Monday, February 22, 2010

The Stench of Rendering Plants

Residents who live near the Los Angeles River have complained for years about the constant, lingering smell of death. They don’t live near a cemetery or a mortuary; they live near Darling International, the rendering plant that disposes of Southern California’s dead horses, cows, and zoo animals. Residents have complained that the stench of the rotting carcasses is so abominable that it can induce vomiting. One resident who lives over ½ a mile away from the Darling Rendering Plant, must constantly spray air freshener in her home to keep it from smelling like a rotting corpse. While citizens complained about the almost unbearable odor, Darling International made $488 million last year alone. After hundreds of complaints over the past few decades about Darling’s intolerable reek, the company agreed to not take the bodies of animals that had been dead for over 24 hours. But what actually occurs inside of rendering plants to cause such a nauseating smell? When carcasses are delivered, they are minced and boiled in large vats that reach temperatures over 250 degrees. The animals fat is then stripped and made into tallow, which is in everything from lipstick to candies. The animals bone matter is dried and used as animal feed. While Darling renders the bodies of livestock, one of Los Angeles’s other rendering plants disposed of 1,354 tons of euthanized cats and dogs last year. While Darling International is said to expel the worst smell of any of the rendering plants, the plant that disposes of nearly 1,400 dead pets each year cannot smell much better. To read more about Los Angele’s four rendering plants, visit

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