In ancient times, cows were revered as a part of the family and a crucial member of society. The bulls were a symbol of strength, steadiness, prosperity and a valuable element in the production of food. The mother cows represented abundance, gentleness and generosity, while providing peaceful companionship for their keepers. Cows were cared for very nicely with the love and respect that every living being deserves. As our society has degraded, so has the treatment of cows. The cruel and exploitative treatment of cows in this day and age is indicative of the downfall of our civilization.
We teach children that there is nothing inherently wrong in continuously taking the calf away from the mother cow, taking her milk, killing her baby and then killing her afterwards so that she can no longer produce milk. This is a reflection of the vast amount of violence in the world. The United States alone routinely slaughters nearly 35 million cows and calves every year. People all over the world are conditioned to believe that this is an economic necessity and that there would not be enough food if cows were not raised for slaughter. Exactly the opposite is true. If we fed the amount of grain that is currently being fed to “food” animals to the starving people in the world, there would be no more starving people.
On another note, a recent report from the rendering industries in the United Sates estimated that only about 60 percent of a slaughtered cow’s body is actually sold as meat. Where does the other 40 percent go? In to just about everything. For those of us who prefer not to support the cattle slaughter industry and its by-products, it has become nearly impossible.
Cow by-products are found in everything from pharmaceutical medicines to the tires on a car. Recently a biotech company operating in Iowa started using the trachea from the cow to make chondroitin sulfate, a nutritional supplement. The supplement is designed to improve joint flexibility in people who suffer from osteoarthritis, a disease that breaks down cartilage. Unlike some companies that rely on shellfish and shark cartilage to produce the supplement, Sioux Pharm uses cow tracheas, which it purchases from slaughterhouses and meatpacking giants.
Many of us may not be aware that it is highly probable that a pharmaceutical product purchased over the counter at your average store will contain animal by-products. “We can use eyeballs from the cow, their brains, their pituitaries, their intestines, their stomach, ” said Allen Kramer, founder of Sioux Pharm, a company based in northwestern Iowa.” We can isolate important products from almost every organ of the animal.” Kramer’ s company quickly made its mark on the industry. It started selling chondroitin in 1998, making $100,000 in annual sales. Since then, annual sales have jumped to more than $10 million per year.
Cow feet and hooves are rendered for human and pet food, gelatin, glue, buttons, handles, lubricants, cow-heel jelly, bone-meal, soaps, the foam in fire extinguishers, and fertilizers.
A frequently prescribed anticoagulant drug is made from cows’ lungs and bovine mucosa. The adrenal gland is used in making steroid drugs. The pancreas and the thymus gland are better known to diners as sweetbreads, and the pancreas itself is used to make insulin. Cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are made from the placenta. The dura mater is used as an implant in human brain surgery. The list of uses for just these parts alone, which together add up to only a small fraction of a cow’s total live weight, goes on and on.
When listed in the contents, the animal part does not appear as it is, but in the technical name for its by-product. So people who do not want to indirectly support the animal slaughter industry end up doing so unless they are aware of the thousands of cow body parts that appear in thousands of products on the market today. Not only that, but due to the threat of Mad Cow disease, this rendering business is risky business. In fact, the spread of Mad Cow disease is a result of this recycled cow phenomena in which rendered animal parts are being fed to other animals, thus forcing herbivores to become cannibals. And this is where things get really sticky. Each industry utilizing beef by-products must now try to ensure that the cow parts they are using don’t come from an infectious country. Good luck.
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to avoid all animal products and still participate in the modern world. Fortunately, it is not difficult to maintain a vegetarian diet and thereby not contribute directly to the massive killing of animals. This is a choice that needs to be made by every individual who is serious about solving the problems of this world.