Filthy Feed & downer cattle

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Filthy Feed & downer cattle

I read yesterday on about a new site called “Filthy Feed” that “exposes and seeks to end the practice of feeding broiler litter (read: chicken shit) to cattle.”

This is pretty gross, and I can’t believe that this practice still goes on. I wonder how much of that meat makes it up here to Canada?

Canada has had a ban against the feeding of poultry and litter to ruminants for many years now (our ban went into effect around 1997). Our little bout with mad cow disease was the real reason for this. It seems that we were feeding out cattle remains to chickens and turkeys, and there’s too much risk that the poultry litter (the hay or straw and shit on the floor of the barn, plus feathers and the carcasses of the chickens who didn’t make it the full 6 weeks) might contain some undigested remains of a cow.

I understand that farms face the prospect of losing money pretty much all the time (and likely wouldn’t survive if they weren’t massively subsidized through cheap feed, etc), but who really first came up with the idea of scraping up all this shit and waste and grinding it up to add to food for other animals?

Strangely, for all our concern with mad cow disease, Canada has not banned the slaughter of downer animals. The regulations only state that animals may not be transported if they are too sick to walk, but nothing is said about slaughtering them if they can be induced to enter the truck under their own power. (source)

So, we can’t feed chicken waste to cattle, but we can slaughter cows who are too sick to walk into the slaughterhouse (who are more likely to have mad cow as well). Are we really working to prevent mad cow and protect human health or just choosing easy actions that don’t really have any effect on the practices ofthe meat industry that put us all at risk?

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