SLAUGHTER-HOUSE BY-PROD UCTS. From the viewpoint of the general public, fresh meats are perhaps the most im portant item in the whole range of commodities which the individual is ever called upon to buy. Yet, from the viewpoint of packers' profits, the by-products of meat packing long ago out stripped dressed beef, pork and mutton, as well as pickled meats of all kinds.
The packer to-day makes little or no money on what are known as carcass meats. In the recent years of struggle with "rising costs° livestock raisers have demanded higher and still higher prices for cattle, hogs and sheep, not only because the cost of feeds and help have risen, but also on the ground that the quality of their animals, in point of breeding, of finish and tender age of marketing, has constantly un proved.
On the other hand, there has been a de termined resistance on the part of the consumer to the rising cost of steaks, roasts and chops, as well as constant and widespread agitation throughout the country for higher standards of cleanliness, sanitation and efficiency in methods of dressing, refrigeration and distribu tion of meats.
Nearly All Profit Eliminated from Dressed Efficient and economical oper ation on a large scale has made it possible for American meat packers to continue in business in spite of increasing cost of livestock, labor, and all material and equipment. They have paid producers the highest prices and have kept their own margin of profit down to the lowest point consistent with safety. Higher standards of meat products have been maintained as a re sult of United States government inspection.
The producer on the one hand, and the con sumer on the other, have each been so jealous of middleman's profits that the middleman, who in this case is the packer, has been forced al most entirely out from a profit viewpoint. In point of service, however, the packer is still in evidence and the slaughter, dressing, chilling and distribution of these dressed meats are still performed by him.
The outcome of such a situation is that the butcher of to-day regularly pays the packer for the dressed carcass a less amount than the packer paid the farmer for the animal before it was killed, dressed, chilled and shipped.
Pay Packers' It will thus be seen that on carcass meats alone the packer loses money, being obliged to maintain, for the distribution of these profitless perish ables, an elaborate system of branch houses and refrigerator cars.
This is not to say, however, that the packing business as a whole is devoid of profit. Only approximately 55 per cent of the live weight of a steer is represented in the dressed carcass. In the remaining 45 per cent, which is made up of blood, hide, hoofs, horns, bones, hair, intestines, glands and other items of offal, the packer finds opportunity to recoup himself for any loss he may sustain on carcass meats and ensure a fair return upon his whole investment.
In the early days of the meat packing busi ness all of these items, with the exception of hides, were discarded as of no account. They were, at that time, contemptuously referred to as "the revolting nuisance of packers' waste,° which could not be given away, much less sold, and the expense of getting rid of them by other means ate into the profits which then existed in carcass meats.
First Utilization of In the decades since the Civil War, but principally since the introduction of mechanical refrigera tion on a large scale, about 1870, a gradual change has been coming over the packing in dustry in this regard. Small quantities of the bones, ears and hide trimmings began to be utilized in the manufacture of glue at the Chicago stock yards as early as 1869. The value of dried blood as an ingredient of fertilizer was recognized in 1870. The canning of meats by the Appert vacuum process became commer cially successful before 1875, and then the caul or leaf fat about the kidney of steers was found to be especially rich in oleo oil which forms the principal ingredient of oleomargarine to-day.