AVMA Rolls Over, Wet$ Themselves

Completely Submissive DogTo 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

To this:

  • 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:

    1. Conventional vets sell dry dog food.
    2. Dog food sales bring in profit.
    3. Acknowledging raw feeding might give people the idea that it has a place in animal health. But we don’t sell it.
    4. 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.

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  1. Joanne Keenan on October 19, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I’m just looking back through your archives and had to review this amendment.
    I absolutely love the following statement from the AVMA Raw Feeding Resolution (and we accuse them of not being open-minded! lol)
    “* The recommendation not to feed unpasteurized milk to animals does not preclude the feeding of unpasteurized same-species milk to unweaned juvenile animals.”

    • Will Falconer, DVM on October 19, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Nice catch, Joanne. They are on top of this “back to Nature” stuff, aren’t they?

    • Merry Goodger on January 30, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      I’m so glad they are in favor of a mother nursing her babies. By the by, I just gave my mature cat a drink of unpasteurized jersey cow milk,

  2. Helen on October 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    What a great article!!! I lost my airedale terrier to a tennis-ball sized tumor on her front knee thanks to Science Diet. I found a reputable organic brand, (bagged and canned) and never looked back, except in extreme remorse and loss. I can’t walk down the aisle of SD now at petsmart or petco. Would like to make MY transition to preparing for my pets/companions raw now as I am committed to raw for them…

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

      I’m very sorry for your loss, Helen. Perhaps the greatest outcome of such a loss is the preparation it allows you for the next animal to come your way.
      Best of luck going forward.

  3. Allison Peacock on October 20, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Astounding. I’m late to the conversation and I’m laughing that vets apparently are facing the same constricting energy that physicians are: holism doesn’t created increased dependency and higher profits!
    Glad to have your voice in the expanding conversation on behalf of our beloved animal companions.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on October 20, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Welcome, Allison!
      Yes, a challenge to conventional medicine, both human and veterinary: people taking health care responsibility into their own hands. What a concept.
      Glad you’re here, and I welcome your thoughts going forward in this big, hairy, sometimes even messy conversation on animal health.

  4. Stephanie on August 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I agree with all you wrote (the whole profit-motive behind many vet recommendations). My vet dissuaded me from moving in the direction of raw food, but later I found a brand I trusted (Rad Cat) and have been giving it to my 2 cats for a year and a half now). Gee, maybe the vets should stock the frozen raw food, and then maybe they’d be recommending it more. It feels really good to be able to give my animals the raw diet.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Yes, Stephanie, they’d be wise to do so. I think it’s still a foreign idea to most, however, schooled as we were in “Science Knows Best.” It would take trying it at home on their own animals to really see the potential. I’m not holding my breath.
      It truly is remarkable the health that comes from raw feeding, though, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

  5. Susan on August 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I’ve been reading about this for a while now. Most of the vets who voted for this aren’t vets who would ever have been behind feeding raw anyway. And those who have been feeding raw will no doubt continue to do so under the guidance of more holistic-minded practitioners. It just creates more of a Great Divide.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 5, 2012 at 9:21 am

      I think you’re right, Susan. I pretty much see the conventional vets as most helpful in times of acute trauma, like an animal hit by a car. That’s it. Most of what comes out of conventional veterinary medicine not only doesn’t cure disease, it creates it. Food is only one piece of that puzzle.
      Ultimately, animal owners need to step up, take on a greater responsibility for the health of those in their care, and step out of the conventional medical paradigm. It’s dangerous to health to stay there.

      • Mary Traverse on October 24, 2012 at 6:29 am

        Yes, conventional medicine is the most fabulous tool for acute trauma, and sometimes also for investigative testing and imaging. But otherwise, for chronic issues, we have to remember that medical treatments and drug companies are not about creating cures. They are about creating CUSTOMERS. And it’s a fear-based model, because fear is effective for controlling others. Why else would you deny your animal the type of food all her ancestors ate, and what made them evolve into a healthy, thriving species? What, kibble is better?? Just look at the evidence and the results and make your own decisions.

      • Merry Goodger on January 30, 2016 at 7:01 pm

        Goes for humans too. I never want to go to hospital and would only go to a MD for trauma.