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Great write up in local paper

March 27th, 2007, 05:11 AM
Might open a few peoples eyes :thumbs up

Petpourri: Pet food recall warning to all

By RICK CONRAD Petpourri
ĎFOOD unfit for human consumption," slaughterhouse offal, diseased animal parts, antibiotics, blood, intestines, esophagi, chicken feathers, discarded restaurant grease, ground peanut hulls.
Hungry yet?

Imagine that yummy recipe showing up on your plate every day. Those are the things we loving pet owners unwittingly feed our animal companions on a regular basis if we buy mass-produced pet food.

The recent recall of dozens of brands and 60 million cans and pouches of cat and dog food has pet owners more freaked out than a dog in a thunderstorm.

And with good reason. The multibillion-dollar pet food industry in Canada is unregulated and there appear to be no plans to change that, despite the deaths of at least 14 pets from possibly tainted pet food.

Last week, federal Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl told reporters the government wonít regulate what goes into pet food.

So, itís up to pet owners to be our furry friendsí best defence. We have to educate ourselves about whatís in our petsí food.

Itís tough, though, when all we see on labels are "meat," "chicken byproducts," "wheat gluten" and such.

And it can also be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you decide to switch to a homemade option or raw food.

So what is in our petsí food?

Ann Martin, who wrote the book Food Pets Die For, has alleged that some companies in the past have even used dead pets from shelters, clinics and pounds in pet food.

She says that since the advent of the processed pet-food industry 50 years ago, the incidence of cancer and other chronic illnesses in pets has risen exponentially.

Much commercial pet food comes from rendering plants, according to Martin. Our pets get the distasteful leftovers that are considered "unfit for human consumption."

"At the rendering plant, slaughterhouse material, restaurant and supermarket refuse, dead stock, roadkill, and euthanized companion animals are dumped into huge containers," she writes. "A machine slowly grinds the entire mess. After it is chipped or shredded, it is cooked at temperatures of between (104.4 and 132.2 degrees C) for 20 minutes to one hour. The grease or tallow rises to the top, where it is removed from the mixture. This is the source of animal fat in most pet foods. The remaining material, the raw, is then put into a press where the moisture is squeezed out. We now have meat and bone meal."

But what about labels that claim they use "real meat?" Martin explains that that usually means blood vessels, sinew and such.

And "meat byproducts?" Those are things like lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, empty stomachs and intestines, Martin says.

"Be assured that if it could be used for human consumption, such as kidneys and livers, it would not be going into pet food. If a liver is found to be infested with worms (liver flukes), if lungs are filled with pneumonia, these can become pet food." Then there are the fillers: corn, soy, wheat gluten, peanut hulls. Many animals are allergic to these ingredients. Some of these such as peanut hulls and wheat gluten can contain a toxic substance produced by mould that can make animals sick or worse, according to the Animal Protection Instituteís website.

Plus, animals canít derive nearly as much nutrition from these as, say, white or brown rice, according to the institute.

But "premium" commercial pet food we buy at a premium price from vets should be free of all this stuff, right? Nope.

We used to feed our basset hound Hubert a high-fibre, low-fat kibble whose two main ingredients were ground peanut hulls and corn. After he had way too many gastric and skin troubles, we decided to make his food ourselves.

For the past year, heís been a much happier, healthier puppy who actually looks forward to breakfast and supper instead of turning his nose up at his dish.

My friend Amy once told me that the commercial feed she gives her horse contains feathers, again as filler. So what to do? Visit the Menu Foods website,, or call the recall line at 1-866-895-2708 to see if your petís food is one of the more than 90 that might be affected. Brands like Iams, Science Diet, Presidentís Choice and Compliments are on the list.

Talk to your vet about alternatives to commercially produced food. Check out the Internet, the bookstore or your local library for resources and recipes if you want to make your petís food at home.

This stuff is mega-scary, but itís probably a necessary wake-up call to all of us about how careful we need to be if we want to keep our beloved pets around for a long time.


Rick Conrad, The Chronicle Heraldís education reporter, freelances this column.

March 27th, 2007, 05:26 AM
What a good article Scott! Thanks for sharing!


March 27th, 2007, 10:56 AM
Thank you so much for posting that important article! I copied & pasted it on another forum that I am a part of, where the vast majority of members are pro-commercial dog food....they just don't WANT to understand & change. The typical comments & attitudes are this:

a) I trust my breeders/vets & they been doing this for a long time, so they know what's best to feed my dogs
b) We've had dogs for <# years> & they all lived to ripe old ages eating commercial dog food

So maybe, after endless efforts to help, this will convince them. :fingerscr

One Beagle Girl
March 27th, 2007, 10:59 AM
The rendering plant description made me gag! :yuck:

It's sad that so many people are fooled by clever marketing from companies that produce such craptastic foods. It takes so little to read a label!

I wish that everyone cared as much their pets nutrition as the people here do.

March 27th, 2007, 12:18 PM
The rendering plant description made me gag! :yuck: It's sad that so many people are fooled by clever marketing from companies that produce such craptastic foods. It takes so little to read a label! I wish that everyone cared as much their pets nutrition as the people here do.

And you know what-this stuff is NOT a secret! This information about the commercial pet food industry is widely accessible & is factual. But, these forum members don't & won't believe it, regardless; they think that it's all made up. They want to see scientific studies indicating that these ingredients are harmful-they don't care about AAFCO's definition of these ingredients. Futher, they trust companies that have years of 'research' behind them, like Purina, Science Iams/Euk etc., as opposed to these holistic companies that haven't been around as long & don't have the research to back them up. Many have said that the ingredients are NOT what makes a food healthy or unhealthy-what matters is whether or not these companies have research to back up their products. :yell: :eek:

But they have it all backwards! The ingredients are what is important & the proof is in the ingredients, regardless if these holistic companies don't have years of research--it's obvious even to the naked eye what ingredients are healthy/unhealthy when looking at AAFCO's definitions of them & by simply comparing food labels! But again, they don't & won't believe it. :frustrated: :mad: :confused:

What will it take for people to believe it??? :confused:

March 27th, 2007, 01:37 PM
Hopefully now, with the recall, more people will start to read pet food labels. :yell: :fingerscr

March 27th, 2007, 02:11 PM
Hopefully now, with the recall, more people will start to read pet food labels. :yell: :fingerscr

That's the hope, but what if people don't judge how healthy a food is by the ingredients on the label? These people rely upon the research & longetivy of the company--NOT the ingredients. It's really stupid. :rolleyes:

March 27th, 2007, 02:28 PM
I agree. That's why we have to educate the ones that come here and spread the word as much as we can. :fingerscr

March 27th, 2007, 06:57 PM
Oh that's an awesome article, Scott! Thank you! I'm going to forward it to a couple of co-workers who just got new puppies and don't understand my concern with quality food or with the recall. Thanks!!!

March 29th, 2007, 02:49 PM
Well, they ran this yesterday I think. I was suprised..but pleased..expecially coming from a vet. :p

Is pet food bad for pets?

Commercial products in spotlight after tainted food scandal erupts


TRURO ó Evidence of rat poison in an Ontario companyís wet food products for cats and dogs has focused attention on the multibillion-dollar pet food industry.

Menu Foods of Mississauga, Ont., expanded its recall of cat and dog food over the weekend to include all wet food items the company makes after an estimated 16 cats and at least one dog died across North America.

Pet owners are beginning to wonder about the health benefits of packaged and prepared foods.

"The best advice I ever got was to feed as close to the organic source as you can because the more we process food, the more essential ingredients we cook out or leave out," Dr. David Evans, a Chester Basin veterinarian who practises holistic medicine, said Monday.

"What we must do for cats and dogs is to mimic what they would eat in the wild."

Before the 1930s and í40s, few people would have spent a plugged nickel on special food for their pets, Dr. Davis said.

"But the feed industry began looking around for new markets and they recognized the emergence of the pet industry," he said.

Indulgent pet owners looking for convenient packaging and prepared dishes that "looked" delicious became more and more interested in buying processed food for their dogs and cats.

"We have been so conditioned by the feed industry to believe these foods are best for our pets and itís just not so," Dr. Evans said.

"Dogs are built for raw food," he said.

As for cats, Dr. Evans said he has seen more than his share of overweight, diabetic cats who are addicted to one brand of cat food.

He is among a growing group of veterinarians interested in a more holistic approach to animal medicine but the vast majority of vets continue to believe that pet food manufacturers have science on their side.

"I canít say I would vouch for the pet food industry, but you pretty much have to go by faith," said Dr. Adva Barkai-Ronayoe, a Truro veterinarian.

"The companies we deal with here have much higher quality control," she said. Their products "are like medication and are only sold through vets."

"At the end of the day, the manufactured food is probably safer than to go with a raw food diet. There is a lot of research that goes into pet food."

Nonetheless, those who believe raw food is best for their dogs appear to be growing in numbers, and at least one Nova Scotia company is benefiting.

Totally Raw Natural Dog Food of North River, Colchester County, has found a niche market.

"We got into this because one of our dogs was having one physical problem after another, including a cancerous growth," said co-owner Karen Campbell.

Seven years later, Daisy is the picture of health and Ms. Campbell said itís because the dog eats only raw food.

The company packages meals consisting of fish, chicken, lamb, beef and vegetables, bones and tripe.

"Theyíre individually packaged and fresh frozen ó good, healthy food with no preservatives," Ms. Campbell said, adding that the company delivers right to customersí doors.

She and many proponents of raw food for pets say dogs that eat raw meat have better coats, better breath and fewer health problems.

Dr. Barkai-Ronayoe said pet owners should not panic.

"Ensure the pet gets a good quality diet from a company with a good name," she said. "Try not to overreact, and read the science behind it."


íWe have been so conditioned by the feed industry to believe these foods are best for our pets and itís just not so.í

March 29th, 2007, 03:36 PM
Great articles!

And a good reminder of how Mad Cow disease got started in the first place... and gets passed on. Things like ground up sheep brains don't belong in a herbivore cow's food, either.