Welcome to the third episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals.
I'd like to say a very big hello to Barbara, of Veganacious . Barbara sent me an email thanking me for my other podcast. I've thanked Barbara for the articles she posts online. You can find her on twitter under the username Veganacious or at veganacious .com .
This episode, that I've called "strife after death", I'd like to talk about how we use dead animals in somewhat unusual ways. We all know how meat comes from the Beef Tree, requiring only sunlight and five hugs a day to produce steak, but do you know whats really in normal petfood?
My first story is from New Zealand. It pretty much speaks for itself, a very small rural town, where killing animals is celebrated.
I really have nothing much to say about this "bunny throwing". As if throwing a dead animal could teach children respect! I have a much better idea, why not make an event of identifying native New Zealand birds, groups could go out to the bush, as we call forests here in New Zealand, and see what living animals they could find. Birds can easily be identified visually, or by their birdsong. This is far more respectful to animals, it teaches children about living animals that are only found in this country, and nobody gets hurt.
To see children who look to be about 5, throwing an animal that looks like a dead cat, its pretty sick. Its honestly shocking for me, Im sure you can find some images of these children " bunny throwing " online. I honestly cant believe this happens in 2009, going on 2010, or that people would defend this as being attacked by "political correctness gone mad", as mentioned in the news piece. To say something along the lines of "our children learn respect for animals by shooting rabbits and then throwing their dead bodies about, and animal abuse comes from people not knowing what to do with animals"......I'm left stunned by that. How could someone say that? As if killing rabbits is not cruelty or abuse in itself, raising up a big mob to go out and hunt animals, and then for the children to throw the corpse about. What do they learn from it? That animals can die if you point a boom boom stick at them? They learn its fun to throw dead bodies about? How could these children gain real world skills, or even respect, from this awful activity?
This episodes second topic, Pet Food.
The topic of pets was mentioned on New Zealand television recently, because of the "carbon petprint" from all the meat animals consume.
On petfood packaging, we see pictures of whole grains, prime cuts of meat, and ripe vegetables. But, whats actually inside the bag?
Jimbo's is a New Zealand pet food company. They seem to pride themselves on offering straight meat products, I think all their pet foods are straight meat of one kind or another.
Heres one of Jimbos advertising jingles, enjoy the kiwi bloke on at the start, often New Zealand ads appeal to the supposedly rugged rural kiwi male, as if its something to be proud of, to be "rough around the edges", not living in a big city, to complain about "political correctness" etc.
I did visit jimbos.co.nz, I'll read some of their products. This is how they advertise their pet food.
Jimbo's Cat Food
"Cat food produced by Jimbo's is mostly locally sourced and processed fresh daily. All cat food meat is sourced from licensed premises. The Jimbos range is available from the chilled petfood section at all leading supermarkets."
"Hearty Beef 500g:This product is made from 95% Beef and Heart at a ratio of 70/30 and is suited to cats who like some offal in their diet. It is a semi chunky mince and is to be fed raw. A great introduction to a raw diet."
" Veal 500g: This is a premium product. It is suitable for most cats especially fussy eaters. It contains little fat and is highly digestible. Great for nursing cats and convalescing animals."
Ok, theres one last Jimbos cat food product, "economy". Guess what its made from!
" Economy 500g: This product is made from 100% pure Horse Meat and is our most economical. It is very lean and excellent for animals that are prone to obesity. There are definite benefits in feeding this to dogs with skin and allergy problems."
You might remember a recent story in New Zealand about poor people in New Zealand eating horse meat killed for pets, horse meat is generally not seen as fit for humans to eat in New Zealand.
Jimbos Dog Food
" Chicken Mince: This product is made using minced Chicken Frames. It is suitable for cats and dogs and be fed either cooked or raw. It is vacuum packed and blast frozen."
"Dog Sausages: These sausages are made using ingredients to form a highly palatable, nutritious product that imitates an indicative prey type species in composition. We use Chicken Frames, Heart, Kidney, Liver and Tukkathyme in our recipie."
Chicken Frames are basically the skeleton, and whats left of a chicken, ground into a paste. I had to look up "tukkathyme", its apparently grains, like a muesli for animals.
" Veal Bones: Jimbo's Veal Bones are the best thing you can feed your dog! They are soft enough to be eaten whole and are perfect for cleaning the teeth and gums. The whole bone can be digested leaving no left overs that has to be picked up and disposed of. They are to be fed raw!"
As you know, Veal is baby cattle.
Jimbos seems to be proud of the straight animal parts in their petfood. I have no idea, or proof if New Zealand petfood companies include even more disgusting ingredients, as if you could be more disgusting than chicken frames and veal. But worldwide, its apparently the normal thing to do. I'll mention some of those ingredients now.
Looking at the Purina dry cat food my dad feeds to his cat, I recognized a few gross ingredients. Poultry by-product meal, Animal Fat, Fish Meal, Meat and Bone meal and the all important, Animal Digest. Who knows exactly what all this is made of, what it looks like and where it came from. Even using terms like "animal digest" is an easy way to hide from consumers what they are buying. Animal Digest as a word, is not nearly as upsetting as seeing what it actually is.
I'll read from rense.com
"Most of what makes up dog and cat food comes from the rendering plant.
To render, as defined in Webster's Dictionary, is "to process as for industrial use: to render livestock carcasses and to extract oil from fat, blubber, etc., by melting."When chickens, lambs, cattle, swine, and other animals are slaughtered for food, usually only the lean muscle is cut off for human consumption.This leaves about 50 percent of a carcass left over. These leftovers are what become what we so commonly find on pet food labels, such as "meat-and-bone-meal" or "by-products.
"So basically, what pets eat are lungs, ligaments, bones, blood and intestines.Some other things that go into rendering to make your Cat and Dog Food are:
* Euthanized companion animals Cats and Dogs
* Spoiled meat from the supermarket, Styrofoam wrapping and all
* Road kill that can't be buried on the roadside
* The "4 D's" of cattle: dead, dying, disease and disabled
* Rancid restaurant grease"
"Reporter John Eckhouse was one of the first people to discover the practice of sending euthanized pets to the rendering plants.He quoted an employee of Sacramento Rendering as saying, "Thousands and thousands of pounds of dogs and cats are picked up and brought here every day."When a vet tells a grieving owner that they'll "take care" of their dead loved one, they usually mean sending it off with the disposal company for rendering. This is all perfectly legal. Many veterinarians and especially shelters don't have the money to bury or cremate animals.Although many in the pet food industry deny that they use euthanized animals, proof that the practice goes on continues to surface."
Howard Lyman, once cattle rancher, now vegan, mentions Animal Digest.
CBS have also covered the topic, the last decade has seen a few large scale pet food recalls, because of contaminants, this got many Americans questioning whats inside their petfood.
Meat and Bone Meal is another odd term. Its basically a rendered substance, from what I've seen its a powder, made from animal fat and muscle. Power plants and kilns worldwide are apparently run on this, its considered Green as its a "renewable source of energy", if you want more power, you just kill more animals.
This leads to my third and final story,
Wild rabbits are often classed as a pest worldwide. I personally dont see how a cute little bunny could be a pest, it would be like complaining about too many butterflies, but in New Zealand alone, I've heard Rabbits cause over 20 million New Zealand dollars worth of damage each year. They can dig holes, which are a nuisance to farmers, as their stock, cows and horses, you know, their property, can break legs in the rabbit holes.
In Sweden, there are large numbers of rabbits living in local parks. According to the article I'm reading from, from thelocal.se, thousands of rabbits are killed each year, and their bodies burnt as "bioenergy".
Bioenergy is a fancy term, which can mean a lot of things. Burning firewood in a fireplace can be called bioenergy. Often crops are burnt for bioenergy. Apparently, burning beautiful bunny rabbits is also covered by the term.
The rabbits are killed, because they are seen as pests, and their bodies are put into large furnaces that generate heat.
I find this pretty odd too, New Zealand doesnt really have any form of central heating that neighbourhoods share, our cities are either too small or not dense enough for that kind of development. I'd feel pretty sick knowing I was kept warm from the bodies of rabbits being burnt. I realise that the body of a rabbit is just a thing, and it can easily be burnt, so it is. But still, the whole idea is pretty gross to me. Where do you draw the line, if you can burn animals for warmth, why not burn people? Hook up the crematoriums to this central heating system! Upon the event of my cremation, you could say I'd finally given back to society!
Thank you for listening.
You can find the script for this episode, as well as downloads for every episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals at coexisting with nonhuman animals . blogspot.com
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Thank you for listening.
bunny throw audio
pet food ingredients
pet food industry revealed
Jimbos pet food NZ