Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/820

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
800
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

not the case, for the poor but industrious German and Irish populations have saved much of this extravagant waste, and, by their cheaper labor, almost the whole of these substances has been converted to profitable use. Even now a great deal of the ox is disused, which in Europe is esteemed most nutritious food.

There is an important industry which has sprung up out of animal waste, in the utilization of purified tallow and other fats for food and domestic purposes. It was originated in France in 1869 by M. M├ęge, and was intended for the manufacture of artificial butter from fat, by extracting the oil at a low temperature, and converting this, by churning, into butter. It was first known as oleomargarine, then as margarine, and latterly as butterine. The manufacture of this product has spread extensively, and it is carried on in the United States on a very large scale. As a London trade journal observed, a few weeks ago, "It is to be regretted that shopkeepers do not see their way to offer it to the public under its proper name, a proceeding which would be not only more honest, but which would ultimately tend to the more general adoption of butterine as an article of daily consumption."

From statistics prepared by Mr. Nimmo, of the United States Department of Agriculture, it appears that more than one third of the American exports of butter are sworn to be oleomargarine. Now, as we receive over 8,700 tons of so-called butter from North America, it is not pleasant to know that one third of this is the artificial butterine. Not only is margarine thus used, but, under the name of sueine, much lard is now introduced into the butter.

In the utilizing of inferior or waste materials, and in the separating of tallow from the substances with which it is found in combination, machines are employed which are both ingenious and effective, and by their use much material that would otherwise be worse than useless is turned to good account.

In Europe, rabbits are not a waste substance, but are eagerly sought for as food, and even bred in large numbers; but their introduction into Australia and New Zealand has proved an unmitigated evil to the colonists. About twenty years ago there was not a single rabbit in Australia, save, perhaps, a few domesticated pets. Since their introduction they have become a perfect pest, and the difficulty is to exterminate and keep them down by poison, dogs, etc.

From New Zealand alone 8,500,000 rabbit-skins were exported in 1880, but this does not probably represent one tenth part of the animals actually destroyed. In that climate the rabbit breeds nearly every month in the year. But even supposing that a pair of rabbits do not breed oftener than in England, which is seven times a year, and that they only bring eight young at a time, they would multiply in the course of four years to 1,250,000. Besides the skins shipped to England and America, the colonists are trying to send us rabbits' flesh in tins. Rabbit-skins are in demand by the furrier. About 30,000,000