Processing for most meat proteins in commercial pet food begins at the rendering plant. Rendering is generally considered an acceptable method of converting waste animal material or animal by-products into more usable forms, such as meat & bone meal or animal fats.'s definition of RENDER as it pertains to pet food is to melt (fat or lard) in order to separate out impurities or to process, as for industrial use: to render livestock carcasses

 The raw material used for rendering comes from several sources.

  • Slaughterhouses - after all that is fit for human consumption has been harvested
  • Butcher shop trimmings 
  • Expired meat from grocery stores (styrafoam packages and all)
  • Carcasses of dead animals from farms, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians, even road-kill too large to bury by the side of the road. Many of these animals have been euthanized using pentobarbital. Amazingly, this powerful euthanizing drug comes through the entire cooking process without property change. Some pet food has even tested positive for it.
  • If this isn't enough to get your stomach turning, used restaurant grease that has been collected for months is also added to the mix.

It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. Unfortunately it's true.

The first step in rendering is adding the ‘raw' (all of the above) into a huge boiling pot where meat is boiled off the bones and fat is skimmed from the top. The solid material is then dried, sent through a press to squeeze the remaining water out then ground very finely and sifted.  It is then labeled ‘not fit for human consumption' and the product is sold to pet food companies as meat and bone meal or animal fat.

Some rendering facilities make and sell only high quality meals to pet food companies, such as chicken meal or lamb meal. This is why ATG always looks for a named protein source, rather than a generic source. If the source is not named, it could be anything.

Against The Grain never sells food or treats that list by-products, meat and bone meal, animal fats or animal digests on the ingredients label.   

Against The Grain Pet Nutrition is a company that does things differently. We are a small business that is excited about offering pet owners better choices in pet nutrition. We believe that choosing appropriate pet food (be it commercial, raw or home prepared) is the most important factor in any pet's preventative health, convalescence and longevity.  Our name - Against The Grain - reflects our strong passion to provide pet owners with the knowledge to make healthy decisions about pet care even if we go ‘against the grain' of popular thinking.

To contact us:
1024 County Road 109
Montevallo, AL 35115

Phone: 205-665-9026
Fax: 205-665-5683
[email protected]