Curiouser and Curiouser.

Oh wait. It’s About Money over Health Again.

Raw MeatThere’s been a bit of a storm raging about an upcoming AVMA proposed policy against raw diets for pets, due to be voted on at their House of Delegates meeting in San Diego next week. This is, of course, the veterinary analog of the AMA. Yawn.

At first, I pretty much ignored it, as one after another of my colleagues posted about it on our homeopathic email lists. After all, what can a policy recommendation do? It has no force of law.

But, as has been pointed out, it could pave the way for legal denials of raw pet food manufacture, once a body of professionals (who must know the True Scientific Facts) takes a stand against raw feeding.

And, (not that this carries much weight in my mind) it’ll give conventional vets more grist for their “Now, Don’t Feed Raw Food!” mill. But then, most who are feeding raw are probably also not buying into the conventional recommendations like repeated vaccinations, topical poisons for flea control, internal poisons for heart worm prevention and the like.

So, why would an AVMA policy decision saying “Tsk, tsk, raw food can carry pathogenic bacteria” be of concern to someone dedicated to understanding true health and feeding appropriately wild diets? Dedicated raw feeders will always find a way.

Let’s Choose our Facts Carefully!

And it’s pretty likely the AVMA will keep their collective head in the sand about the following truth:

All the recalls of pet food over the last few years have been commercially prepared, cooked dry food and treats. NOT RAW.

Whoa. Ermm. Ahem.

And, if you want to find bacteria in raw meat, just check your local supermarket. Bring your swab and petri dish. I wrote earlier about handling the stuff carefully when you are making raw food for Spot and Puff.

Wait. A Money Trail? Ah.

But then, the plot thickened, and I feel this deeper twist must be brought to light. As is usually the case, we need only “follow the money” to find the real answers.

And boy, is there a lot of money in pet food! Think billions per year spent on it. The statistics include close to $20 billion on pet food in 2011 in the US, and roughly $24 billion for the EU. Nothing to sneeze at, eh?

So, imagine my lack of surprise when it came to light that, behind the push to come down on raw pet food is an organization who’s been against raw feeding for at least a couple of years. Who does otherwise neat things, like getting animals into hospitals to help sick people: The Delta Society.

But, here’s the money path: on the executive committee of the Delta Society is one Brenda Bax, who, is also, umm, well, just the Marketing Director of Purina. You know, that big checker boarded outfit that makes dry kibble in St. Louis and is like a household word?

Probably not in Purina’s best interest if folks are jumping ship from the contaminated kibble and heading into Awesome Raw Feeding, right?

You got it. They’ll get a bigger bite of the dog food dish if they get the AVMA to come out again those nasty raw foods out there.

 Damn Raw Food! Wait. What?

You know the foods. They make dogs’ coats shine, breath fresh, shedding stop, cure the diabetics, the inflammatory bowel disease sufferers, and take away my business. (Seriously. Raw fed pets are rarely coming to me for chronic illness. But that’s great. I don’t mind at all.)

So, if you want to add your voice to the hew and cry, there’s an open comment area at the AVMA’s blog (I know, right?). And probably a petition or two floating around if you Google those initials. I don’t have much faith that’ll do any good. Not when we’re talking a piece of a multi-billion dollar bone. But it can’t hurt, either. If you have the time and inclination, head on over.

How about you? Feeding some raw food, are you? Concerned? Let’s hear about your take in the comments.


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  1. Tricia on July 30, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Talk about ILLogical. There was even a line somewhere in that final ruling about keeping your dogs away from carcasses while hunting. Are you kidding me?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 30, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Wow. I missed that, Tricia, good catch. So, what’s often forgotten is that we, as a species, have really only focused on one aspect of the animal’s genes, as we’ve bred dogs/cats: appearance. We like certain kinds of ear sets, colors, coats, stature, faces, etc., and we select breeding stock to get more of what we like. In appearance. NOTHING done to select for animals’ digestive systems to change. Nada. So, we’re still looking at a wolf/bobcat, no matter how domesticated, cute, or charming our pets have become. They don’t get salmonella sickness for this reason alone.

  2. Daisy Foxworth on July 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    There’s another commercial group. Outfits like and I balance my cats’ raw diet by feeding whole small critters. I can’t get that from the meat isle at my grocery store.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      Good one, Daisy. Nothing in the meat aisle comes close to what you’re feeding! Now, that may make some squeamish, but we have to face facts: cats are obligate carnivores. Not going to make it on vegetarian diets.

  3. Melissa Miller on July 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I had seen the article a couple of days ago and while I agree it’s absurd and obviously a marketing propaganda for Purina, I think most of us who feed species appropriate raw aren’t buying pre-packaged commercial raw diets, we’re balancing the ratio of raw meat, raw bone-in meat, and raw organ ourselves from whatever human-grade source we can afford, be it grass-fed/ pastured meat, store-bought meat, or meat from a co-op. However, I suppose some of those raw diets have their place for those who don’t have the time or proper understanding of how to supply the necessary nutrients to mimic what would be available as mother nature intended in the wild. So for those of the raw feeding population, I am worried.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      Yes, those are the only products I’d have some concern about, but down the road, not immediately. We’ll have to see if AVMA has any spine or just caves to moneyed interests.