The idea of “meat meal” containing dogs and cats has been around for quite some time now, with serious accusations floated against commercial pet food producers and animal feed manufacturers about the sorts of things that wind up in their products.

Every so often, these accusations take on more gravity.

The scandal involving horse meat in dog food has many taking a careful look at their diets and the products they buy for consumption.

Thanks to rising beef prices and a public preference for “cheap” stuff, horsemeat has become a plausible solution for the food industry.

With meat producers operating at minimal profit margins and retailers pushing margins in the double-digits, it’s not hard to imagine where the buck stops.

The same problem has been plaguing the pet food industry for as long as anyone can remember. Commercial dog food brands have long been suspected of including some less than reputable elements (to be kind) and many have suggested that euthanized dogs and cats have been par for the course in meat meals for animal feed.

View the Video with Caution Please…

Warning: this video is alarming and don’t watch it if you’re overly sensitive….

A graphic video clip put together by the national non-profit group Last Chance for Animals seems to reveal more than a few reasons to be concerned if not outraged about what’s going into pet food.

The clip, from 2007, reveals a California-based rendering plant putting dead animals into its system. The plant is D & D Disposal Inc. and it has been widely used across Southern California.

It is the go-to rendering facility for the area’s animal shelters; it is where dead animals go. Some years ago, LA County recognized that they had to do something with the animal carcasses piling up in shelters. D & D Disposal was “the answer” and has worked with almost every major shelter in the area.

The video clip purports to come from “undercover” footage, but it’s not clear who’s shooting the material or how they managed such up close and personal access to the plant’s daily activities.

The footage reveals the general process of the rendering plant, from barrels of dead dogs and animals to the removal of a certain dog’s tag before he’s put into the process. It’s chilling work and hard to watch.

It illustrates the piles of dead dogs and cats at the rendering plant, a sad sight for certain. But it’s also the reality of the shelter system. The fact is that many, many dogs are rejected or abandoned for a host of reasons.

The clip then shows remains of dogs, cats and other animals coming out of the grinder. It is a disturbing, sobering visual. The remains of the dogs, cats and other dead animals are then presumably entered into what the clip describes as a “protein cooker” and finds itself processed into protein meal.

Does the sad activity of a rendering plant “prove” without a shadow of a doubt that dogs are being used in dog food?  No. But the activity and the potential for authentic supply chain concerns does highlight the need to be careful and to ALWAYS stick to species-identified ingredients when comparing or preparing pet foods.

AVOID Cheap Dog Foods that Include “Meat Meal”

The truth about meat meals is that raw materials are everything. No meal product will ever be better than what was used to make it in the first place, so quality meat parts of specific animals must be included.

Low-grade meats and cheap dog foods tend to use a veritable slurry of crap, from potential rendering plant materials to slaughterhouse waste and even spoiled supermarket meat.

With the horse meat fiasco fresh in our minds, it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to feeding our loved ones – including our pets.

Meat meals are tricky business and the prospect of dogs in dog food is a tough thing to confront, but we need to be aware of these possibilities whenever we make decisions about what to give our four-legged friends.

Learn more about how the FDA views pet food labels including meat meal in dog food.

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Showing 8 comments
  • Annie

    Can someone recommend a raw dog food and home-cooked food website please? Many thanks in advance.

    • janie

      Hi Annie:

      Did you take a look at my cookbook? You can view it here.

      For general maintenance, you can use any of the the recipes in the book regardless of what disease they fall under. Then you can incorporate a little raw into the meals as well. You just have to make sure you include calcium daily. It gives you instructions in the book.

      I hope this helps.


  • Jutamaro

    The makers of Drool canine kibbles and biscuits in India are in the leather business. Where to dispose of the carcasses in sacred India which reveres a cow? Into extrusion plants of course in which also goes culled chicken afflicted by viral diseases. Another is Pedigree and Nutripet who has manufacturing facilities in India and have meat meals in their byproduct range along with soya and grains. There are plenty of other small market share holders of canine and feline products in India who run slaughter houses.

    • janie knetzer

      I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you knowing that these foods are the worst type of foods around and the issue with “cows” and the sacred beliefs that your country is known for. I’m so sorry that the options aren’t better for all the dogs and dog owners of your wonderful country.


  • Michelle

    And this is why I cook for my dogs. I could not bear to watch the video, just reading the content brought tears to my eyes and nausea to my stomach. I get alot of ribbing from friends and family about cooking for my dogs and “spoiling” them. Every time I come across an article like this, it just reinforces my commitment.

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Michelle:
      Yeah, I’ve certainly gotten a lot a slack over the years about what a “nut” I am when it comes to my dogs food. But, many of those that thought I was “over the top” about it, are starting to come around themselves and that’s a good thing. 😮


    • Tifrocks

      I entirely agree! People rib me too all the time, but the local grocery chain is used to me buying esp the veggies and fruits reduced….I buy the regular chicken, mackeral, eggs, and a host of other things. A host of supplements from Puritans Pride, probiotic yogurt, the list goes on. Recently I have started adding Garden of Life Super Green Powder (also Purinatns Pride has a similar powder, for the barley grasses and other good stuff.

      • janie knetzer

        Thanks for sharing what you’re doing to feed your dog a better diet Tif…. 😮

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