Last Chance for Animals

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Rendering Investigation


LCA’s SIU conducted an undercover investigation into a rendering plant in Southern California in May 2007.

What is Rendering?

Rendering is the process by which raw materials (dead animals and animal byproducts) are converted into a long list of ingredients for industrial and consumer goods.

Sources for raw materials include:

• meat slaughtering and processing plants
• ranches
• factory farms
• feedlots
• animal shelters
• veterinary clinics
• restaurants
• research laboratories
• road kill
• pest control companies

These materials, in turn, are exported or sold to domestic manufactures of a wide range of industrial and consumer goods including:

• livestock feed
• soaps
• pharmaceuticals
• lubricants
• plastics
• shampoo
• lotion
• rubber
• candy
• lard
• candles

The National Renderers Association estimated that there are 250-260 rendering plants in North America alone. The 18 billion pounds of ingredients that renderers produce each year have been valued at more than $3 billion of which $870 million is exported.

The Rendering Process

Raw materials (meat byproducts and dead animals) are ground and placed in cookers, which evaporate moisture and free fat from protein and bone.

A series of conveyors, presses, and a centrifuge continue the process of separating fats from solids. The finished fat (tallow, lard, yellow grease) goes into separate tanks, and the solid protein (meat and bone meal, poultry meal) is pressed into a cake for processing into the feed.

Rendering and Pet Overpopulation

Rendering is not only the result of the farm animal and restaurant industries; it is clearly the consequence of the companion animal overpopulation crisis. Millions of dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters across the county each year. In cities across North America, healthy companion animals are being euthanized and “disposed of” in rendering facilities. These dogs and cats not only endure a lonely shelter life but also suffer the horrible indignity of being rendered.

Rendering will continue as long as there is factory farming and unwanted companion animals.

What You Can Do:

• Go Vegan - stop supporting the rendering industry by cutting out animal products.

• Spay and neuter your pets.

• Adopt from a shelter, never buy from a pet store.

• Never buy from a breeder; 20-25% of shelter animals are purebreds.

• Support mandatory spay-neuter laws and differential-licensing laws (which increase license fees for animals that have not been fixed).

• Educate family and friends about the rendering industry and problems of pet overpopulation.


Source: Animal Rendering: Economics and Policy, Geoffrey Becker, CRS Report for Congress 2004.


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