cannibal cows and chickens

From Green Zabiha:

Cows:    Cows are fed grass, right? You would be correct in thinking that, after all they were created to eat mainly grass, but in modern factory farming that is not a viable (read: profitable) option. So no grass, instead they are fed grain, which their body has a difficult time digesting, so much so that many are in a perpetual state of disease which is why we need to pump antibiotics into them to keep them alive. If that was all it’d be bad enough, but that is just the beginning.

Grain isn’t exactly cheap, and in an effort to find ways to feed animals more calories cheaply, Factory farms turned to protein rendering. Rendering takes meat scraps and waste products (carcasses, bones, fat, entrails, organs etc.) and through a process ‘renders’ it into liquefied edible protein.

So, back to our cows. The government allows cow feed to include

  1. pork(!)
  2. cow fat (!)
  3. blood (!)
  4. poultry and
  5. horse to name a few things

Chicken: When I asked the Controlling Officer what the restrictions were on chicken feed, he chuckled and said ‘I don’t know of any real restrictions for poultry feed’.  You can feed them ground up chicken, pork, beef, whatever. He mentioned in his State ‘we have large poultry processor and their chicken waste goes to rendering plant and most goes back to the processer for feeding the chickens’.  So in the case of cows, we’ve turned a ruminate (grass feeder) into a meat eater, and the chicken into a cannibal (though the cow does get to eat cow fat). He did mentioned there were ‘only’ 9 or 10 drugs that can be given to poultry used for meat, and 3 for egg producing hens. And there is supposed to be a drug ‘withdrawal’ period, the poultry should be off the drugs for a time before going to slaughter. Who knows if that happens, probably hard to even detect or enforce.

Alhamdulilah, we’re blessed here in the twin cities to have Holy Land Grocery that sells meat that is vegetarian fed.  It isn’t organic and probably still comes from a quasi factory farm, but at least it isn’t pork fed.


4 thoughts on “cannibal cows and chickens

  1. I live waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out in farm country and one of the perks is my family gets our beef and eggs from a local farmer from our church. (He’s also the our postman, so we get regular delivery of eggs with the morning mail. :D ). It’s fabulous because we know exactly what they feed the beef cows and chickens and could visit the animals if we really wanted to.

    Maybe we should start a farmer to eater matching program. :)

  2. That’s really disgusting. Makes me want to really be careful to look for the vegetarian or organic label. I know it’s getting more common so it shouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience. What about halal meat? I normally thought it was the method of killing that was different, but Muslims are not allowed to eat animals that are carnivore, so they must also feed vegetarian?? Right?

  3. salaams sis

    i work for a pet & animal feed manufacturer. we are an animal by-product free facility. which makes our grains more expensive than others. which makes it almost impossible (especially these days) for regular old dairy/beef/chicken/turkey/you name it farmers to be able to afford to purchase “quality” grain … so they go for the cheap stuff and … gross.

    ANDDDDD – just to add another “ewwww” and “gross” to this convo (which i find HIGHLY educational and appreciate you sharing!) …. do you know the #1 user of animal byproducts/rendered “crap” in the USA? cosmetics and skin care!!! do you know what’s in your shampoo? soap? lip balm? RENDERED ANIMAL PARTS!! i’m just mentioning the basics … actual make-up is even worse!

  4. Oum Amir – wow, I’m jealous! I remember being worried that the eggs in egypt weren’t refridgerated, but after doing research, I found that we only refridgerate eggs here because they’re so old. It must be amazing to have fresh eggs :) I do hope that more farmers add meat to their CSA programs. inshaAllah we’re going to do a veggie CSA next year.

    Candice – according to the green zabiha website, sometimes halal butchers purchase their animals from the same factory farms that are feeding their animals animal product :( The well known brands – crescent, midmar, safa – all have vegetarian fed animals, but if it’s something local, do make sure you ask the butcher before you buy.

    Noorjahan – mashaAllah that you guys still exist. I know my grandfather never fed his cows anything but grass and hay. He’d roll over in his grave if he saw the factory farms today. I’ve noticed a few halal skin care product companies selling stuff from the UK. inshaAllah we’ll get some of that stuff here :D For now, I’ll just use my tom of maine halal toothpaste and hope my bath and body works isn’t rendered animal parts, yuck!

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