An animal product is any material derived from the body of a non-human animal.[1] Examples are fat, flesh, blood, milk, eggs, and lesser known products, such as isinglass and rennet.[2]

A dish called "Duck, Duck, Duck" because the three parts come from the complex body of the duck: duck eggs, duck confit and roast duck breast
Varieties of goat cheese

Animal by-products, as defined by the USDA, are products harvested or manufactured from livestock other than muscle meat.[3] In the EU, animal by-products (ABPs) are defined somewhat more broadly, as materials from animals that people do not consume.[4] Thus, chicken eggs for human consumption are considered by-products in the US but not France; whereas eggs destined for animal feed are classified as animal by-products in both countries. This does not in itself reflect on the condition, safety, or wholesomeness of the product.

Animal by-products are carcasses and parts of carcasses from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians, and products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, including catering waste. These products may go through a process known as rendering to be made into human and non-human foodstuffs, fats, and other material that can be sold to make commercial products such as cosmetics, paint, cleaners, polishes, glue, soap and ink. The sale of animal by-products allows the meat industry to compete economically with industries selling sources of vegetable protein.[5]

The word animals includes all species in the biological kingdom Animalia, including, for example, tetrapods, arthropods, and mollusks. Generally, products made from fossilized or decomposed animals, such as petroleum formed from the ancient remains of marine animals are not considered animal products. Crops grown in soil fertilized with animal remains are rarely characterized as animal products. Products sourced from humans (ex; hair sold for wigs, donated blood) are not typically classified as animal products even though humans are part of the animal kingdom.

Increased production and consumption over the past 50 years has led to widespread environmental and animal welfare impacts. These range from being linked to 80% of Amazonian deforestation[6] to the welfare implications of using chick culling shredders on live day old-chicks for 7 billion of them each year.[7]

Several popular diet patterns prohibit the inclusion of some categories of animal products and may also limit the conditions of when other animal products may be permitted. This includes but not limited to secular diets; like, vegetarian, pescetarian, and paleolithic diets, as well as religious diets, such as kosher, halal, mahayana, macrobiotic, and sattvic diets. Other diets, such as vegan-vegetarian diets and all its subsets exclude any material of animal origin.[8] Scholarly, the term animal source foods (ASFs) has been used to refer to these animal products and by-products collectively.[9]

In international trade legislation, the terminology products of animal origin (POAO) is used for referring to foods and goods that are derived from animals or have close relation to them.[10]

Slaughterhouse waste edit

 
Slaughterhouse waste

Slaughterhouse waste is defined as animal body parts cut off in the preparation of carcasses for use as food. This waste can come from several sources, including slaughterhouses, restaurants, stores and farms. In the UK, slaughterhouse waste is classed as category 3 risk waste in the Animal By-Products Regulations, with the exception of condemned meat which is classed as category 2 risk.

By-products in pet food edit

The leftover pieces that come from the process of stripping meat from animals tends to get used for different purposes. One of them is to put these parts into pet food.[11] Many large, well-known pet food brands use animal by-products as protein sources in their recipes. This can include animal feet, livers, lungs, heads, spleens, etc or an admixture in the form of meat and bone meal. These organs are usually not eaten by humans depending on culture, but are safe and nutritious for pets regardless. By-products can also include bad-looking pieces. They are always cooked (rendered) to kill pathogens.[11] Some pet food makers advertise the lack of by-products to appeal to buyers, a move criticized for contributing to food waste and reducing sustainability.[12]

Effects of Production edit

Environmental impact edit

 
Livestock production requires large areas of land.

Animal husbandry has a significant impact on the world environment. Both production and consumption of animal products have increased rapidly. Over the past 50 years, meat production has tripled, whereas the production of dairy products doubled and that of eggs almost increased fourfold.[13] Meanwhile, meat consumption has nearly doubled worldwide. Developing countries had a surge in meat consumption, particularly of monogastric livestock.[14] Being a part of the animal–industrial complex, animal agriculture drives climate change, ocean acidification, and biodiversity loss, and kills 60 billion animals annually.[15] It uses between 20 and 33% of the world's fresh water,[16] Livestock, and the production of feed for them, occupy about a third of the Earth's ice-free land.[17] Livestock production contributes to species extinction, desertification,[18] and habitat destruction.[19] and is the primary driver of the Holocene extinction.[20][21][22][23][24] Some 70% of the agricultural land and 30% of the total land surface of the Earth is involved directly or indirectly in animal agriculture.[25] Habitat is destroyed by clearing forests and converting land to grow feed crops and for grazing, while predators and herbivores are frequently targeted because of a perceived threat to livestock profits; for example, animal husbandry causes up to 91% of the deforestation in the Amazon region.[26] In addition, livestock produce greenhouse gases. Cows produce some 570 million cubic metres of methane per day,[27] that accounts for 35 to 40% of the overall methane emissions of the planet.[28] Further, livestock production is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide.[28][29][30]

Animal welfare edit

Since the 18th century, people have become increasingly concerned about the welfare of farm animals. Possible measures of welfare include longevity, behavior, physiology, reproduction, freedom from disease, and freedom from immunosuppression. Standards and laws for animal welfare have been created worldwide, broadly in line with the most widely held position in the western world, a form of utilitarianism: that it is morally acceptable for humans to use non-human animals, provided that no unnecessary suffering is caused, and that the benefits to humans outweigh the costs to the livestock. An opposing view is that animals have rights, should not be regarded as property, are not necessary to use, and should never be used by humans.[31][32][33][34][35] Live export of animals has risen to meet increased global demand for livestock such as in the Middle East. Animal rights activists have objected to long-distance transport of animals; one result was the banning of live exports from New Zealand in 2003.[36]

Additives edit

  • Carmine, derived from crushed cochineal beetles, is a red or purple substance commonly used in food products.[37] It is common in food products such as juice, candy, and yogurt.[38][39] The presence of carmine in these products has been a source of controversy.[40][41] One major source of controversy was the use of carmine in Starbucks frappuccinos.[42][43] Carmine is an allergen according to the FDA.[44] It takes about 70,000 female insects to produce a pound of dye.[45]
  • L-cysteine from human hair and pig bristles (used in the production of biscuits, bread and dietary supplements)
  • Rennet (commonly used in the production of cheese)
  • Shellac (commonly used for food dye, food glaze and medicine glaze)
  • Swiftlet's nest (made of saliva)

Food edit

Non-food animal products edit

See also edit

References edit

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Further reading edit