Would you willingly eat dog food? Would you spray window cleaner on your Sunday roast? Would you inject meat with ammonia and feed it to your kids? This IS WHAT IS HAPPENING!! And you, the consumer, are not even aware of it!

Over the past few months I have been educating myself about my relationship with the planet and what role I play in the biosphere. Sounds like I have been smoking lots of potent stuff but, on the contrary, I have been learning some pretty interesting things.

I have, like many of you, been raised as a meat eater and have never questioned the origins of my tasty pre-packed lamb loin chops. It seems so natural to walk into a supermarket, grab your meat and go home to a delicious BBQ. How quick and simple it is to go to your MacDougall and order a burger and fries? Last night, I watched a documentary “Food Inc.” Let me tell you… there is NOTHING natural about what we are consuming!

Beef Patty Machine

As with any industry, the meat industry is driven by profits. Traditionally, all the extra cow parts, bits that had fallen on the floor, the intestines etc were ground up into a paste and made into pet food. Now, suddenly, you get a fast food company who is prepared to pay you more for this pink mush because they can sell it as Burger Patty. Let’s call them MacDougall’s so as to avoid a potential libel case. 

MacDougall’s will send their clown to the processing companies and order say 6 million burger patties. Large slaughterhouses, such as the one in North Carolina operated by the Smithfield Packing Company, can slaughter up to 32 THOUSAND pigs per day. They are only to happy to sell their pink  mush for higher profits. They tell the farmers “We want a 100 THOUSAND cows today.” 

The farmers meet the consumer demand by using various techniques. They grow genetically modified crops. They stop feeding the cows grass, but feed them a diet of  GM corn and ground up animal parts because it fattens the cow faster. They use anti-biotics and anabolic steroids. According to US FDA statistics, up to 13 million kilograms of anti-biotics are routinely pumped into cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens each year. They introduce disgustingly cruel battery farming techniques where cows are not free to roam but stand ankle deep in their own shit all day, they grow chickens to full size in just 39 days, whereas it used to take around 3 months. They even go so far as to clone animals.  And then…. then the slaughter begins.

Now with the slaughter process, the faeces, urine, the bloody intestines, the dirt on the floor etc comes the risk of food contamination and here is where ammonia comes in. Not to clean the tiled floor or the stainless steel counter tops, but the MEAT!! Ammonia, which is a main ingredient in window cleaner is used to “rinse” the pet food of e-coli before it is made into burger patties. This with the full knowledge and approval by the FDA. Two thirds of American burger meat has been treated this way and it plays an integral part in school feeding programs.

The selling point to this pink mush pet food is that while conventional beef-processing plants routinely churn out meat tainted with the deadly  E. coli 0157:H7 and with antibiotic-resistent salmonella, this stuff has been sterilized and is thus infection-free.

But it isn’t. Government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the Beef Products Inc and the U.S.D.A. about the effectiveness of the treatment. Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated.

My point is this. Modern cattle farms play a major role in global warming. The use of pesticides and fertilizers are wreaking havoc on our eco-systems. Feeding cattle on corn and animal parts has led not only to drug resistance in humans, but to such ghastly diseases such as Mad Cow.  When you are slaughtering 32 thousand animals in one day (almost a MILLION in a month) in just one plant of many, you cannot tell me there is no animal cruelty going on. If just ONE of those 32 thousand animals has the deadly e-coli virus or mad cow disease, the entire batch of meat can be infected. History shows it happens. Why then are you eating pet food rinsed in ammonia? 

I’ll tell you why. Because it is easy to believe the clown when he tells you his French Fries are made from real potatoes. These “fries” can lie under the back seat of your car for three months and won’t go moldy. You believe the clown when he tells you his pet-food patty is ground beef simply because they are uniform in size, shape and texture. 

We need to educate ourselves as to what we eat. We need to make conscientious decisions as to what we buy. Multi-national food stores will only respond to consumer buying patterns. It is up to YOU, the consumer, to insist on free-range and organic produce. Not only are these better for the environment, but are a damn sight tastier, superbly healthier and will make you feel great.

If you MUST eat meat, the least you can do is support Meat Free Monday. This is an initiative that was started by Sir Paul McCartney and is rapidly gaining popularity around the world.