Courteous drivers want your dead and disabled animals


Deanna found this vintage home canning and label book from the Worthington Rendering Company. "Our gift to you in appreciation of your calls" for "dead and disabled animals."


    1. Most likely livestock – not road kill.

      You can’t be sure. The label says “ALL” dead and disabled. The standards for pet food (and livestock feed) back in those days weren’t nearly as stringent as they are today. Fido will chow on beef trimmings just as soon as he’ll chew on “mechanically separated” sciuridae and squab.(edit)- And so would people, as long as the label advertised some animal with a similar flavor. “Chicken and rabbit in the same can?! WOTTANIDEA!” nom nom nom

  1. If you look at just behind the truck cab, there appears to be a Chain/Sprocket drive. And directly above it on the roof looks to be a door of some sort.

    Looks like they did their rendering on their way to Hormel (j/k)

  2. I was relieved to know that they only load dead and disabled animals into clean and sanitary disinfected trucks. Putting a dead or disabled animal into a dirty truck would just be cruel.

  3. RJ, I’m reminded of this youtube video, where a whole-foods-conscious cook makes old-style fast food chicken nuggets (before they were white meat) and tries to convince 1st graders they are disgusting. If you’ve ever known someone that age, you can guess… fail! kids still love chicken nuggets. It doesn’t matter if they are made from ground up seasoned meat bits thickened with flour.

  4. there’s still a rendering plant in that area- we’ve been stuck downwind of those trucks more than once on our way to Grandpa’s!

  5. As someone living on a little farm and who had to call the “dead and disabled truck” a few times myself for horses, I can attest this is a legitimate business.   Rendering plants convert carcasses (unsuitable for use as meat) into chemically/heat separated animal products such as bone meal or animal-based grease.    Your local city dog pound or county road-kill removal crew may use a rendering plant’s services.   Vet offices, zoos, and dairy farms also send carcasses to rendering.

    It costs us $250 to have a horse removed and taken to the rendering plant.   They do indeed need to clean the truck between stops (to control the spread of disease onto the next farm).    The company we use is a long-time mom & pop operation, and they haul to a big corporate Valley Proteins operation.    Rendering plants are in most any areas there is livestock farming.   You may find them calling themselves “protein” suppliers or plants.   

    Rendered products go into everything from makeup to chemicals to soaps to sometimes even pet food additives. 

  6. What Funchy said…Missus Fistyebuns spent a lot of time on her grandparents’ farm growing up, and fondly recalls cow carcasses being dragged out to the end of the lane to wait for the rendering truck…how they would bloat in the summer sun; freeze into giant cowsicles in the winter…
    Ah, memories.

    1. I grew up quite near, but not quite in the country. My friend’s grandfather was a farmer, and one winter his dog died. I remember that he kept the frozen-solid dog in the barn’s hay loft until the ground thawed out enough to bury him.

      1. Aye.  For a lot of farm folk I know, dogs occupy a space in between livestock and household pets – afforded some courtesies and protections the stock don’t have, but not quite treated like us city slickers do our pets. 

        When we had to have a beloved pooch put down a couple winters ago, we were fortunate to find a spot under the snow on the south side of a farm shed at the aforementioned farm to bury her.  She shares a doggy graveyard with all the dogs that lived on the farm before she ever came along. 

        Excuse me, I’m getting a bit verklempt now…

  7. A few years ago, they would pay you for a dead horse. Now that they aren’t allowed to turn it into dog food, it costs about $300 for a pickup. You can bury it on your own property if you follow some guidelines (depth, distance from a well…) if you have the equipment. I know there’s a horse buried on our property, but don’t know where.
    We had a horse picked up once… there was already a cow and newborn calf on the truck; obviously both had died in giving birth. Sad.

  8. There’s extensive commentary about the rendering industry in the ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ books, seeing as the books revolve around large animal veterinary practice.

  9. I’ll second and third the comments of those who are singing the praises of the rendering truck. I have a small flock of sheep. So far, I haven’t lost an adult, and the lambs are small enough that I can handle the carcasses by myself, but I dread the day I have to take care of an adult carcass. I will probably end up composting it, because I don’t have heavy equipment, want to avoid the expense of hiring heavy equipment, and have few locations on my property that are suitable for burying a large animal. Since 1989, sheep older than 1 year have been excluded from the rendering process due to “the unsubstantiated claim by the British government that rendered sheep carcasses (infected with scrapie) were the cause of the mad cow disease outbreak.” I’d love to have a rendering truck as an option.

  10. that truck pulls up to the back of the animal shelter I work at, 3 times a week. they take all of our dead wildlife and cook it into “animal fat” and “meat and bone meal” that goes into cheap dog and cat food as well as animal feeds that are fed to livestock. I find the whole process thoroughly disturbing and disgusting. Some of the dead animals they pick up from us have been rotting for weeks before we pick them up. there are maggots as well. Worst of all, some of our dead wildlife was not picked up as roadkill, but rather picked up alive and gravely sick or injured and had to be euthanized. Studies have shown that sodium pentabarbitol (euthanasia solution) is not completely destroyed in the rendering process, and traces of this solution have been found in dog and cat foods. As far as I know, nobody has done a study on sodium pentabarbitol being fed to the cows, pigs, and chickens that we in turn eat. mmm, tasty.

    oh, by the way. we cremate our domestic animals. most shelters don’t. they get thrown in the cooker as well. so yes, dogs and cats are being fed to dogs and cats. read your pets’ food labels!!!

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