Cow BurgerCow Banner



First, we will consider what is in the livestock and then what is in the feed they eat. We will then follow the animals to the slaughterhouse and processing plant, and from there to the restaurant.

Book One was written essentially as a condensation of data in several books and articles. But, here in Book Two, extensive source references will be provided. Otherwise you would find it hard to believe what you are about to read. Yet it is only through information that we can make intelligent decisions. A more complete Bibliography will be found at the back of the book. 


In the cattle, hogs, sheep, chickens, and turkeys we find various amounts of diseases, antibiotics, insecticides, and growth hormones. Some creatures have more than others. 


Cattle were regularly imported into the United States for breeding purposes until 1987. The earliest known cases of BSE in British cattle were confirmed in 1986, but it had to have been in the British Isles for years before it was confirmed. In 1987, the British Government made public the news about mad cow in cattle. That year alone, over 400 cases of mad cows were confirmed. The actual number of cases may have been far higher; for no requirement was yet in place requiring the reporting of sick cattle and British farmers could make more selling the dead carcasses to the rendering plants, to be ground up into cattle feed. Yet, the next year, 1988, over 2,000 confirmed cases were reported (Richard Rhodes, Deadly Feasts).

Is mad cow disease in American cattle? We know that there is an ever-increasing number of downer cows in the U.S., that downer cows do not show the same brain patterns as British mad cows, and that the U.S. Government refuses to conduct autopsies of cow brains to see if they have spongiform. Instead, they are sent to the rendering plant (Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Mad Cow U.S.A.).


At the back of this book, in the chapter on Diseases of Animals, you will find abundant evidence that livestock carries a variety of other diseases.


In order to combat mastitis and avoid financial loss, ranchers and feedlot operators inject their cows with massive doses of antibiotics. There are about 80 such antibiotics approved for use in agriculture. Only seven are authorized for use in lactating cows, but the USDA tests for only four of them (Journal of American Veterinary Association, July 1, 1992).

When milk from grocery store shelves in the northeastern states was analyzed, it was found that 63% had detectable residues of antibiotics (ibid.).

A 1988 Illinois survey found that 58% of the drugs used on dairy farms were not approved for such use (Government Accounting Office Report, August 1992).

The use of BST (bovine growth hormone) and other drugs weaken the animals, so that more antibiotics are needed to keep them in production until they are slaughtered. There are extraordinary risks in eating meat and drinking milk, laced with antibiotics. Among other problems, it can lead to the development of disease-causing organisms which are resistant to antibiotics, and thus are more deadly. Should you be eating drug-resistant organisms? (Marc Lappé, When Antibiotics Fail, 1986, p. xii).

Howard Lyman, who used to be a Montana cattleman, says cattlemen regularly dump the antibiotics in all the feed rather than giving it only to sick cattle. By overfeeding the livestock on antibiotics, the microorganisms become resistant to the drugs. Such bacteria, of course, are extremely dangerous (H.F. Lyman, Mad Cowboy, pp. 55-56). When you eat that meat you are getting a lot of drugs with it. If it is undercooked, you are getting drug-resistant bacteria in the meal.

Sometimes the drugs used to inoculate cattle were eventually determined by the government to be dangerous to human health. (Even the government knows that you will consume the drugs in those cows and pigs.) But the USDA always made sure the dangerous drugs were used up by the ranchers before the ban went into effect (ibid.).

With every cow in a feedlot pen producing 25 pounds of manure each day, the flies get so thick that they actually threaten the cow’s ability to breathe. In an effort to do something about the flies around them, the cows kick up so much dust they contract what is called dust pneumonia. To counteract this, the feedlot operator fills up a fly fogger every morning and sprays great quantities of insecticide over the cattle and everything else. The spray, of course, falls into the feed which the cattle eat (Lyman, p. 56).

Certain insects lay eggs on the hide of the cattle, which hatch into grubs which burrow in. The rancher pours other types of insecticide onto the cattle, which soaks in and kills the worm-like larvae. More insecticide inside the livestock, to be served to you later (Lyman, p. 57).


Monsanto, one of the largest agriculture/livestock chemical companies in the world, developed recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). In 1993 it was approved by the FDA in the form of the drug, Posilac. rBGH is a genetically engineered copy, although a less than perfect one, of a naturally occurring cow hormone.

Because most people do not want to consume hormones in their meat and milk, Monsanto calls it "recombinant bovine somatotropin" (BST). But "somatotropin" just means "growth hormone."

Monsanto has pushed hard to get dairy producers to buy BST in order to increase milk production in their cows. When some farmers discovered that BST was draining calcium from the cow’s bones in order to produce more milk, ultimately sickening and killing the cows, Monsanto tried to keep the news from other dairy farmers, without success (Conklin Corporate Newsletter, Vol. 62; Wisconsin Farmers Union News Release, October 7, 1995; Fair magazine, May/June 1995).

In order to solve the problem of the cows weakened by BST, Monsanto urged that more high-protein pellets, fortified with dead animals, be given to the cows. BST also increased the percentage of mastitis in the cows. This put more pus into the milk that you drink (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 28, 1990; Nature, October 20, 1994).

In order to combat mastitis and avoid financial loss, farmers inject their cows with massive doses of antibiotics. There are about 80 such antibiotics approved for use in agriculture. Only seven are authorized for use in lactating cows, but the USDA tests for only four of them (Journal of American Veterinary Association, July 1, 1992).

Not only does it produce abnormally high milk-fat concentrations, but BST also increases the amount of Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is a chemical in the body that controls the cellular response to growth hormone, and is the same form in both cattle and humans. An excess in humans can bring about acromegaly, a disease which includes enlargement of the hands, feet, nose, and chin (ibid.). An excess growth harmone in cows, from BST, is known to result in higher levels of IGF-1 in the cows ("Human Food Safety Evaluation," Science 249:875-84, August 24, 1990; Prosser, et al., Journal of Dairy Research, 56:17-26, 1989).

When rats were fed food with IGF-1, it significantly increased their body weight. Those of you who are trying to keep your weight down, keep this in mind (Justevich and Guyer, "BGH: Human Food Safety Evaluation," Science, 249:875-84, August 24, 1990).

Upon learning the facts, the European Union and Canada placed a moratorium on the use of rBGH (bovine growth hormone). But the FDA refuses to also do so. So it is still in U.S. milk and meat.

In 1994, Vermont became the first state in the nation to require that labeling for dairy products notify the consumer when they contain bovine growth hormone. The International Dairy Foods Association promptly sued the State of Vermont, because it did not want the public to know that growth hormones were in the milk. Its argument in court, in effect, was this: Because there is no difference between milk without the growth hormone, therefore the public should not know when it is in the milk (International Dairy Foods Association News Release, April 25, 1994).

Monsanto lost the suit but won it on appeal. Vermont was refused the right to require truthful labeling of dairy products. No state in the nation has a standing law mandating labeling of milk products, to let consumers know about milk additives or whether or not those products are genetically engineered.

Threatening letters were sent by the firm to milk retailers, warning them that they could be violating federal law by advertising that they were selling milk that came from cows free of rBGH. Monsanto, with assets of $7.7 billion, then sued a small family-owned dairy in Waco, Texas, and some family-owned dairies in Iowa that labeled their milk as being free of the artificial hormone ("rBGH and Biotech Foods Fight Continues," Pure Food Campaign Newsletter, November 7, 1994).


Next, we consider the rations that are fed to the livestock. One would expect it to contain grasses, alfalfas, grains, and soybeans. But, surprise, the food of the animals which will soon be on your dinner plate is far more exotic.


Fact 1: It is at the rendering plants that animals are ground up into "high-protein pellets" for animal feed.

Fact 2: Only animals which have died—generally sick and diseased animals—are sent to the rendering plants. Healthy animals are never killed and shipped to rendering plants.

Fact 3: Did you know that a single pellet, containing mad cow prions, could infect an animal? "A feed kernel the size of a peppercorn can transmit BSE to an animal in the feed" (March 12, 2001, issue of Newsweek).

Prior to 1997, dead cattle could be fed to cattle but that year the FDA made a new ruling. Here are several facts about it:

First, dead cattle can no longer be officially fed to cattle in the United Sates.

Second, in that ruling, the FDA yielded to demands of the meat industry, that they be allowed to keep feeding cheap dead animals to the animals being fattened to feed American citizens. Therefore the current FDA regulations allow dead pigs and dead horses to be rendered into cattle feed, along with dead poultry.

Third, the regulations not only allow dead poultry to be fed to cattle, they allow dead cattle to be fed to poultry (chickens and turkeys). If you would like to read all the strange things that can be fed to the animals you will eat tonight, we refer you to the following sources: "Substances Prohibited from Use in Animal Food or Feed: Animal Proteins Prohibited in Ruminant Food; Final Rule," Part II, Federal Register, June 5, 1997; Ellen Ruppel Shell, "Could Mad Cow Diseases Happen Here?" Atlangid Mounthly, September 1998; Rebecca Osvath, "Some Feed and Manufacturing Facilities Not Complying with Rules to prevent BSE, Survey Finds," Food Chemical News, April 3, 2000.

Fourth, although the ban forbids putting of dead cattle (including downer cows which died of a form of mad cow disease) into the cattle feed pellets,—yet it is still being done. Dead cattle are still being put in the feed given to cattle. More on this below.

Fifth, the FDA has imposed a ban on the use of bone, bone marrow, and spinal cord in ground beef, but the FDA continues to permit animal blood and scrapie sheep to be ground into animal feed. Yet, as we earlier noted, research shows that BSE is not just in the brains, but also in the blood and muscles of the animals.

Sixth, In 1989, the American rendering industry announced it would no longer accept sheep heads. This was done to avoid government-imposed restrictions. Sheep heads are obviously a small part of what they grind up. Remember that only at rendering plants are animals ground up into "high-protein pellets" for animal feed (and only sick animals which died are sent to the rendering plants). But an FDA survey, made three years later, found that 15 of 19 plants inspected had not implemented even that ban! No government action was taken against the plants (FDA Survey, "Report of Findings of Directed Inspections of Sheep Rendering Facilities," January 1993).

Seventh, although the FDA bans bone, bone marrow, and spinal cord in ground beef, an Agriculture Department survey in 1997 revealed that those materials were still being included in the ground meat it tested ("USDA Reports Spinal Cord Bits in Ground Beef," Associated Press release, February 21, 1997).

Eighth, the FDA permits blood to be placed in the feed given to all livestock.

To add to the puzzle, Americans who spent more than six months in the United Kingdom during the 1980s are now forbidden to donate blood, in order to prevent the spread of BSE’s human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). That restriction is due to the fact that the USDA is well-aware that mad cow disease can be passed through the blood.

Yet, down to the present time, the rendering plants are still legally permitted to put blood from dead animals in cattle, hog, chicken, etc. feeds! This is incredible, but true.

Someone will reply, "Well, the blood and other animal parts are cooked before being pressed into pellets for feeding to the animals we’ll eat."

The fact, known by both the British and U.S. Governments, is that prions (the infective agents in mad cow disease) are not destroyed by any heat below 800o F., which is far above that which cooking produces. (Every housewife knows that anything cooked in water never goes above 212o F.)

So the cattle blood, which is still put in animal feed in America, can be passing live prions to the hogs, cattle, and chickens you munch on for supper.

Ninth, the FDA ruling does not forbid the inclusion of anything else in animal feed,—so anything else which contains protein is regularly added to the feed pellets.

To add to the profit, the rendering plants supplying the large feedlots have worked out a scheme to purchase dead dogs and cats from city animal shelters. Arrangements have also been made with city waste disposal departments, to ship them the road kill which is picked off the streets and roads. A nice arrangement, since all parties (except the eating public) make money on the deal. Millions of dead cats and dogs are fed to the cattle every year ("USDA Reports Spinal Cord Bits in Ground Beef," Associated Press release, February 21, 1997).

Tenth, the intestines and their contents are never (never) removed from the dead animals which are fed to the cows, hogs, chickens, and other livestock.

Eleventh, so there are a few safety regulations; but none of them are enforced and most are ignored. Ironically, the U.S. feed ban (which is not obeyed anyway) is less stringent than the one in Europe, which forbids all mammalian meat and bonemeal in any ruminant feed.

Officially, the practice of feeding dead animals to cattle was banned in 1997; but, unofficially, it continues to the present day. FDA reports, released in 2000 and again in early 2001, attested to the fact that the ban has been widely ignored by the feedlots.

The FDA only banned the practice after the situation in Britain had gotten so bad that cattle by the thousands were being slaughtered there, in an effort to stamp out mad cow disease. The evidence was abundant that it had been caused by feeding dead animals to cattle since the 1970s; we have been doing the same thing in America for over 20 years.

But there is more.


Animal manure is collected and put in the animal feed "in order to increase its protein content."

What the cattle are fed also helps spread the disease. Feedlot owners do not want to feed the animals too much grain, since it is expensive. In 1997, it was reported that 75% of the cattle in the U.S. are routinely fed livestock wastes ("The Next Bad Beef Scandal? Cattle Feed Now Contains Things like Chicken Manure and Dead Cats," U.S. News & World Report, September 1, 1997).

Anything and everything is fed to the animals you will eventually eat. The waste products from poultry plants, including the sawdust and old newspapers used as litter on the floors, to catch the manure, are also being fed to cattle (E.R. Haapapuro, N.D. Barnard, and M. Simon, "Review: Animal Waste Used as Livestock Feed: Dangers to Human Health," Preventive Medicine, September/October 1997).

In Arkansas alone, about 3 million pounds of chicken manure were fed to cattle in 1994 (ibid.).

Dr. Neal D. Bernard, head of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, mentions in the above article that chicken manure may contain dangerous bacteria, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter; parasites, such as tapeworms and Giardia lamblia; antibiotic residues; arsenic; and heavy metals (ibid.).

An Arkansas farmer was quoted in U.S. News & World Report as having recently purchased 745 tons of litter collected from the floors of local chicken-raising operations. After mixing it with small amounts of soybean bran, it is the ration he regularly feeds to his eight hundred head of cattle, making them, in his words, "fat as butterballs." That farmer is one of many who has found manure to be even cheaper food than commercial animal feed, which is a combination of manure and dead animals, plus some soy flour ("The Next Bad Beef Scandal," U.S. News & World Report, September 1, 1997).

A friend from Colorado phoned this week and told of his interview with a former worker at a large hog farm. The worker told him that the pigs were crowded so close together in their growing pens that they could hardly move. Under such conditions, many regularly died. The dead ones, covered with manure, when found were run through a grinder machine and fed to those still living. When the survivors were fat enough, they were shipped off to the slaughterhouse. 


Feed pellets, on which all kinds of livestock are grown and fattened, are produced in rendering plants. Here is a view of what happens inside them.

After touring a rendering plant in southern California and doing additional research on the subject, Keith Wood wrote an article on the activities inside a rendering plant. A watered-down version of his report was published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on ABC’s 20-20. He later wrote a more complete description which was published in Earth Island Journal. Here is the heart of that report:

"A rendering plant somewhere in southern California—The rendering plant floor is piled high with what is called ‘raw product.’ Thousands of dead dogs and cats; heads and hooves from cattle, sheep, pigs and horses; whole skunks; rats and raccoons—all waiting to be processed. In the 90o heat, the piles of dead animals seem to have a life of their own as millions of maggots swarm over the carcasses.

"Two bandana-masked men begin operating Bobcat mini-dozers, loading the ‘raw product’ into a ten-foot deep stainless steel pit. They are undocumented workers from Mexico, doing a dirty job. A giant auger grinder at the bottom of the pit begins to turn.

"Popping bones and squeezing flesh are sounds from a nightmare you will never forget.

"Rendering is the process of cooking raw animal material to remove the moisture and fat. The rendering plant works like a giant kitchen. The job of the man, called ‘the cooker,’ is to ‘blend’ the raw product in order to maintain a certain ratio between the carcasses of pets, livestock, poultry waste and supermarket rejects.

"Once the mass is cut into small pieces, it is transported to another auger for fine shredding. It is then cooked at 280o F. for one hour. The continuous batch cooking process goes on non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week as meat is melted away from bones in the hot ‘soup.’ During this cooking process, the so-called ‘soup’ produces a fat of yellow grease or tallow that rises to the top and is skimmed off.

"The cooked meat and bone are sent to a hammer-mill press, which squeezes out the remaining moisture and pulverizes the product into a gritty powder. Shaker screens sift out excess hair and large bone chips. Once the batch is finished, all that is left is meat, bonemeal, and yellow grease.

"As the American Journal of Veterinary Research explains, this recycled meat and bonemeal is used as ‘a source of protein and other nutrients in the diets of poultry and swine and in pet foods, with lesser amounts used in the feed of cattle and sheep. Animal fat is also used in animal feeds as an energy source.’

"Every day, hundreds of rendering plants across the United States truck millions of tons of this ‘food enhancer’ to poultry ranches, cattle feedlots, dairy and hog farms, fish feed plants and pet food manufacturers where it is mixed with other ingredients to feed billions of animals; many of which, meat-eating humans will eat.

"Rendering plants press large amounts of the protein powder into pellets which become the staple diet of cattle, hogs, and other livestock. Other by-products are bonemeal, blood meal, fat, tallow, and yellow grease.

"This elaborate system of food production through waste management has evolved into a recycling nightmare. For, you see, rendering plants are also processing toxic waste.

"Along with the dead animals (the ‘raw product’), a whole menu of other ingredients are tossed into the ‘soup.’

"Pesticides enter the rendering process via poisoned livestock, fish oil laced with bootleg DDT and other organophosphates that have accumulated in the bodies of West Coast mackerel and tuna.

"Because animals are frequently shoved into the pit with flea collars still attached, organophosphate-containing insecticides get into the mix as well. The insecticide Dursban arrives in the form of cattle insecticide patches. Pharmaceuticals leak from antibiotics in livestock; and euthanasic drugs, given to pets to put them to sleep, are also included. Heavy metals accumulate from a variety of sources—pet ID tags, surgical pins, and needles.

"Even plastic goes into the pit. Unsold supermarket meats, chicken and fish arrive in styrofoam trays and shrink-wrap. No one has time for the tedious chore of unwrapping thousands of rejected rotten meat packs. More plastic is added to the pits with the arrival of cattle ID tags, plastic insecticide patches and the green plastic bags containing dead pets from veterinarians.

"Skyrocketing labor costs are one of the economic factors forcing the corporate flesh peddlers to cheat. It is far too costly for plant personnel to cut off flea collars or unwrap spoiled T-Bone steaks. Every week millions of packages of plastic-wrapped meat go through the rendering process and become one of the unwanted ingredients in animal feed.

"The following sign was posted outside the main entrance to the rendering plant, as evidence that the animals entering it had been treated in a manner acceptable to humane societies and animal-rights organizations. But a second sign, indicating that the ‘food’ that came out of it was also safe for the poor creatures who would later eat it, was missing:

" ‘NOTICE—All Animals Are to Be Destroyed In a Humane Manner and No Processing Is to Begin Until the Animal Has Expired. —The Management’ "