Natural Rearing: More Important Now Than Ever
Raising animals naturally (aka “rearing” them naturally in the old parlance) now takes on an importance like it never has in decades past.
The risk of your dog getting chronic disease is higher now than it has ever been before.
Most of these chronic diseases are accompanied by misery for your dog and you, and not uncommonly, significant expense.
We live now with the increasingly maddening notion of “science knows best,” born of our post-world war infatuation with pesticides.
DDT. The insect killer – or “insecticide” – had been discovered in 1939 and used extensively by the U.S. military during the war. So, it is no wonder that the postwar period saw the dawning of the chemical age in pesticides.1
By 1952, there were almost 10,000 separate new pesticide products registered with the USDA under a brand new law. Then, as today, agriculture uses 75 percent of all pesticides.
Between 1947 and 1949, pesticide companies invested $3.8 billion into expanding their production facilities. They were rewarded by huge profits. Many historians have called this the golden age of chemical pesticides – effective new chemicals were available and all of the risks and dangers to human health and the environment were not yet known.2
The chemical companies invested hugely and profited hugely, and no one knew the damaging side effects until years later. A bold woman named Rachel Carson, dying of breast cancer, brought the truth to the public in 1962 and changed the world.
“Silent Spring” presents a view of nature compromised by synthetic pesticides, especially DDT. Once these pesticides entered the biosphere, Carson argued, they not only killed bugs but also made their way up the food chain to threaten bird and fish populations and could eventually sicken children.3
What’s the relevance of this history for you today?
The Significant Risk of Being “Compliant”
Your conventional vet, aka Dr. WhiteCoat, would love to have you leave all your rearing decisions up to him. That smörgåsbord includes:
- Vaccinations throughout life. Completely at odds with the science of veterinary immunology, you’ve got a 60% chance your vet will recommend vaccine repetition yearly. The other 40% of conventional vets will urge you to repeat vaccines every few years. The latter also has no basis in science.
- Pesticides for all pests, both topical and oral. Most are classed as neurotoxins, and as much as the drug reps assure Dr. WhiteCoat they are safe (and profitable!), dogs are getting seriously ill and even dying as a result of flea, tick, and heartworm “preventatives.”
- Devitalized toxic diets, claiming to be “100% nutritionally complete.” These are usually made with vile protein sources that are 100% unfit for you to eat, let alone your pet. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know both cans and starchy kibbles have even been found containing pentobarbital, the drug we use to euthanize animals.
Compliance on your part is the goal for a profitable vet practice.
And, compliance in turning your rearing decisions over to Dr. WhiteCoat means the odds of your pet contracting serious long term (i.e. chronic) disease increase substantially.
Enter the Smart Option: Natural Rearing
Born in its current popularity from a dynamic English woman who left veterinary school in pursuit of a more natural approach to health, Juliette de Bairacli Levy coined the “natural rearing” term.
She attended two universities and was in her final year of veterinary school when she decided that conventional medicine had none of the answers she sought, and she embarked on a lifetime of travel and study with nomadic people, first in England, then around the world.4
Then, as now, conventional medicine was making recommendations that didn’t resonate with those who cared to look deeper.
“I realized that if I wanted to learn the traditional ways of healing and caring for animals, I had to be where people still lived close to the land and close to their flocks,” she says. “From Berbers, Bedouins, nomads, peasants, and gypsies in England, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, and Austria, I learned herbal knowledge and the simple laws of health and happiness. I never tired of traveling with my Afghan Hounds, always living with and learning from those around me.”5
Luckily for us, she loved to write, and her work spread. Imagine curing distemper with herbs when the doctors, then and now, remain largely helpless to save those afflicted.
An inexhaustible writer, Levy shared what she learned in letters, travel books, novels, poems, and books about herbs and animals. In the 1930s, she published three canine herbals. The Cure of Canine Distemper described protocols she developed for her highly successful distemper clinic in London. Puppy Rearing by Natural Methods and Medicinal Herbs: Their Use in Canine Ailments were reprinted for a wider audience in London in 1947. All three were soon translated into German and other languages.6
She compiled her many disparate writings finally when I was but a wee bairn and hadn’t even met my first household dog yet.
…in 1955, she combined these works in The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog. Now in its sixth edition and called The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, this is the book that brought Levy’s natural rearing philosophy to breeders, trainers, and dog owners throughout the world.7
The Rules of NR
Levy proffered the central tenets around Natural Rearing that many still embrace today, to the great benefit of animals everywhere.
Five Rules of Natural Rearing
Levy’s basic rules of natural rearing for dogs require:
1) a correct natural diet of raw foods;
2) abundant sunlight and fresh air;
3) at least two hours of exercise daily, including plenty of running exercise outside any kennel enclosures;
4) hygienic kenneling, with the use of earth, grass, or gravel runs, never concrete; and
5) herbs, fasting, and other natural methods in place of vaccinations and conventional symptom-suppressing drugs.8
NR Breeders: Hope for the Future
Imagine generations of breeding stock that have been raised following these NR tenets. Wouldn’t their offspring have an edge over those who’ve been damaged generationally by conventional practices?
Indeed they do.
In homeopathy, we’ve long known that parents, cured of their own chronic diseases, no longer pass on susceptibility to the same diseases to their offspring.
Now we’re talking!
Stay tuned and be sure you’re signed up for Vital Animal Pack membership (it’s free), as I’m working on some exciting projects that I’ll reveal in the near future.
If you’ve ever thought there might be value in getting a fresh, clean start on your next puppy, you’ll want to keep an eye out for what’s coming soon.
And tell us in the comments if you’ve raised dogs the NR way and what you’ve seen as a result.