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Old April 5th, 2012, 06:14 PM
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Science on Fat for BARF; Where art thou?

I am interested in finding out the science behind the low fat BARF recommended diet for dogs.

For some time now I have been trying to find out what the ratio of fat to protein, I, a human being, should be eating. I do my research and have found it a difficult topic to find true learned advice and not just people’s bias opinions, often heart felt but still, not proven rocket science. However I am finding some interesting data that is challenging my old thoughts. This really is about dogs, my concerns over my ageing Corgi, Sadie, but so little science is to be found I have been searching out studies on fat intake in humans in a hunt for similarities between carnivores with omnivore skills. It is Canines and Humans who are the carnivores with omnivore skills with whom I am most familiar.

In important matters such as nutrition, I am not interested in what people feel is correct; I am not interested in one thought on any subject that comes to the mind of a vegetarian; most profoundly, I am not interested in what large consumer and governmental agencies think is correct; may I add, what obese smoking professional dieticians think makes the dark ages look luminescent. That thought goes assuredly to skinny dieticians. NB Within their profession there are many honourable and knowledgeable dieticians but their knowledge is what is become the folklore of our times, witnessed on the nightly news. (Remember when Cholesterol was suddenly “discovered”not to be all bad? Bazinga! And the back tracking was indeed a fatty feast for the ears and eyes. The straight faces where a sight to behold.)

I just know I feel better when I eat a high fat, very moderate protein diet with very few carbohydrates which, when eaten, is usually celery (lots- lightly steamed or fresh raw juice), and less of boc choy or broccoli, red bell peppers, cilantro, parsley, garlic. Occasional blue berries and raspberries cross my crevice that accepts food. A small handful of almonds and pumpkin seed, a little psyllium (which I really don’t need on this diet way). That is it. I can’t eat dairy at all. I used to use heavy cream in my coffee but then I found my weight stabilises when I don’t use it and my eczema clears up. I do use eggs occasionally and oodles of butter and ghee. I render my own lard by simmering it in water. I do use flax oil. This all sounds so boring, but I like it. Food no longer is my raison d'être. (Neither are cigarettes ever since I discovered the miracle of vaping.

But back to the real topic:My dog has been a BARFER for a year and three months. (Bones And Raw Food; Biologically Approved Raw Foods) But the dog forums suggest low fat BARF so an animal’s liver is not put in stress. But is this based on fact and science? or on bias and ignorance*, or due to the faulty belief that fat is evil. Once a Thinker was thought to be an inspired person. No more, it seems. * lack of knowing, not the rude definition.

I am starting this thread because I want to question the idea that a low fat, high protein and bone diet is the best BARF diet for dogs. I want to know what and where the facts are, not the opinions or the rumours but the actual science behind the idea that a higher fat diet is bad for dogs. And forget the story of old Bowser, fifteen going on a hundred, keeling when he attacked a fat laden sausage. If it is true that fat is bad for healthy dogs, then we need the verifiable scientific data.

We all know how the news treats fats for humans. We read that vets and their schools are subsidised by the pet food industry. We hear tell that doctors get very little time on nutrition at Medical school (like single digit hours)! We know how commercialism and the dreams of big business rules so much of what we see in all media.

I want the science. My dog is too old for me to experiment on. If she were a pup, I could experiment with different percentages of bone, meat and fat. I could check her poop, check the ph level, colour odour, (yes, taste) of her pee, the quantity and how often she drinks water, log her demeanour and energy level. I could have her blood examined. But at 11 years three months, I daren’t take a chance. It may be that fat is bad. It may be that limited fat is good. In these times of political correctness, can the truth stand tall and strong?

I know that on a low protein, minuscule carb and high fat diet I feel good: my damaged hip does not hurt, I get no teeth pains from cold drinks, I can see more sharply, I don’t have headaches, I need less sleep and I have more energy and desire to do the things I like to do. I follow a carnivore diet of around 70-80% fat, 15-25% protein and about 5% carbohydrates. There is more information coming out on the carnivore way of eating but nothing science based that I can find on fat ratios for a dog’s diet. I understand that animals in the wild prize brains and organs, most of which are high in fat. Where is the science in the nutrition that favours dog’s health with lower fat consumption, then? And if animals in the wild desire it so much, why do many dogs gobble the fatty stuff down first.

So much has been written on this site on most topics but this question of fat I have not seen properly addressed save the regurgitation by naysayers of personal beliefs and opinions based upon biases or their vets. Would there be members with science on their sides to address this question!
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Old April 6th, 2012, 12:04 AM
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The trouble with dog food related studies is that they are usually funded by large dog food companies like Hill's, and the studies are run biased.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 01:45 AM
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There's the rub

Exactly, Myka. This is what I am trying to avoid. Cool. We posted to each other's post round the same time. Though I am a chatterer of course so win any time wars.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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You are right, there is very little research that is not influenced by the pet food companies. Here is an old article:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...00575-0085.pdf

Do High Fat Dog Foods Predispose
Dogs to Pancreatitis?
John W. Hilton
pancreatitis is by definition an
inflammation of the pancreatic
tissue accompanied by edema,
necrosis and sometimes hemorrhage. The essential lesion is
necrosis of the acinous cells. In relation to dogs, acute pancreatitis
occurs more commonly in canines
than in other animals (1). In addition, pancreatitis is thought to account for 1 to 2%
of the canine hospital admissions; however, it is a difficult disease to document and this estimate may not
be a true reflection of its actual prevalence in
dogs (2,3).
The etiology of pancreatitis is not well understood
and a number of factors have been proposed to explain
the disease. However, the most plausible mechanism
in the pathogenesis of pancreatic necrosis and inflammation is the release of digestive enzymes, particularly
lipases, into the parenchyma and interstitial tissue.
These enzymes would readily disrupt and/or destroy
the integrity of the membrane lipids affecting the
cellular necrosis.
The association of pancreatitis and hyperlipidemia
has long been recognized (1,2,4). Furthermore, studies
in humans suggest that hypertriglyceridemia precedes
the development of pancreatitis (5). High concentrations of triglyceride in and around the pancreas could
result in excessive lipolysis with the release of large
quantities of free fatty acids. Normally these free fatty
acids would be absorbed and/or bound to albumin
which effectively eliminates their potential reactivity.
However, if the quantity of free fatty acids exceeds
the binding capacity of the albumin, then the unbound
free fatty acids would be very toxic to the tissues.
Therefore, the hyperlipemia could lead to ischemia,
capillary damage and microthrombi causing the pancreatitis (6). This hypothesis is supported by the fact
that animals fed high fat diets have a predisposition
to pancreatitis (7,8). In addition, female dogs are more
prone to pancreatitis than male dogs, and obesity also
predisposes the dog to the disease (9).
The dog belongs to the order Carnivora and for this
reason some people mistakenly assume that the dog
John Hilton has a PhD in nutrition and is the Technical
Manager - Animal Nutrition at Hoffmann-LaRoche,
Etobicoke, Ontario. He is a member of the Nutrition Subcommittee of the CVMA Pet Food Certification Program.
is a carnivore. In fact he is actually an omnivore or
opportunistic feeder (10). The dog can and does consume and derive nourishment from a variety of foods
of both animal and vegetable origin. Thus the amount
of fat or lipid that the dog consumes is variable
depending upon its diet. Nevertheless, healthy dogs are
capable of absorbing large quantities of dietary fat
(11).
In recent years the dry-type dog foods or kibble have
been undergoing a change from a moderate protein
and low lipid content ( - 12 7o protein: - 80o lipid) to
a high protein and high lipid content (25-307o protein:
15-200o lipid). These higher energy diets are apparently
more palatable to the dog and feces production is
reduced which is a definite advantage to some dog
owners. While such high energy diets are probably
beneficial for working dogs, there is some concern
regarding dogs that are just house pets. There is a
natural tendency of pet owners to overfeed their dogs.
This problem is accentuated when the pet owners feed
their dog the new high energy feeds, particularly when
such feeds are augmented with table scraps. Furthermore, the lack of proper exercise for the dog coupled
with boredom also increases the potential for obesity
to occur, particularly in older dogs.
The lipid supplement to the high energy dog foods
is often in the form of saturated fats such as lard and
tallow. The intake of high levels of such hard fats in
human diets is associated with hyperlipidemia. It is not
known whether the feeding of saturated fats to dogs
also results in hyperlipidemia. Nevertheless, it would
appear that there exists a greater potential for both
hyperlipidemia and obesity in dogs fed the new high
energy feeds. Considering that these same conditions
are also major factors affecting the predisposition of
the dog to pancreatitis indicates that there is some
justifiable concern by both pet owners and veterinarians in the feeding of these new high energy foods to
dogs.
References
1. Brobst DF. Pancreatic function. In: Kaneko JJ, ed. Clinical
Biochemistry of Domestic Animals. Academic Press, 1980: 259.
2. Strombeck DR. Small Animal Gastroenterology. Davis,
California: Stonegate Publishing, 1979: 304.
3. Murtaugh RJ, Jacobs RM. Serum amylase and isoamylase and
their origins in healthy dogs and dogs with experimentally
induced pancreatitis. Am J Vet Res 1985; 46: 742.
4. Hardy RM. Acute pancreatitis: a review. Proc Am Anim Hosp
Assoc 1974: 324.
C
Can Vet J Volume 29, October 1988 8555. Cameron JL, Capuzzi DM, Zuidema GD, Margolis S. Acute
pancreatitis with hyperlipemia - Evidence for a persistent defect
in lipid metabolism. Am J Med 1974; 56: 482.
6. Havel RJ. Pathogenesis, differentiation and management of
hypertriglyceridemia. Adv Intern Med 1969; 15: 117.
7. Lindsay S. Entenman C, Chalkoff IL. Pancreatitis accompanying hepatic disease in dogs fed a high fat, low protein diet. Arch
Pathol 1948; 45: 635.
8. Haig TH. Experimental pancreatitis intensified by a high fat
diet. Surg Gynecol Obstet 1970; 119: 914.
9. Anderson NV. Pancreatitis in dogs. Vet Clin North Am (Small
Anim Pract) 1972; 2: 79.
10. Kronfeld DS. Canine Nutrition. University of Pennsylvania,
School of Veterinary Medicine, 1985: 13.
11. Hill FWG, Kidder DE. Fat assimilation in dogs, estimated by
a fat balance procedure. J Small Anim Pract 1972; 13: 23.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 11:16 AM
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Thanks for the link L4H!

The following except highlights some of my concerns when trying to define appropriate diets. I definitely don't have a tendency to overfeed though, I have a tendency to underfeed if anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Love4himies View Post
While such high energy diets are probably beneficial for working dogs, there is some concern regarding dogs that are just house pets. There is a natural tendency of pet owners to overfeed their dogs. This problem is accentuated when the pet owners feed their dog the new high energy feeds, particularly when such feeds are augmented with table scraps. Furthermore, the lack of proper exercise for the dog coupled with boredom also increases the potential for obesity to occur, particularly in older dogs. The lipid supplement to the high energy dog foods is often in the form of saturated fats such as lard and tallow. The intake of high levels of such hard fats in human diets is associated with hyperlipidemia. It is not known whether the feeding of saturated fats to dogs also results in hyperlipidemia. Nevertheless, it would appear that there exists a greater potential for both hyperlipidemia and obesity in dogs fed the new high energy feeds. Considering that these same conditions are also major factors affecting the predisposition of the dog to pancreatitis indicates that there is some justifiable concern by both pet owners and veterinarians in the feeding of these new high energy foods to dogs.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 11:23 AM
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Interesting topic, I look forward to reading and learning more about this. thank you for bringing this up.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbpatti View Post
Interesting topic, I look forward to reading and learning more about this. thank you for bringing this up.
I agree. It's really too bad that there is not more research.

Personally, I don't think high fat meat is good for our pets and I think this way because any venison you get, it is quite lean compared to domesticated meat (so no scientific data to back me up). This is what animals would be eating in the wild.
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Old April 7th, 2012, 02:38 PM
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Experiences & Studies on Fat by Vilhjalmur Stefansson

When it comes to fat, it is waffle science. It is an area where the medical community and certainly interests groups affects government policy with out the back up of science. The media and especially the powers in advertising influences our views on fat on a daily basis.

The Oats Controversy
I remember when oats were cholesterol lowering, then they were not, and now oats are again being advertised as fat lowering. There is advertising by an orange juice company that plant steroids lower cholesterol but there is no actual statement in the advertising that their orange juice lowers cholesterol. Liver used to be a healthy food, then it was denounced as dangerous and recently there are whispers that it may be good, again.

For years cholesterol was just claimed bad and now fluffy cholesterol is good and small compact cholesterol is bad. However, further research seems to be showing that there are at least 8 (I believe) tiny, hard-packed cholesterols and at least one of them may be as good or possibly even better for you than fluffy cholesterol and most of the other tight little cholesterol molecules are benign.

My Automatic Reaction Makes me Think
The other day I poured the fat off my pork stew, then, while eating the stew, the realisation arose that I know more about the benefits of fat than what is ever played in the news. I was suddenly amazed to realise that some automatic reflex had overpowered both my knowledge and understanding. I have read Atkins, D’adamo, Taubes, and many other researchers and reporters interested in health who have spoken out about the importance of fat in our diet. I know that lard is a monounsaturated fat, a healthy food, according to the comparative science that shows it has the same properties as monounsaturated olive oil. Yet lard was long maligned by science, government and business to the preference of crisco, a man-made trans-fat Frankenfood monster.

I just automatically tossed the fat down the drain without a thought as to what I was doing. That is the effect of the controversy around fat. Reason becomes challenged in such a climate.

Vilhjalmur Stefansson—Studies of the Inuit Diet
This led me on a mad cap Google search where I found a site to Vilhjalmur Stefansson and an article he had written in Harper’s Magazine, Adventures in Diet, written around 1937. It was very controversial in its day, and news of his experiences were read all around the world for many years.

Stefansson was a Canadian Anthropologist who lived five years with the Inuit over an 11 year period with one long stay lasting a year. He followed the Inuit diet which consisted of 70-80% fat and 15-25% protein and a minuscule 5% carbohydrates which came mostly from organ meat. The meat was from caribou, bear and fish. The fish ranged from “rancid” summer fish to fresh late autumn fish stored under heavy wood logs in bogs. He didn’t try the smelly fish until half way through his stay. He compared the rancid fish to the smelly cheeses haute cuisine gourmands enjoy and to the rotted pheasant the British aristocracy actually choose to consume. When he did try the rotted fish, he found he really liked it. Oh, and he never wearied of the simple fair he had to eat.

Stefansson described the Inuit as being very healthy, free from tooth caries, having clear skin, being of healthy weight, nimble and strong, and lacking any of the ill health problems of the day.* I couldn’t put the material down. Stefansson was born in 1879, passing away in 1962, living to a healthy 83, and, like the Inuit, was a strong specimen to the end. His parents immigrated from Iceland the year before his birth and left Gimli Manitoba a year after his birth when flooding killed two siblings.
* (I have read elsewhere that no cancers were reported in any Inuit communities until the early seventies. Heart disease was not evident until well into the second half of the 20th century.)

The magazine article of 1937 was written after Stefansson and another chap had spent a year following the Inuit diet under extremely close observation and study at Bellevue Hospital, New York. The year long experiment made news world wide throughout its length and long after. I was amazed to hear that even in the early part of the century, fat was held in suspicion by much of the medical community. Why? I don’t think science was so advanced for objective study at the time. There clearly seems to have been a strong bias by a particular determined group of people for many years before science was even applied to its study.

Scurvy and the Scott Journeys to the South Pole
In the article he talked about the Scott ventures to the South Pole and the problems of scurvy and ill-health that taxed stamina and life on such a rigorous adventure. He saw the cause of such ill-health to be from the rich carbohydrate diet the explorers followed. Stefansson also lists the failures of lime juice to protect sailors from an historical perspective. Scott chose not to partake of the abundant wild life on land and in the ocean, which would have given him and his men the protection the Inuit diet gave these ancient peoples.

Stefansson then compares their health to that of the Inuit and to the health of the men in another expedition that was to beat Scott to the South Pole. That expedition was described as an haphazard flurry of ill-prepared misfits who, failing to bring along enough supplies to complete the expedition, were forced to live off the abundance of the penguins and dolphins Scott had ignored. They failed to follow most protocols of the day, even in regards to the lime juice, vegetables and fruits, science of the time claimed would ward off scurvy. Yet they survived the scurvy and every evidence of ill health, that Scott’s troupes suffered, by the lucky chance of being forced to follow the centuries long Inuit lifestyle diet.

One wonders why lessons were not learned from Scott's errors. Scott, by the way, has to be admired for his steadfastness to science rigour. His first attempt a failure, he chose to run the experiment all over again, forfeiting his and many other men’s lives just ten miles from the final food cache that allowed the few ailing survivors to complete their second trip. Just as there are no ribbons for second place adventurers there should be no ribbons given to the validity of the protocols against scurvy. It was shortly after this that Vitamin C was to finally put an end to the problems of Scurvy. There would now be no need to challenge the healthiness of the carbohydrate intense diet that had killed so many.

The article is long and, as I said, fascinating. I have made an epub copy of it and would post it to this forum if that is possible, but I am not sure how it should be done. Here is the url if you wish to look at it on line: http://www.biblelife.org/stefansson1.htm
For those truly interested in this topic, I feel it is a must read.

Stefansson’s account has finally persuaded me to accept my personal beliefs about fat. I won’t listen to this meaningless chant. I finally realise that when a bias lives on where no science supports the bias, then it is time to call out the fabrication for what it is. With over a hundred years to tout the argument that fat is bad and still not be able to prove the message true, then science must rephrase the hypothesis.

Fat in a Dog's Diet
It is Mr Stefansson’s story of his experiences and studies that have inspired me to approach this forum on the issue of fat in a dog’s diet. I think this is relevant to human health because both species, dog and human are capable of surviving on both a fat & protein diet, a vegetarian diet and a mixed diet. The Husky dog teams were fed the same high fat diet of the Inuit and also did not suffer the illnesses grain fed dogs suffer today.
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Old April 7th, 2012, 02:47 PM
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I found food for thought in your posts, Love4himies , which show just how open this topic is for discussion. The complications and effects of food groups upon each other add to the confusion. I shall see if I can follow the links you provided.

And Love4himies, wild meat is indeed less fatty. However, many wild carnivores seem to cherish the fatty organs and work hard to worry out the fat pockets behind the eyeballs, work hard to break the skull for the fatty brain and wilfully work over bones to get to the fatty marrows. If it is meat that was prized and needed for health, wouldn’t the animals just chow down on the more easily available lean muscle instead of working over the bones? It sure makes me wonder.

Myka, my previous dog died of cancer (age 14 yr., 5 mo.) and though I was trying to do my best following my vet’s recommendations, I now feel the low calorie, high carbohydrate commercial dog food deserves the blame.

My Corgi, Sadie, is now elderly, (11 yr., 3 mo.) and though she has been on the BARF diet for more than a year, I am worried about her health. I had been trimming the fat from her food, removing fat and skin from the chicken carcasses and now I have decided to reverse this, let her enjoy the fat of the birds and add extra fat to her diet to see what happens.

A month on a full fat BARF diet should evidence an improvement in her stamina in walks and demeanour. She constantly whimpers and I don’t know if this is from some pain I can’t explain or is just from hunger. If there is no change in a month, two at most, I will have to re-evaluate my strategies.

And pbpatti, I don’t know if we can come to any grand conclusions but maybe we can get discussion enough to either find some science behind this topic, or at least come to a better understanding of why this failed hypothesis refuses to be challenged by any established authority. Maybe some information from experience such as my experiment with Sadie’s diet will be of help to others. Maybe some will read Stefansson’s report and come to see beyond the bias of today or find the faults in his experiences that I missed.

But I’ve always liked to challenge my own biases. I’ve never felt I had all the answers in any topic or that what I do believe is ever ironclad; I like to joke that:

So I wonder!
Count those why’s.
When all’s answered,
‘Tis, time to die.

But “all” gives me wiggle room.
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Old April 7th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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Great info on the Inuit. So are you thinking the best diet is one very low in carbs (btw, that's my thinking for humans and definitely for my cats)?

Interesting read on the rancid fish. Did you know that cats will attempt to bury their food that they don't eat immediately and will dig it up the next day to eat it ? There was a member on here a few years ago, named Want4rain who fed her cats a raw diet and they would bury their food. I've also seen my Rose do that when she caries a piece of raw carcass out to her pen, then continue to munch on it the next day.


Here is some info on blubber: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blubber

Seal blubber has large amounts of vitamin E, selenium, and other antioxidants, which may reduce the effect of the free radicals formed within the body's cells. Damage caused to cells by free radicals are a theorized contributor to some diseases. Whale blubber, which tastes like arrowroot biscuits, has similar properties.[7] The positive effects of consuming blubber can be seen in Greenland; in Uummannaq for example, a hunting district with 3,000 residents, no deaths due to cardiovascular diseases occurred in the 1970s. However, emigrants to Denmark have contracted the same diseases as the rest of the population. The average 70-year-old Inuit with a traditional diet of whale and seal has arteries as elastic as those of a 20-year-old Danish resident.[8]

We must be careful to distinguish between blubber and other fat.

I've had a huge buck taken down by a pack of coyotes in my back yard a few years ago. The first night, they devoured the intestines, most of the meat, the brain. What was left behind, the stomach, one leg no meat eaten, and the rest of the carcass with just pretty much bone left. As soon as the coyotes had the deer down, they called to the rest of the pack and there was about 30 running from all directions to get a piece of the deer. It was not an organized meal, but each coyote trying to get what ever they could. It took all of about 15 minutes for them to devour it. The next night the coyotes came and dragged off every bone and the only thing left behind was the stomach that had the remains of his dinner. They are hungry animals and they leave nothing behind because they don't know when their next meal will be. For them, the fat that they ate would be precious calories and am wondering if in total, they still consume less fat than what would be in domesticated meat .

I truly believe that getting our vitamins in their natural state is much better than getting them in chemical form.

I did see evidence in my senior cat, Puddles, when I changed her diet from a kibble to a quality canned/raw diet. It was huge and it took only a few months to see differences in her. If I had more confidence in my recipe, I would feed only raw, but I worry too much one the phosphorus/calcium ratio that is so very important to cats. Her fur became thicker, less greasy and she became more energetic.
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Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
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Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

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