The smell of burning flesh

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Map of Ground Zero.
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Here’s a friendly public-service notice from IAAL-MAF that you might want to read after you’ve had your lunch:

As veterans of our infamous Taint Ride well know, Vernon reeks.

In fact, some downtowners are so sick of the roiling stench that oozes downwind from the slaughterhouses and carcass-rendering plants in Vernon that a few of them just launched StoptheSmell.org a petition drive they hope will somehow put an end to it …

If you’re a downtown resident then you’ve probably experienced “the smell”. People describe it as a combination of feces, burning hair, and rotten flesh. The smell usually comes around in the evening, when Westerly air currents bring the vapors into the Downtown LA Arts District.

This nauseating odor is not just a nuisance, it’s also a potential health risk. While it is true that the rendering process produces material that is biologically sterile, this does not mean that the output is free from the dangerous toxins produced by bacteria that feed on dead tissue. It is the toxins, after all, that make bacteria deadly. In addition to bacterial toxins, rendering plants are known to emit fine particulates, VOCs, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, organic sulfides, disulfides, aldehydes, trimethylamine, quinoline, dimethyl pyrazines, alcohols, ketones, aliphatic hydrocarbons and more (source: EPA).

Also of concern is the fact that these businesses utilize, and pay for, the bodies of euthanised pets. Los Angeles sends 200 tons of euthanised cats and dogs to West Coast Rendering every month (source: New York Times reporter, Sandra Blakeslee). This economy provides an incentive for animal “shelters” to provide a steady stream animal bodies. The chemicals used to euthanise the animals inevitably end up in the output – the solid part is referred to as protein meal, and the oily part – tallow or grease. These products are used in the production of all sorts of things: from cosmetics to candles to pet food. Almost 100% of the solid material is used as feed, with 12% going to dairy and beef cattle feed, 34% going to pet food, 34% going to poultry feed, and 20% going to pig feed (source). “Now it must be very evident that the dairy cows are no longer vegetarian animals. The dairy industry feeds them recycled meat products, which is derived by recycling slaughterhouses waste and other dead animals such as millions of euthanised cats and dogs from veterinarians and animal shelters. Hence the milk produced by cows contains non-vegetarian elements.”

The practice of feeding animal by-products to animals is well understood as the cause of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, a.k.a. Mad Cow Disease, a.k.a. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

The purpose of this site is to raise awareness of the source of the smell, and to create a petition to outlaw this kind of activity within the proximity of residences.

First of all, read that again: 200 tons of euthanised cats and dogs. Dammit, people, get your pets spayed.

Oh, and you might want to sign the petition, though I can save you a trip to a set of mind-numbing public hearings (if it ever gains any traction) by pointing this out:

Vernon is its own city – separate from Los Angeles – and thus might have a good case for continuing to let the rendering plants do whatever the hell they want unless the petitioners get a sharp lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the AQMD.

After all, barely 100 people live in Vernon, and they’re far outnumbered by the estimated 44,000 people who work in Vernon. Business rules, right?

One Reply to “The smell of burning flesh”

  1. nothing like exporting our some of the nastiest by-products to other countries, *cough*CHINA*cough, and increase the likelyhood of these dieseases in our country when it comes back.

    but we dont mind the smell coming from there

    await the wheat gluten

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