Careers for the Animal-Loving Millennial

As a senior in high school, I know firsthand what it’s like to be asked every five minutes by any adults in the vicinity what it is I want to do with my life. Fortunately for me, I have always known that I wanted to go into veterinary medicine as a practicing veterinarian, but for some young animal lovers, the path to take isn’t always clear. Here are some careers for college-bound animal fans:

Artificial Insemination Technician
AI technicians use the latest in artificial insemination technology in order to safely breed cows, horses, and even dogs or cats. Technicians work with veterinarians and specialists to regulate breeding and to monitor the heat cycles of animals. More information here

Canine Nutritionist
Canine nutritionists create dietary plans for dogs and work with clients to find the best food options for their dog, whether the dog suffers from allergies or weight problems or anything in between. More information here

Animal Cruelty Investigator
Animal cruelty investigators investigate cruelty, document cases, and enforce laws against animal cruelty. This job can be heartbreaking, as investigators deal with harrowing scenes of abuse on a daily basis. More information here

Pet Adoption Counselor
Pet adoption counselors advocate for adoption and match potential owners with their perfect shelter pet. More information here

Veterinary Pathologist
Veterinary pathologists prevent and treat pathogens found in animals, domesticated or otherwise. More information here

Wildlife Rehabilitator
Wildlife rehabilitators work to rehabilitate sick or injured wildlife and educate the public on what to do if a sick or hurt wild animal is found. More information here

Hearts in Our Hamburger

The USDA recently made the call to allow “wholesome” beef heart and tongue meat into ground beef. Previously, the USDA has used the rules of “Policy Memo 027”, which stated that beef hearts and tongues weren’t something consumers would expect in ground beef and therefore should be kept out of it.

This policy has been followed for the last forty years, but now all of a sudden it has been reinterpreted.  Aaron Lavallee, the deputy assistant administrator in the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education, states that “The addition of heart and tongue meat to ground beef does not make it any less safe or wholesome to consume,” and “there is no change to FSIS regulations.”

With no change to policy on paper, why has the USDA suddenly decided to view their 40-year-old policy in a different light? Beef hearts and tongues are notoriously cheaper than many other cuts of meat, and it is important to note that not all parts of the heart are being considered viable for hamburger; the arteries, aorta, etc. are still considered by-products and only the cardiac muscle is being used for consumption.

The most concerning part of this development is that the FSIS is saying that heart and tongue meat have never been banned from hamburger in the first place, though the USDA online policy book states that “Heart meat and tongue meat as organ meats are not acceptable ingredients in chopped beef, ground beef, or hamburger” (Food Standards & Labeling Policy Book, page 67). The policy book sourced is dated August of 2005, and Lavallee states that “We know that the policy labeling book from 1982 was not accurate and it did not mesh with FSIS regulations.” If so, then why hasn’t the policy been removed?

Though most of our hamburgers from here on out will not contain heart or tongue meat because of the dependency most companies have on other cuts of meat, the prospect may still seem concerning to many consumers. Heart and tongue meat are not dangerous and, in some cultures, are considered delicacies, but it still raises questions of food safety when consumers aren’t entirely sure what the ingredients are in the meat they are buying.