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What is Filthy Feed?

Finding it hard to believe that cows eat chicken poop for breakfast? Confused about why our government allows such a risky and filthy product to be fed to animals used for food? Back in the 1960s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - the federal agency responsible for protecting the public health - banned the use of poultry litter as cattle feed.

In 1980, however, the FDA lifted the ban and decided to let state agricultural agencies regulate it instead. This decision was made decades before outbreaks of Mad Cow Disease started to occur and long before the health risks of feeding poultry litter were fully understood. Sadly for cows across the country, the states fared worse than the FDA in reigning in this risky business. After the FDA relinquished its authority, the states did not take up the task of monitoring and regulating the ill effects of litter feeding. Currently no one is keeping an eye on the practice, so no one is aware of the many problems it is causing.

   The disease-causing bacteria and other toxic substances present in the litter are dangerous to cows. Farmers compost the litter to remove some of the risky materials. However, composing and other processing methods are only effective if done properly. University extension services are frequently the only source of information on poultry litter processing - and they just can't seem to agree on how to do it. Without uniform and mandatory processing regulations, there is no guarantee that the nasty bacteria inherent to litter will be safely removed. Is this what you want your dinner to be eating?

Unfortunately, no amount of processing will remove infectious proteins that are responsible for Mad Cow Disease. Even if processing guidelines were more accurate and mandatory, the risk for Mad Cow Disease and its human form remain.

Now that you know what our country's cows are forced to swallow, it's time to take action. Since the states are not regulating this filthy feed, the FDA must step in and ban poultry litter as cattle feed once and for all. In August 2009, FACT filed an official petition with FDA to urge the Agency to prohibit the practice. We need your help to convince the government to reinstate the litter feeding ban NOW.

To learn more about this practice, download some of our nifty resources: (PDF FORMAT)

Filthy Feed: the risky and unregulated practice of feeding poultry litter to cattle.

FACT’s petition to the FDA

Filthy Feed brochure

Health threats for cows and people


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