To no one’s surprise, the AVMA (think AMA for animals/vets) passed their resolution against raw food feeding of pets yesterday, August 3rd. What’s interesting about looking “behind the curtain” is that there was a bit of controversy before the final vote. Not much, but the little there was reveals more of who we are dealing with.
Amendments? We Don’t Need No Steen-king Amendments!
The link above reveals the amendments that were proposed to be added to the policy statement, in red text. Recognizing what a hot button they had pushed (as evidenced by the huge outpouring of comments on their blog), some additional language was proposed to be added:
The AVMA recognizes that some people prefer to feed raw or undercooked animal-source protein to their pets. The AVMA recommends that veterinarians inform pet owners of potential risks and educate them on how to best mitigate the risk of pathogen exposure in both handling the food and in managing pets consuming undercooked or raw animal-source protein diets.
This paragraph gives some recognition to the many intelligent voices on their blog and elsewhere that made it clear raw feeding was of great importance, providing distinct health benefits, and even clearing disease that AVMA drugs were not touching.
This amendment was voted against being included by a watery ⅔ majority. Too strong a statement in favor of raw feeders? Or just not wanting to ask vets to study more to learn what it would take to “mitigate pathogen exposure” in “managing pets” who eat raw food?
“You know, Suzie, Bowser here could be carrying Salmonella, what with you feeding him that raw stuff like you do. So, ah, well, how to say this? Just don’t be kissing on his mouth, okay? And get some Clorox wipes for his anus, and wipe him down after every BM. Who knows what’s coming out of his keester, ya with me?”
We Can Really Back This One!
What the AVMA delegates could really rally around, though, by a sweeping majority, was changing a word. A bold move indeed.
They took it from this:
- Never feed inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs
- Avoid feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs
They got behind this at a whopping 91.9% in favor.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure what they accomplished with such a change. “Never” to “Avoid?” I’m sure they had to think long and hard on that one. Sheesh.
The Clincher: Money and Conflict of Interest
The laughable piece of all this, of course, is the following:
Prior to the discussion, all in attendance were requested to disclose any potential conflicts of interest. (This is standard procedure.)
Now, think aloud with me on this one:
- Conventional vets sell dry dog food.
- Dog food sales bring in profit.
- Acknowledging raw feeding might give people the idea that it has a place in animal health. But we don’t sell it.
- Oops. We just lost sales of the dry food. Damn.
(Note: if you didn’t know this, our “education” in nutrition came from Hill’s, makers of Science Diet et al, who also handily donated all the food to the vet schools’ teaching hospitals)
So, you can bet there were no disclosures and the vote was made, the policy adopted, and the raw feeders marginalized.
A step on the road to regulating or even banning prepared raw foods? Let’s hope not.
Let me know what you think in the comments.