health, Cruelty, and Pollution
  Is Nothing Sacred? - Cruelty towards India�s Holy Animals
  Varakh (Silver Foil)
  Facts about Eggs
  Story of Silk
  Story of Pearls
  The Myth About Milk
 

Puppy Mills: Breeding Ills

  Alternatives to Animal Abuse
 

What Our Readers say about

 

Vegetarian Definition

 

Recommended Reading Material

  List of Organizations of Animal care and Nonviolent Activities
 

Excerpts - How our Diet affects the Environment

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Dairy Cows - Life, Usage, and Sufferings (New York Times)


 

 

"Selling the byproducts means the difference between profit and loss for the industry, and affordable and unaffordable meat for the consumer," says Dr. Breiter.

Dr. Bums adds: "If we didn't develop markets for the byproducts, we would have to dispose of them, which would create a different set of problems."

Still, visiting a modern meat-packing operation can inspire awe as well as a new appreciation for vegetarianism - just as more people would probably cook at home if they could peer into the kitchen of their favorite bistro.

American Slaughterhouse Statistics:

On an average day in America following animals and birds are killed:

Animals/Birds

Number Killed per day in USA

Cattle

130,000

Calves

7,000

Hogs

360,000

Chickens

24,000,000

Slaughterhouse Process:

Modern slaughterhouses are part assembly line, part chop shop. An efficient plant processes 250 cows an hour, 16 hours a day, breaking them into dozens of parts as the carcass flow down the line on steel hooks.

First, the cows are led up a ramp. Their heads are placed in a holder and they are zapped unconscious. A worker, called the "sticker," plunges a sharp blade into the animal's jugular vein. As the cow dies, the spurting blood is collected in a trough; later it is baked to a dark red powder that is protein-rich animal feed.

Next the hooves are removed and the hide is stripped for sale as leather and suede (if the cow is pregnant, the unborn calf's hide is stripped to make the top grade of leather, called slunk). Then the head is sliced off, the chest split open and the internal organs removed.

The organs - called offal - are sent to the offal room and placed on something akin to a conveyor belt, where workers in splattered smocks segregate the parts: one group collects stomach linings, another lungs. Other workers remove hearts, pancreases or thyroids. Most of the bones and hooves are rendered - that is, baked to make bone meal, a fertilizer and high-protein animal feed; the rest are sold, primarily to manufacturers of collagen, gelatin and pet toys.

Slaughterhouse Products:

A parallel process operates in the "fabrication area" where workers carve away the edible meats - the round, the top round, the loin, strip steaks, rib, chuck. Like car parts, each piece of the animal has its own price and market. Cow lips, which sell for 58 cents a pound, for the most part are shipped to Mexico, where they are shredded, spiced, grilled and used for taco filling.

Many cow hearts, 27 cents a pound, are exported to Russia to make sausage. Much of the meat from the cow's cheek, 55 cents a pound is sold to American meat processors for sausage and baloney. Of course, many of these "variety meats" are sold to pet-food companies, which prefer to buy the separated parts.

"Just as a chef uses precise proportions to make a fine meal, the pet-food people follow recipes calling for different quantities of hearts, livers and so forth to get the right taste and nutritional content," says Mark Klein, a spokesman for Cargill, the Minneapolis-based meat packing company.

Until the rise of biotechnology - which allows drug companies to "ferment" medications in the laboratory using recombinant DNA - many pharmaceuticals were extracted from animals. Nevertheless, fetal blood from cows (roughly $40 to $50 a quart) remains an important tool for the development of drugs and medical research.

Other medications - and markets - are made by extracting hormones and other compounds from the cow's glands. The pituitary glands ($19.50 a pound) are collected to make medicines that control blood pressure and heart rate. Twenty different steroids are made from fluids pulled from the adrenal glands ($2.85 a pound). The lungs (6 cents a pound) go into Heparin, an anti-coagulant. And the pancreas (63 cents a pound) is still a source of insulin for diabetics allergic to the synthetic kind; it takes about 26 cows to maintain one diabetic for a year.

The highest price is fetched by the most dubious product � cattle gallstones, which are sold for $600 an ounce to merchants in the Far East who peddle them as an aphrodisiac.

It is no small paradox that much of the excess gristle and fat is sold to companies that promise to make people beautiful. Lipstick, makeup bases, eyeliners, eyebrow pencils, hair rinses and bubble baths wouldn't be the same without fat-derived tongue twisters like butyl stearate, glycol stearate and PEG150 distearate.

Collagen, a protein extracted from the hides, hooves and bones, is the key ingredient in age-defying moisturizers and lotions; dermatologists inject it into people�s faces to fill out crow's feet and laugh lines. It is also used to make breast implants and as a medium in which cells can be grown.

Soaps may trumpet their use of cocoa butter and exotic plant extracts, but most are still made from animal fats. Indeed, the word soap is said to derive from Mount Sapo, a prime spot for animal sacrifice in ancient Rome. The locals who washed their tunics in the nearby valley streams noticed that the runoff of animal fat and ashes made their whites whiter and their colors brighter....

During the lost 30 years, fewer Americans have had the hankering to dine on cow brains, pig�s feet and bull testicles. But our appetite for hooves - which are used to make gelatin, is insatiable. An odorless, tasteless protein, gelatin is used in hundreds of products including Gummy Bears, ice cream, hard candies and, of course, Jell-O. It is also the secret behind many "fat free" products. "Gelatin gives the creamy mouth feel people want without the calories," says John Barrows, manager of marketing communications for Nabisco Inc.

A back-to-nature movement among pet lovers has treated another expanding market for animal by products. Squeaky plastic toys are giving way to knuckle joints and beef tendons, ox tails and toenails, chew hooves and 10-pound mammoth bones taken from cows' thighs.

Which leaves one question. What do they do with the undigested paunch material? Until now, not much. But Dr. Bums of the Kansas Department of Agriculture says there's an exciting development just around the corner. "I can't spill the beans just yet," he says. "But pretty soon we'll announce for a new process for converting it back into animal feed."