Beef by-products are the unsung heroes of a beef animal. As we grapple with fake meat companies and plant-based zealots claiming the environmental, nutritional, ethical and safe high ground, the reality is that beef animals enrich our lives on a daily basis.
However, not many people acknowledge this reality or even understand how much cattle contribute to their everyday lives.
Beef products can be found in cars, clothing detergents, sporting goods, photographic equipment, art supplies, soaps, cosmetics, shoes, belts, asphalt, furniture, fertilizer, wallpaper, glossy magazines, combs and even in pianos! When I speak about beef by-products to elementary students, many kids are particularly excited about the idea that cattle provide edible by-products, as well, like tasty gummy bears and marshmallows, just to name a few.
Yet, perhaps the most important way cattle contribute by-products to make our lives better is most evident at hospitals and pharmacies.
Fake meat companies can’t create these medicinal by-products in a petri dish. Using the entire beef animal from nose to tail provides us the human health benefits of more than 100 individual drugs.
For example, there are 5 million people in the United States with diabetes and 1.25 million of those require insulin daily. Did you know it takes the pancreases of 26 beef cattle to provide enough insulin to keep one diabetic person alive for an entire year?
Beef cattle also provide us with allergy medicine, vaccines, vitamins, burn ointment, first aid creams, respiratory inhalers, anti-rejection drugs, bandages and other laboratory research materials.
For a little closer look at how beef cattle provide medicinal benefits to people, we must travel to Macdoel, Calif., home of the Prather Ranch.
I recently read an article titled, “Where beef is more than dinner,” written by Lisa Morehouse for the Food & Environment Reporting Network.
The article describes how the Prather Ranch has become the go-to for beef by-products to be used by biomedical companies.
Here’s an excerpt: “The hides, for example, are used to make purified collagen used in cell research. And the bones? Some have been made into screws for knee surgery.
“Another company is researching ways to replace damaged parts of human bones. They’re attaching human cells to Prather Ranch cow bones with a 3D printer.”
Additional beef by-products sourced from the Prather Ranch include dermal fillers for lip injections, ground up bones used for dental fillings and purified collagen used for cell research, cancer research and more.
This untold story about beef cattle and human health needs to be shared far and wide. Share this blog post on social media today to help spread the word about the beneficial, life-saving medicinal by-products that come from cattle.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.