Animal by-products, or animal wastes, can’t make up as much of the American meat pie as is often believed. However, animal byproducts, especially offal, contribute heavily to the bottom line for the U.S. beef industry. In fact, millions of pounds of meat and bone are produced each year from byproducts that are fed to cattle, pigs, chickens and other animals. The byproduct market in the United States alone is worth billions of dollars per year. In this brief article, we’ll take a look at some of the common misconceptions about what is fed to animals, what the commodity by-product really is, and where the market for animal by-products goes.
First of all, what is bovine byproduct? Byproduct is any byproduct that originates from the meat, hooves, fur, bones or tendons of an animal. Some examples of commonly used animal byproducts in the United States are: bison, beef by products, horse meat, dairy products (cheese, milk, ice cream, and yogurt), duck eggs, poultry by product, and wool. Many other animal byproducts may exist, but these are the most common. While many people may assume that all animal byproducts are unhealthy, this isn’t true; although byproducts do contain some fats and cholesterol, the majority are generally healthy.
So what makes beef byproducts so unhealthy? The majority of these products contain saturated fats, such as those found in meats. However, some by-products, like beef fat, can be a health hazard when consumed in large quantities over a long period of time. Large amounts of beef fat can raise blood cholesterol levels and contribute to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart disease, and certain cancers.
Hazardous Animal Ingredients
Now that you understand the health hazards of animal byproducts, let’s examine how they affect the pet food industry. Like with any other food, pet foods need to be preserved and processed to prevent spoilage and ensure quality. However, some preservatives and substances commonly used in the food processing industry are banned from use in domestic animal feeds because of their potential risks to humans. While it may seem that the pet food industry is doing its best to avoid using prohibited ingredients, in truth it is not always possible to do so. In addition, many additives that are commonly used are illegal or banned from use on domestic soil.
The most commonly used animal byproducts in the pet food industry are meal, meat meal, and fat. While the phrase “mineral” may be thrown around, these ingredients are actually derived from crude oil and animal fats. Other components commonly used include grains (such as corn and wheat), vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The final product that you’ll receive from a bag of pet food is often highly concentrated, which means that it contains a large percentage of calories that cannot be broken down in the digestive system and thus enters the bloodstream almost immediately.
Because animal byproducts contain large amounts of calories that are difficult for the body to digest, many vegans choose to substitute these products with nuts and avocados. While these substitutes can be tasty and may help you feel full, they will not take away the calories and nutrients that your body needs. Instead, they will provide you with a nice source of energy that is good for your well being while still practicing a vegan lifestyle. Nuts and avocados have been used in the nutrition world for their nutritional value for decades, and although recent studies have suggested that they may also help prevent heart disease, they should not be relied upon as the sole source of healthy nuts and avocados.
Animal byproducts may seem harmless to some people. However, when these ingredients are combined with other chemical additives, the risk becomes much more serious. The typical brands of vegan or vegetarian foods will typically list animal byproducts with an asterisk next to their ingredients. While there is no need to completely remove animal byproducts from your diet, you should definitely look for plant-based ingredients whenever possible. By doing so, you’ll not only be able to eat safe, wholesome foods but you’ll also be providing yourself with a healthier way of life. The vegan lifestyle can be simple and tasty if you just keep an eye out for the right ingredients.