Jan. 10 was like any other Tuesday at the Penn State Meats Lab, where animals raised on the University's farms are brought to harvest and processed, with the finished products available for sale on Friday.
However, there was one small, additional detail during this harvest day: all the blood from the carcasses was collected, frozen and shipped to Philadelphia to nourish bats.
Nelson Gaydos, a senior Food Science major from Merritstown, Pa., is a Meats Lab employee, Block and Bridle Club member and the "Blood for Bats" chairman. He leads a small group of Block and Bridle Club volunteers who collect blood from slaughtered cattle a few times per semester to send to the Philadelphia Zoo for their vampire-bat colony.
As Gaydos collected the blood from the steers, the volunteers separated the thick, red liquid into bottles.
"From three steers, we were able to collect 46 bottles of blood, which equates to about 5,350 milliliters of blood for the bats," Gaydos said. "The bats go through about four bottles of blood per week, so this particular collection will go a long way to nourish and feed the bats.
"It also saves the zoo from having to purchase blood because everything is donated."
Gaydos is pleased about the relationship the Block and Bridle Club has with the Philadelphia Zoo. "I like the fact that this program is taking something often seen as only a waste product from the slaughtering process and turning it into something valuable and useful," he said.
"Members who participated in the collections had the opportunity to visit the Philadelphia Zoo and the vampire bats during the semester."
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