Will Euthanized Livestock End Up in Pet Food?


Active member
Mar 13, 2014
New Hampshire
Susan Thixton of 'The Truth About Pet Food' wrote an article about INCREASED number of farm animals being euthanized due to COVID-19, and HOW these animals may end up in Pet Food.

The Baltimore Sun states “Nearly 2 million chickens at farms in Maryland and Delaware will be destroyed instead of processed for meat, a result of coronavirus-related staffing shortages at processing plants.” USA Today reports “Iowa pork producers lost access to four major pork processing plants at least temporarily as workers became ill with COVID-19: Tyson plants in Columbus Junction and Perry, a Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a JBS plant in Worthington, Minnesota, both just across the Iowa border. Mike Naig, Iowa’s agriculture secretary, said producers are asking questions about how to dispose of pigs if they’re forced to euthanize them. They’re considering rendering, composting and burial.”

Most livestock farms work on a strict schedule. Animals live a scheduled time frame before slaughter. After slaughter, confinement barns are filled again with young animals that also live only as long as the scheduled time frame. When the slaughter of these animals stops – as in the current case of slaughter facilities shut down related to coronavirus problems – production of baby animals does not stop, creating a backlog problem for factory farms. Young animals need to be moved to confinement barns – but there is no space in the confinement barns due to slaughter facilities shutting down. This backlog has caused some livestock producers to euthanize animals in order to keep the factory farming system operating.

Opinion of factory farming aside, pet owners should be very concerned how the millions of livestock will be euthanized and where those animals will end up. Rendering is often considered as a disposal method for the worst livestock waste. As example, in 2018 when Hurricane Florence flooded North and South Carolina, millions of drowned livestock animals were rendered – ultimately ending up in pet food.

Even though it is a violation of federal law, the FDA openly allows “animals that have died other than by slaughter” to be processed into pet food with no warning or disclosure on the pet food label for the consumer.

Will the FDA make the same exception to federal law (selective enforcement) and allow these euthanized livestock animals to become pet food ingredients?

Opinion: Probably so. And we’ll never be told which pet foods contain ingredients sourced from these euthanized livestock animals.

Pet owners deserve to know if a meat or meat meal is sourced from euthanized factory farmed animals, animals that died other than by slaughter, or USDA inspected and passed.

We deserve to know what our pets are eating.

Dr. Andrew Jones