The New York Times revealed yesterday that the watchdogs of public health, the Federal Drug Administration had ruled to "ban brains and spinal cords from older cows in all animal feed." Sounds like a wise move? Two sentences later we learn that "the rules are not as strict as those the agency proposed last year and never adopted, and critics promptly denounced them as inadequate."
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/05/health/05cow.html (October 5, 2005, by Donald G. McNeil Jr.)
Further, "The new proposal still allows chickens, pigs and other noncattle animals to be fed material that some scientists consider potentially infectious, including the brains and spinal cords of young animals, and the eyes, tonsils, intestines and nerves of older ones."
"Cows can potentially ingest that material because they can be given chicken feed and droppings swept up from the floors of poultry farms, scrapings from restaurant plates, and a calf milk replacement made from cow blood and fat. In the rules proposed in early 2004, poultry litter and plate waste would have been banned."
What that means is that the steak that moms feed their daughters, so that they can compete to get into a prestigious university, contains, according to the Times, chicken excrement, plate scraps, cow blood and fat (that replaces calf milk) sweepings from the floor of the slaughterhouse, brains and spinal cords, eyes, tonsils, intestines and nerves from young cows and the entire gory list except brains and spinal cords from older cows.
Pigs, chickens, and non-cattle (?) can still, however, eat all of the above, with no restrictions.
The FDA approves of feeding cow parts and chicken droppings to cows, pigs, chickens and non-cattle, despite their herbivore natures, because, says the article, to not do so would create lots of garbage and cost too much.
"Getting rid of the vertebrae, spines, spinal nerves, eyes, intestines and other potentially infectious parts of all cattle - including the meat that nerves remain attached to - would create more than two billion pounds of waste, which he said would be an environmental problem and a big expense for the industry."
In other words, the meat industry's solution to what to do with the rest of the dead cow after you remove the steaks: feed it to the other cows. It makes economic sense.
The article concludes with the disclosure that
"In 1997, the F.D.A. banned feeding ruminants like cattle and sheep to other cattle and sheep, with a few exceptions like calf "milk replacement" made from cow blood. But the ban is widely acknowledged to be imperfect."
In other words, farmers ignore the FDA's lame, watered-down, inhumane policy as a matter of course.
An alert reader might conclude that the American meat industry is feeding meat-eaters filthy products and side-stepping the government simply because it is profitable to do so.