Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2001

Honor the beef industry

It’s more than just for dinner

September 13, 2001

All of the attention being paid to the Cow Parade stirs me to respond. Art is fine, and I appreciate it. But I remember when Kansas City had real live cows by the thousands in our stockyards. All of our packinghouses were operating and prosperous and it was a busy city. People did not like the odors and pollution, so we lost our packing plants and stockyards and along with them, thousands of jobs. Kansas City was a real Cow Town.

I would like to share the following anonymous article with Explorer readers. It explains what the cow does for us.

Butcher, baker and candlestick maker

Obviously, the butcher would be out of business without the beef cow. But so would the baker and the candlestick maker, along with thousands of other businesses that produce pharmaceuticals, chemicals, textiles, polishes, glues, waxes, paints, plastic, detergents, candies; in other words, the businesses that rely on beef co-products in their manufacturing processes.

Cattlemen and packers are pleased to utilize allied products because the usage of the entire beef animal helps keep the cost of red meat down. But an equally important part of the story is that beef allied products play an important role in our everyday lives as they are used in everything from health care to household products, edible foods and mechanical items.

For example, insulin from a beef cow's pancreas is well known as a treatment for diabetes. But besides insulin, a cow's pancreas also yields glucagon for the treatment of hypoglycemia. Trypsin and chymotryspin, two more pancreative extractions, are used for burns and wounds to promote healing. Pancreatin aids in digestion. One pound of pure, dry insulin is extracted from the pancreata of 60,000 cattle.

Bone marrow is used for blood disorders. Soft cartilage is needed for plastic surgery, and bone meal provides an important source of calcium and phosphorous.

Ordinary hand soap contains fats and fatty acids from cattle. Bandages, sheet rock and wallpaper all utilize collagen-based adhesives derived from the same source. We use photographic film and phonograph records, which contain gelatin, derived from animal products. Insulation, linoleum, refrigerant, deodorants, luggage, plastics and perfumes are a few more everyday items made possible because of animal products.

Besides the beef, we also eat a lot of the animal by-products. Hearts and livers, tongues and kidneys and sweetbreads are often used in gourmet dishes. Mountain chain tripe, the rumen at the top of the first stomach, is a delicacy in Japan, where it is cooked over a hibachi at many bars.

Addition, products such as sausage casings, ice cream, yogurt, mayonnaise, candies, marshmallows, flavorings, oleo margarine and shortening and chewing gum are made possible through edible beef products.

Even the automotive and mechanically inclined owe beef co-products a vote of thanks. Chemical manufacturers use numerous fatty acids from inedible beef fats and proteins for all sorts of lubricants and fluids. Antifreeze contains glycerol derived from fatty acids to keep your car running cool. Tires have stearic acid, which makes the rubber hold its shape under continuous surface friction. Steel ball bearings contain bone charcoal. Even the asphalt on our roadways has a binding agent from fat.

The baker's sugar is refined through beef bone char. His shortening is based on a cow's fatty acids. The same fat and fatty acids are used in the candlestick maker's candles. Neither would be doing as well as they are without the butcher.

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