The practice of feeding animals to non-carnivorous domestic animals is one that must be stopped now. It is entirely possible that the current news of mad cow disease is but the tip of the iceberg for future potential health problems.
When I used to milk cows I was encouraged by my vet to add “bone meal” to my feed as a way to increase protein levels in the dairy grain. Normally we would use extra soybean meal to jack the protein levels, but many farmers used bone meal. The bone meal consists of rendered bones and tissue from cattle. Essentially we were feeding cattle to cattle, a process that in retrospect seems 100% unnatural.
I have an MS degree in Agriculture and in one of my poultry classes in college we visited a huge egg ranch. The foreman there explained to us that if you examined the chicken manure you’d find that as much as 25% of the feed had gone through the chickens undigested and was still there in the manure. With this in mind they had started taking chicken manure, steaming it and then drying it, and were now mixing the chickens’ own manure back into the chicken feed. By doing this they supposedly were saving some 20% on feed costs!
But then think of what this actually meant: they were feeding the hens their own manure. Also, in these highly confined cages hens would often die and the owners would just pull a dead hen from the cage and toss it into the manure under the cages. Thus, when they “re-processed” all that manure, there were plenty of chicken carcasses in it too. This would mean that they were now feeding chickens to chickens.
In mad cow disease we now know that prions are not killed by heat treatment. Feeding manure back to animals may make some sense from a purely monetary point of view, but from a larger, humanistic, holistic way of looking at things, it seems to be nothing but a recipe for disaster. It would seem that there needs to be more control exercised on what can be fed to not just cattle, but to all domestic farm animals. Our own health is at risk here, and in a sense of fair play, this practice seems to be more than a little insulting to the animals themselves.
Author of Allergy-free Gardening, and of, Safe Sex in the Garden www.allergyfreegardening.com