How Safe is Your Pet from Government Lies?

Dust clouds dwarfing farm house and people 1935When the black blizzard came, we felt utterly helpless. Sometimes it came with no wind, just this ominous black cloud descending all around us, bringing the dust right into our homes and lungs, choking our crops, killing our livestock. Other times, in strong winds, it stung like the dickens and scoured everything it hit.

Irresponsible farming practices, like any short term greed play, bring long term consequences. The disastrous Dust Bowl of the 1930’s lasted for nearly a decade. It was caused largely by masses of people seeking to profit by large scale farming of prairie land that had been held in place for centuries by deeply rooted grasses.

We “abused the land something terrible,” one farmer admitted. We didn’t “even think what the end results might be.”

Government incentives to homestead large tracts of land played a significant role.

In Government Agencies We Trust?

We live in an era when trusting the government to watch out for your best interests conflicts with greed within that same government. The chance to profit takes precedence over conscience in many regulatory scenarios.

Handing responsibility for your animal’s health over to the FDA or Dr. WhiteCoat is akin to heedlessly plowing every available acre you own unaware that a drought is on the way.

News Bulletin: Money Talks, Animals Walk

You may have noticed the very disappointing animal health news this week. Manufacturers of chicken jerky treats that have been incriminated in illness and death in thousands of pets have been given the green light to bring these products back to market, after they voluntarily withdrew them in January 2013.

The FDA states,

“We know that the illnesses and deaths reported are mostly linked to jerky pet treats sourced from China. Pet owners should be aware, however, that manufacturers do not need to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products.”

 This same watchdog agency “noticed a sharp drop in the number of complaints since several treat products were removed from the market.

The withdrawals, by the companies Nestle Purina and Del Monte, cost the companies each tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Oh oh.

Remember Nestle, the company that marketed infant formula so aggressively to Third World countries in the 70’s? Infants died on the impoverished soy based formula, being denied their mom’s far superior breast milk. In its mind-numbingly devious plot to change the thinking of impoverished mothers away from breast feeding, they sold millions of dollars worth of the formula while babies wasted away and died as a direct result. Nestle was boycotted by outraged citizens in the U.S. and several countries around the globe.

Babies, Animals, and Greed: Disaster in the Forecast

Guess who is one of the big importers of Chinese chicken jerky treats, and has brought them back to market this week? You’ve got it. “Nestle Purina Pet Care,” the parent company of Waggin Train, whose chicken jerky treats of the same name were found to contain high levels of illegal antibiotics by New York’s Department of Agriculture.

The FDA chose to lie about these levels (see the link above). The same FDA, tasked with protecting the public against harmful foods and drugs, met with pet food industry officials, officials whose companies would clearly profit from a positive ruling, and, animal health be damned, the regulators have allowed the renewed sale of these treats.

Other types of jerky treats are causing illness as well, so antibiotics may not be the only problem.

The main body of U.S. veterinarians, the AVMA, rejected a resolution condemning these jerky treats, as “We don’t have the scientific proof to say, ‘Don’t do it.’”

Talk about being hamstrung by the science that was supposed to set us free. Remember, when the treats were removed from the market, the FDA saw a sharp decrease in reports of poisoned animals.

Good News: You’ve Got Added Incentive to Make Wise Choices Now

Now, it’d be easy to be cynical, reading news like this, but I think there’s a more powerful message here, to those who keep animals in their lives, especially Vital Animals they look forward to living long lives beside.

It’s simply a reiteration of a deep understanding that should form the foundation for anyone on the Natural Path:

You need to be the smart one, the one who’s informed, educated, and making wise decisions for those animals in your care. Counting on people and institutions who stand to profit from their recommendations is akin to getting caught in the center of the dust storm.

Put down deep roots to prevent disasters from blowing your animals’ health away. These include:

  1. Foundational food, natural treats.
  2. Erecting immune walls to protect against invaders. This could also be called: Immunizing without repeatedly vaccinating.
  3. Integrated pest management that doesn’t poison your animals or yourself.

No, the chicken jerky problem is merely a warning that self reliance is more important than ever. You remember the pets dying in large numbers from eating kibbles all seemingly unrelated to one another in 2007? 

What was the common thread tying the hundreds of disparate brands contaminated with deadly Chinese melamine? Menu Foods, now bought by Simmons Foods, who supplies Nestle with their Chinese chicken to make Waggin Train jerky.

Raw feeders didn’t have a problem in 2007, by the way.

Here’s a way to learn from the experts how to make your own raw food. And here’s a great source of excellent pre-made raw, shipped conveniently to your doorstep.

Let us know in the comments if you had any troubles in 2007 and what you’re doing for treats that avoid Chinese ingredients.

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  1. Tricia on February 5, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Its very stressful to constantly be on the lookout for what will harm you or your animal next. I used to get an email alert each time a product was recalled. It was DAILY. That should be shocking but its all too common now. So I have tended to opt out of what’s considered normal consumerism these days and take matters into my own hands.
    I find Chicken jerky is the easiest of all the treats to make at home. You can use anything really – beef liver or salmon end pieces are a favorite.
    — sliced thin, and bake on 200F for about 2+ hours. That’s it!
    If looking at cost: For 20 minutes of prep work
    1. 32oz Happy Hips chicken jerky $32 on Amazon OR the equivalent 4lbs chicken breasts at 1.99/lb = Savings of $27.
    2. 12oz Pro Treat Liver treats $25 on Amazon OR the equivalent 3lbs Beef liver 2.45/lb = Savings of $20.
    And if you really want to shake your fist at policy and PR, remember there is sales tax on dog products but not human food. In my city, Seattle, thats a 9.8% savings right off the top on marrow bones, chicken backs & necks and all kinds of doggie goodness buried in a grocery store’s freezer. Now if we can just keep the human food supply safe… but that’s a whole other topic.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 6, 2014 at 9:49 am

      Hey Tricia,
      A great comment and a how-to, thanks!
      Who ever said self sufficiency is dead? Probably more important now than ever, given what Elle points out above.

  2. Elle on February 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

    The FDA is a revolving door for Board members of the big multinational companies. These folks go from the corporation board to appointments in decision-making positions on the FDA and back again to corporations. So the FDA is there to protect the interests of the corporation, not the American people. It’s a misunderstanding Americans have had for quite some time and quite obvious if anyone takes the time to trace some of these “key” people’s migrations.
    Our country has changed under my generation’s very noses with very few noticing or even caring. As long as people have their televisions, their beer and their easy chair, they are happy.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 6, 2014 at 9:46 am

      All too true, Elle. We’ve got to look to ourselves and our packs of like minded folks to ferret out what’s useful and healthful and what’s not.
      And, we are probably doing that in record numbers now anyway, at least those who use the interwebs, right? We look at reviews (which can be falsified, ahem), social proof, etc. As always, though, our animals who are shiny and vital are the ones who can really change the world, by example.
      Now, where’s that remote, honey, my game’s just about to start.

    • Tricia on February 6, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Bread & Circuses

  3. Esther on January 28, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Dr. Falconer, Great topic!!

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