Some of the waste is put back into animal feed and even given to the same animal which the waste is coming from. Mad Cow Disease stemmed from cows eating feed that had contaminated cow parts in the food. Some of the waste is decomposed and turned into fertilizer for farms. Occasionally the waste is simply dumped out and the decomposing meats can cause problems if it gets into contact with local water or food supplies.
Slaughter waste is considered any part of an animal that is deemed inedible (like the brain, the spinal cord, and the entrails). Like bburg8687 says, some of the waste is put back into the animal feed. Mad Cow Disease (or BSE as it is also known), is a brain disease that affects the nervous system of the infected cow – by the time the cow exhibits signs of this disease, it means the disease has progressed to a point where it cannot be treated, and the cow usually dies within 3 months. The first case of Mad Cow occurred in the UK in the mid-1980s – it is caused by an infectious protein that is passed called a “prion” that is passed down from cow to cow through the proteins of the dead animal they are eating. It is not transferrable any other way except through cows systematically being fed the meat of other cows, so essentially, it is caused by humans (cows in the wild would not resort to eating each other, as they are by nature not an omnivorous species). Humans are also susceptibe to getting the disease from eating infected meat. While there are obvious risks associated with feeding cows to other cows, this practice has not been outlawed; instead, restrictions have been enforced by the FDA (see FDA link). Another way slaughter waste is dealt with is farmers simply allow dead animals to rot in the open air, or else, in shallow pits, mainly to avoid having to pay the fees imposed by the rendering plants which dispose of whole animals, or animal parts. However, leaving animals or animal parts to rot on the ground (especially in large numbers) can compromise the quality of groundwater – which, of course, is a serious problem. Additionally, this is not good for rendering plants as many have had to close due to lack of business. This is perpetuated by the fact that many plants are charging steeply for the removal of even just one carcass (horse carcasses being the most expensive at around $200). For beef slaughter alone, it costs the butchering industry approximately $10 million a year in disposal fees. Please see the webcache link below for more information.
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