Animal Rendering

What happens after slaughter
Animal Rendering
You can help put a stop to this

Did you know cow’s blood is fed back to cows? Or that the bodies of pigs are rendered to produce calf milk replacer?

Every year, 10 billion land animals are killed in the United States for their flesh. Between 33-50% of an animal killed will not be consumed by humans. What happens to the body parts of these slaughtered animals that people do not want to eat? Blood, feathers, hooves, and unwanted fat are sent to rendering plants. There are approximately 300 rendering plants in North America, according to the National Renderers Association. They produce approximately 22.1 billion pounds of rendered products annually. The remains from slaughterhouses are the primary contributors to rendering plants and dead bodies from concentrated feedlots are the second largest contributor. 

The list of body and body parts that end up at rendering plants is lengthy. 

  • Blood, internal organs, bones, heads, hooves, fur, and feathers
  • Animals from farms who die prior to slaughter
  • Euthanized dogs and cats from shelters
  • Euthanized animals from veterinary clinics
  • Wildlife killed by motor vehicles
  • Expired or rejected supermarket meat

Can you imagine sending your beloved companion dog or cat to a rendering facility to feed cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs, or fishes? 

The blood, bones, hooves, fur, and feathers sent to rendering plants came from living, sentient beings who likely met their fate terrified and suffering. They are discarded like trash.

The rendering facility cuts the larger body parts into small pieces, about an inch in diameter, when they arrive. Then the pieces are funneled into large cooking vats. The heating systems remove extra moisture and kill microorganisms. The fat, protein, and water are then separated into final products and byproducts. 


There are two product categories; edible and inedible. The edible is considered safe for human use and the inedible is not. Edible products are typically rendered fats commonly used in margarine, shortening, soap, cosmetics, and self-care products. Did you know there could be rendered animals in your lipstick?!  Products that are deemed inedible for humans are used in products like dog and cat food, farmed animal feed, and fish feed. 

Approximately 85% of rendered animal products are used in large animal feed. Animals raised in concentrated feed operations are fed rendered products on a daily basis. Animals who are herbivores are fed a carnivorous diet. This will be hard for you to believe, because it is so shocking, but animals are often fed their own species. 

Shelters and veterinary clinics use a drug called sodium pentobarbital to euthanize or kill animals. This drug shows up in dog, cat, and farmed animal feed. The rendering process will not break it down (read about the benefits of a plant-based diet for dogs on page 12). Antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides have also been identified in final products. 


Rendering plants exist because humans exploit, use and eat animals on a daily basis. We must stop supplying these facilities with animals to render. Cut animals and their byproducts out of your diet. Stop eating their eggs and drinking their milk. Stop breeding cats and dogs. Once we do these things, we can start the process of phasing out rendering plants. 

Meeker, David L, and C. R. Hamilton. “AN OVERVIEW OF THE RENDERING INDUSTRY.”, 
North American Renders Association. “The Rendering Industry.” National Renderers, June 2014,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. “Listed Slaughter and Rendering Establishments.” U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, 2 Apr. 2021,

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