I’ve been reading the following post on The Truth About Pet Food that suggests chicken and chicken meal ingredients can be sourced from macerated young male chicks. Apologies in advance, but by “macerated” we mean cute fluffy chicks being ground alive in a machine.
That sounds very disturbing and grotesque!
But it doesn’t sound plausible to me. AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials) stipulate chicken and chicken meal ingredients must adhere to the following:
clean chicken flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from whole carcasses of chicken, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails
If chicken and chicken meal were sourced from macerated chickens, then it’s a certainty this will include feathers, heads, feet, entrails, and other by-products, and therefore couldn’t be labelled as chicken and chicken meal.
The article seems to promote by-products as a better ingredient as AAFCO stipulate this ingredient comes from slaughtered chickens (which is much more humane). The point is valid that meat ingredients should be sourced from humanely processed animals, but I still question the slur on named meat and meal ingredients. It simply doesn’t make sense to me.
I’ll refer to another article on the same website, posted in 2013:
In this article it states a chicken ingredient, being enforced by AAFCO to be chicken flesh, skin, and bone, could well mean a chicken ingredient is only 1% chicken flesh, and 99% skin and bone. Yes, that’s admittedly true and the guidelines are very much open to interpretation, but again isn’t realistic. If this were the case there would be telltale signs in the guaranteed analysis, unless of course the food were to contain a large majority of corn or other “high-protein” substitute ingredient.
We also find this article clearly states a by-product ingredient is far more open to interpretation. Manufacturers like to promote by-products as nutritious as they may contain organs such as the liver and kidneys, but generally as by-products are so open to interpretation it could contain anything and most likely will.