Stokes County Humane Society

            PO  Box 102

                Danbury, NC 27016



                        Serving the pets and people of Stokes County, NC

What is really in pet food?


·         When animals are slaughtered for food production, the lean muscle is cut off for human consumption.  The remaining carcass (bones, organs, blood, beaks, etc) goes into pet food, commonly known as "by-products", "meal", "by-product meal", or “digest.”


·         Other "leftovers" from the human food industry (restaurant grease, out-of-date supermarket meat, etc) and "4D" livestock animals (dead, dying, diseased, disabled) may also be found in pet food through a process called rendering. 


·         Rendering is defined as "an industrial process of extraction by melting that converts waste animal tissue into usable materials".  In other words, rendering involves placing livestock carcasses and possibly "leftovers" into huge vats, grinding it up and cooking it for several hours.


·         All rendered products are considered "unfit for human consumption".  If we shouldn't eat it, neither should our pets! 


·         The fat that is separated becomes "animal fat" that goes into pet food (for example, chicken fat, beef fat, etc).  The remaining dried protein solids become "meal" or meat "by-product meal" for addition to pet food.


·         By-products (chicken by-products or beef by-products):  clean non-rendered "parts", other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals.  It includes, but is not limited to lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, blood, bone, fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents.


·         Meat Meal (lamb meal):  in this example, all lamb tissues, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents that are rendered.  Dried solids are then added as "meal" to pet food.


·         Meat By-product Meal (chicken by-product meal):   chicken by-products (defined above) that are rendered.  The dried solids are added to pet food


·         Digest  material from mammals which results from chemical breakdown of clean meat tissues or by-products ("parts" other than meat).  This is often used to give a meat "flavor" to pet foods that don't contain any real meat.


·         In addition to "by-products" and "meals", there are many other food additives that should be avoided.  Many preservatives are known to be carcinogens in humans.  Examples of preservatives that should be avoided include BHA, BHT, sodium nitrite and nitrate.  Artificial colorings may be responsible for adverse or allergic reactions.