In a bold Swiftian essay from a non-fiction book soon to be published called Eating Animals, New York novelist Jonathan Safer Foer brings up an unpleasant fact:
Rendering—the conversion of animal protein unfit for human consumption into food for livestock and pets—allows processing plants to transform useless dead dogs into productive members of the food chain. In America, millions of dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters every year become the food for our food.
Guess I should have known. After all, as Foer points out:
Few people sufficiently appreciate the colossal task of feeding a world of billions of omnivores who demand meat with their potatoes.
But at the same time, there are folks out there in the world raising cattle, working to do the job right, for the herd, for meat-eaters, and "in conjunction with [Federal and state] agencies," as rancher Gareth Plank explains in a video report for the Redding Searchlight (below).
That means working to make sure the operation is improving the clarity of local streams, to encourage salmon to spawn. It means irrigating thoughtfully, to avoid waste (though Plank complains about restrictions on his water use). And it clearly means a lot of plain hard work.
Take a look: