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29 February 2008


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Colorado Transplant

I want to add: Sometimes you can create a distraction from the real issue by blaming the messenger.


"if you’re going to eat factory farmed hamburger, this is what you get, folks."

Well I'm depressed. I can't afford to buy the meat I'd like to buy so my hope rests in making the meat I can afford SAFER. My tax dollars are paying the USDA inspectors to apparently sleep on the job (times 5).


When it comes to factory farming and the treatment of livestock, I have a hard time believing what anybody says.

On the one hand, we have agribusiness, who does not have a stellar track record.

On the other hand, we have Animal Rights activists, who have a track record of manipulating video "evidence." They have at times pawned off decades old footage out of context, and claimed it's recent. They have also staged atrocities for their shock value. The ends justify the means, in their world. The AR activists require a steady stream of animal welfare atrocities to maintain/increase their influence, and to keep their fund-raising machines going.

And then we have the USDA. I wonder if they are much more than an extension of agribusiness, especially under the current administration.

I don't believe any of them.

Susan Fox

SLT- I'm not a vegan or a vegetarian. I consider myself a mindful omnivore and would like to point out that you always have the option to choose, as we have, not to buy factory-farmed meat at all, either in grocery stores or restaurants. I must admit, though, that we can and do buy local grass-fed beef and organic free-range chicken. I try to always be aware of where our food has come from.

There are a variety of other sources of protein available to you, if cruelty-free meat is beyond your budget, like beans, soy, humanely produced eggs and some types of seafood (no factory-farmed salmon, over-fished species and easy on the tuna because of the mercury content). If it's red meat you crave, consider bison.

When one starts to eliminate food choices based on pesticide use, embedded,treatment of the animals and simply quality and taste, one can see how far we have come from being able to make safe, humane choices about what to eat without paying a premium. Our profit-driven industrial "food" delivery system is broken. And people like you are stuck with limited options.

I agree with you totally about the USDA inspectors. Our tax dollars at "work"? Not.


Sorry for being misleading Susan. I meant I can't afford the kind of meat I'd like to buy for my 8 dogs. I myself haven't eaten meat in over 25 years.

Colorado Transplant

Bravo for your remarks!

Susan Fox

Oh. I'd be interested in hearing what you would like to buy and what you do get for them.

Nadine L.

**Two inspectors on leave over beef recall** Whaddyaknow. Paid off probably, as I opined earlier.

On Yahoo news:


Susan Fox

Yeah, guess they couldn't tell where the beef was.

Gina Spadafori

So many of us are in "reduced circumstances," as my gram used to delicately put it.

I think I'm going to ask Christie to think about a blog post in this area. As in, if you prepare meals at home for pets and want sustainably, humanely raised meats, what do you do to make it work financially?


Gina - that would be GREAT! I would love to read some possible ideas and suggestions on that topic. Now if only my dress size was in 'reduced circumstances'...

hilarious, I know.



I'd *like* to buy the types of meat you mention (organic free range chicken, etc) but have to purchase what I can afford - that is, anything on sale at the grocery store or reduced because it's about to expire. The difference in price is significant and unless the economy's arrow starts pointing UP for several years, I don't see things changing financially for us. I do try to incorporate some meatless meals for the dogs too using eggs, beans and dairy but usually they get some type of meat included in their daily meals.

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

This might give you an idea of why the USDA was not in the loop...

USDA Rejects "Downer" Cow Ban


Christopher Lee reports for The Washington Post, "Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer told Congress yesterday that he would not endorse an outright ban on 'downer' cows entering the food supply or back stiffer penalties for regulatory violations by meat-processing plants in the wake of the largest beef recall in the nation's history."

If you dont see the practice as a problem you arent likely to do anything about it.

Here are some other things to consider:

Downer cows are what the "beef" in dog food typically comes from. Whenever you put that sack of Menu Foods chow in front of Fido this is what he is getting.

But at least under normal rules (read: pre-Bush) the cows would be killed where they were and hauled off dead to the animal processing plat (which might in fact be the same plant - but just held in seperate stock).

But at least they were no longer suffering.

But there is a company in Wis. called Animax that also deals in salvaging value from down cows, dead cows and discarded animal fat etc... Their products includ Bio-fuels. Pre-mad cow the tankage that these guys used to make out of these animals might well have been fed back to cows as a suppliment.

The reason that the USDA no longer seems to see this as a problem is that it is considered a technicality. These animals are on the site where they are about to be killed and the walk-in rule seems to many in that business as silly (I dont). In fact it serves a very important purpose. Cows can be unable to walk for a number of reasons which include sickness from things ranging from menangitis to mad cow.

Even so the slaughter houses can still salvage the animal for human food if they have a vet on site who can certify that the animal is down for non-pathogenic reasons such as a broken leg or such. The animal can then be killed where it lays and hauled into the building for butchering. No problem!

THIS is the real issue. They dont want to pay for the vet's services.

Nadine L.

Christie, yes, please do a blog post!

Gina Spadafori

Speaking for the Divine Miss C ... I know she has out of state company and has told me she won't even be checking her e-mail this weekend (yeah, rightey-o on that, ha!). But I'll mention it to her when her company has left.


Perhaps too broad of a tangent to include in the same blog post, but I was thinking that even those who feed prepared pet food (kibble/canned) might be interested in learning if there are any products available which use only cage free eggs, humanely raised meat, etc. Most product labels I've read do not specify the conditions under which their protein sources are harvested in which case one might assume they are buying the cheapest available. Maybe there are some products that do specify?

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

Scout is particularly fond of McD's double cheeseburgers. Two of those make a pretty hardy meal for him.

But I can appreciate the folks in "reduced circumstances".

My mom used to buy the waste meat cuts like chicken necks and outdated (or nearly so) meats. There are lots of trimmings and stuff that often go to waste that any dog would gobble up!

The butchers at the grocery store got to know her and would put stuff aside for her. It didnt cost much. A whole meat product like that packs a lot more nutrition than the corn puffs you buy in those bags. You dont have to go out of your way or break the bank to get this stuff.

I've posted before that I think the whole "pet food" industry has marketed the idea that table scraps are bad for dogs INCLUDING the notion that somehow chicken bones are bad for them. Except for very small breeds that dont have the choppers that Scoutie has the mushy bones of KFC or supermarket broasted (pressure cooked) chicken are little more than the proverbial "rubber chicken" and get chopped up with relish by any standard sized dog with good teeth.

I find that my dogs have eaten pretty much everything from left over pasta and spagetti to donuts and greatly prefer that to the meat cereal. The greatest regret of my recent life was in fact deluding myself into thinking that I was doing some great favor for Brandy by buying her that Beef Cuts & Gravy because he liked it so much. Since then whenever possible and exept for a little free choice snack, Scout eats what I eat.

My wife (being a cheap German) still buys bag food for him but I am always happiest when he leaves it on his plate. But even so, consumate cookie baker that she is she has a recipe for salmon biscuits that he loves so he eats some grain products too.

Frankly Id rather give him a bowl of generic Cheerios with milk than some thing that came out of a bag with a happy dog printed on it.

If you really love your dog (and who here doesnt?) you can find a way.

Gina Spadafori

Share the recipe!


Pepper still gets kibble, but not nearly as much as she used to. Except for big raw bones for her to chew on, I can't get used to totally raw food for her.

I am making "liver brownies" for Pepper (dog) , "liver pudding" for Lindsey (cat) -- dump a bunch of livers (even the free-range liver at the farmers' market isn't expensive) in the food processer, add one or two eggs (with shell, wash first), and a cup or so of pumpkin/winter squash, then process until it's "pink goo."

For "liver pudding" for the cat, pour some out and put it in a pyrex baking dish with lid.

For "liver brownies" for the dog, then add a grain flour (I alternate between oatmeal, whole wheat, corn meal and rye flour -- supposedly, there is less chance of canine grain allergies if you rotate grains) until you get a thick paste. Grease a jelly roll pan and pour in the batter.

Bake both in a 325 degree oven (yes, it stinks up the house) until done (knife comes out clean in both). Give as treats/supplements to main food.


"If you really love your dog (and who here doesnt?) you can find a way."

By my standards, I love my dogs very much and they don't care about anyone else's standards. I can't afford to feed them as I would like to and I lament the fact that what I can (barely) afford is, as I have been learning over the past year, lower quality than what it should be if everyone was doing their jobs.


If you throw a ripe banana or two in with the liver brownies/pudding, it smells better while baking -- almost like banana bread. I've also added spinach for more vitamins.

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

slt, I appreciate your situation.

I did not mean to hurt your feelings.

I am saying though that if you seek out alternatives it may well not turn out to be as expensive as you might think.

My mom did not grow up with much money. Coming out of the depression they still managed to have dogs that lived mostly on table scraps and the cheapest of the cheap meats and stuff that would have otherwise been thrown out.

You might well be surprised not only at what you can get but what they will eat and do well on! You might even find yourself saving money.

If you think about it, back then they did not have commercial dog foods like we have now and her dogs were always fat and sassy. Often too fat in fact :-)

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

Gina, I will see if I can pry it out of her...

Re the liver stuff... My mom used to just fry it up or cut it up and toss in in chunks on their dish. They gobbled it up just like that!

Of course the fried chicken necks were the favorite.

When I bring home KFC or deli (broasted) chicken my old Brandy used to get really excited.

Scout does now too.


It is my understanding that the footage was taken by a local human organisation and distributed by HSUS. In either case HSUS and USDA is not an either/or. Each should do what their organisation is meant to do. And it seems to me that they are. I would support fundign and legislating to allow USDA to do what they are ment to do more often and more emphatically.

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