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 Pet Food Alert!
Do you REALLY know what's in
your pet  food?

 

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International Association of Canine Professionals

4-D Meat: A Deadly Meal

 

 

YOU WOULDN'T FEED IT TO A DOG...

but it's good enough for racing greyhounds 

FROM A FORMER TRACK VETERINARIAN:

"When cattle die, regardless of what infectious or contagious disease, the carcasses are often salvaged by rendering plants. The cadavers are boned out, the flesh ground and frozen. It is not heated, cooked, or sterilized in any way. The rendering plants are not USDA inspected but they are 'monitored' and are required to add charcoal to it to keep it out of the human food chain. They label it 'unfit for human consumption.'

The greyhound people feed each animal a ration of this 'pathogenic smorgasbord' daily. They have the erroneous idea that when greyhounds are fed raw meat they run faster. Of course, the meat may contain many pathogens that killed the cattle in the first place as well as many of the drugs that were used to treat the sick cattle before they died.

As a member of the Iowa Veterinary Public Health Committee I made a strong effort to have this problem addressed, but was unable to accomplish anything. The committee chairman stated that he wanted to avoid controversy.

The Racing Commission told me not to be concerned. The Bureau of Animal Industries office in Des Moines told me that they have no intention of enforcing the laws on the racetracks of America and that this was the duty of the state vet. The state vet told me that he had no jurisdiction because the Racing Commission was set up by the legislature to be a self-regulating entity and that it was up to veterinarians like myself (who had contracts with the Racing Commission) to see that the laws were compiled with."

Dr. Arthur Strohbehn, DVM
Former Track Veterinarian
Council Bluffs, Iowa

 

What Is It?

4-D meat is the ultimate by-product of commercial rendering plants. Some of it is sterilized by boiling and becomes a product known as "tankage," which is a protein source for animal feed. What remains, raw and unsterilized, is packaged in plastic-wrapped rolls and sold to greyhound racetracks and trainers around the country.

While many kennels feed their greyhounds a quality meat and vegetable high-protein diet, the standard industry feed for the racing greyhound is raw 4-D meat. The four D's stand for animals, primarily cattle and horses, that are dead, dying, diseased or down (disabled) at slaughter. Cattle that are sick and near death are pumped full of drugs like penicillin, procaine, and trimethoprim in a desperate attempt to save them. These drugs, as well as the infectious or contagious pathogens that killed the food-source animals, remain in their systems after slaughter. The meat rendered from them can also carry anthrax, botulism, lockjaw, tuberculosis, salmonella, and other diseases.

The feeding of 4-D meat also affects state-mandated urine tests on racing greyhounds. Procaine, an anesthetic used to deaden pain, can be injected into a dog prior to a race, affecting the dog's performance. Positive results from a drug test after a race result in a fine and bitter complaints from the trainers, who argue correctly that there is no way to determine the source of the drug in the urine - whether from pill, injection, or 4-D meat.

A racing greyhound requires one to two pounds of meat per day and the advantages of 4-D to the trainer are availability and price. It's cheap. At about 45 cents per pound, that translates to less than a dollar a day per dog. The average size of a racing kennel at a mid-sized track is 60 greyhounds. Since 4-D meat is served raw to racing greyhounds, the health hazards to the dogs range from gastro-enteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, to food poisoning and death. Dogs are often unable to race due to the onset of acute vomiting and diarrhea, known in the industry as "blow-out."

Who Makes It?

4-D is produced by animal rendering plants. Many of the larger companies such as Qual-Pet, a subsidiary of National By-Products (parent company: Holly Farms Corp.), provide perks including freezers and jackets displaying the company name free of charge to kennels that continue to purchase their product. Another brand of 4-D is Monfort, a subsidiary of Conagra, Inc., which also owns Beatrice Foods and the Swift Meat Packing Company. Monfort, with headquarters in Greeley, Colorado, has plants in Iowa, Alabama, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.

Is It Legal?

The feeding of 4-D meat violates state animal welfare laws that require a "wholesome" diet for animals in commercial establishments and enterprises. Production of 4-D meat violates state laws that require the bodies of dead animals to be disposed of by cooking, burning, or burying. Section 301 of the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits interstate commerce of adulterated food, defined in Section 402 (342) of the Act to be food that is "in whole or in part the product of a diseased animal or of an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter," or "if it consists in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance..."

Think You're Safe?

Think again. Kennel workers who handle 4-D meat are exposed to the same health hazards as the dogs. The frozen meat is left out on counters to thaw, and workers routinely mix itwith their bare hands. There is a documented case of one kennel worker in Iowa who became quite ill and was diagnosed with salmonellosis after he sought treatment at a local hospital.

Racetrack patrons are also at risk. Flies, attracted to the serosanguinous fluid exuding from the thawing meat, travel from the kennel area to the track food stands.

Despite the "monitoring" efforts of the USDA and the required addition of charcoal to insure 4-D meat is kept out of the human food chain, consider the following article which appeared in the April 12, 1993 edition of USA TODAY:

"Oakland - Federal agents have closed Coast Sausage Company, seizing 100,000 pounds of sausage made from cattle officials labeled 4-D - diseased, disabled, down and dying. 75% of the sausage was sold to military bases, agents said. Coast officials couldn't be reached."

Recent News Alert - Twelve dogs ill and three dogs destroyed due to "Alabama Rot," an unrelated condition caused by E. Coli toxicity in 4-D meat.

 

 

Sources:

bulletDr. Arthur Strohbehn, DVM
bullet"Racing Greyhounds," by Marcia King, Dog Fancy Magazine, 1991
bullet"See How They Run," by Phil Maggitti, Animals' Agenda, 1992
bullet"Going to the Dogs," by James A. Grisanzio, Animals Magazine, 1993
bulletUSA TODAY
bulletWard's Business Directory
bulletDun & Bradstreet Business Locator

 

 

© Copyright 1997-1999 Greyhound Protection League
For permissible use, read this.

 

 

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