Premium dog foods contain 25-40 percent of readily digestible beef byproduct.1 Various types of glue are manufactured from rendered animal protein. Manufacturers use components of bovine blood to make fire retardant. Gelatin from beef connective tissue is found in many foods, in the manufacture of sponges, and in cosmetics.2 White hooves make a suitable raw material for imitation ivory and black hooves aid in the manufacture of potassium cyanide for gold extraction. Imitation tortoiseshell comes from horns. Bones provide the raw material for making crochet needles, dice, chess pieces, electrical bushings, buttons, and knife handles.3
Chemical manufacturing processes use animal fats regularly. They are used in the manufacture of biodegradable soaps.4 Automotive antifreeze contains animal-fat-derived glycerol. Several lubricant recipes include beef fat. The stearic acid used in tires to help the rubber hold its shape under constant stress and friction.
Many byproducts have medical uses. Hemophilia treatment (thrombin), Rh factor typing (albumin), cementing skin grafts (thrombin), wound cleansing (fibrinolysin), and other medical processes use components from beef blood.5 Before synthetic sources were developed, beef adrenal glands constituted an important source of epinephrine, a hormone used to relieve asthmatic attacks among other things. Other substances derived from various organs also have medicinal uses. Some sutures used for internal surgery come from bovine intestine. Plastic surgeons use beef cartilage to repair flat bones such those found in the face. Heart surgeons use the pericardial tissue during open-heart surgery to prevent a heart patient’s own pericardial tissue from adhering to his ribcage during the healing process.
Proper management of the hide, the most economically valuable byproduct, begins as soon as the animal is born. The control of parasites and mud, the placement of brands and injection sites, and the prevention of injury by removing protrusions from handling facilities are all as important to hide value as the actual removal and treatment of the hide at harvest.6 Leather from these hides eventually finds its way into our lives in the form of clothing, shoes, boots, belts, purses, wallets, gloves, luggage, upholstery, and baseballs.7
1S. M. Murray, “Raw and rendered animal by-products as ingredients in dog diets,” Journal of Animal Science, Vol. 75, No. 9, September 1997: 2497-2505.
2American National Cattle Women, Inc. in cooperation with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, and Colorado State University. Wow That Cow. http://www.beef.org/library/publications/wow_that_cow/index.htm.
3John R. Romans et al., The Meat We Eat, 14th ed. (Interstate Publishers Inc., Danville, Illinois, 2001) 275-346.
5American National Cattle Women.
7American National Cattle Women.