|August 9th, 2012
Volume 3, Issue 32
|Last month, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced they would consider passing a policy for their association’s veterinary members to follow that basically warded against the feeding of raw diets to dogs and cats.
Raw diet advocates everywhere have been waiting anxiously to hear the final decision from the AVMA regarding their proposed policy on raw diets.
Well, the decision has been made.
Despite public outcry, the AVMA voted last Friday at their annual convention to pass this controversial policy with a minor amendment to change the phrase, “never feed” to say, “Avoid feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs.”
Unfortunately there was one other amendment that did not make the cut. It stated:
"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.”
So why was this important amendment revoked?
While more than one-third voted to keep the amendment, the AVMA opposed the change stating that the amendment “weakened the policy".
Those members that voted for the inclusion of the amendment had a different opinion. In a release posted on the AVMA website, Dr. Kimberly May writes, “Those supporting the amendment felt it was necessary to allow vets to serve clients without facing conflict with AVMA policy.”
Clearly this means that there are veterinarians (quite a few in fact) that do believe that there is some validity to feeding raw diets to our companion animals and that this policy will interfere with them looking out for the best interests of their clients and their pets.
If vets are worried that the AVMA policy will conflict with their duty to successfully serve their clients, what other consequences can come from this shameful attack against raw?
Read on fellow BARFer, as raw food pioneer, Robert Mueller gives his take on this AVMA scandal and offers his thoughts on the future of raw pet food.
Amber Keiper & the rest of the BARF World team
7/27/2012 - Vitakitty Chicken Breast
With Flaxseed (Catwell)
7/20/2012 - Sweet Potato Treats Added To FDA Watch List.
3/9/2012 - FDA continues to caution
consumers about feeding dogs chicken jerky products.
6/30/2012 - Pedigree Brand
Wet Dog Food (Mars)
5/20/2012 - Diamond
Expands Recall! [Various Flavors] (Diamond Pet Foods)
5/10/2012 - Purina
Veterinary Diets Overweight Management Feline Formula (Nestle Purina)
The Balancing Act of Safe And Healthy Pet Food
By Robert Mueller
There comes a point when we have to step back and really analyze what is going on around us, and try to determine what the best course of action should be. I'm at that point now with the pending government legislation and behind the scenes tactics being used to discourage the use of raw meat diets.
Between the new government safety issues being legislated and the influence of big pet food manufacturers on the AVMA, we are fighting an uphill battle. The poor consumer is being inundated with advice and propaganda on the do's and don'ts of feeding your dog.
Obviously, big pet food manufacturers are being threatened by the sudden surge in popularity of the raw food movement. Their influences on the veterinary community and their lobbying ties with governmental agencies are creating an environment of confusion and worry for raw food advocates everywhere.
It all started with consumer demands for better ingredient sources and reliable, quality, manufacturing practices caused by the massive melamine-tainted pet food recall of 2007. Next, it was only feeding ingredients that were obtained from grass fed animals. Then, it was the concern for animal proteins sourced from hormone-free and antibiotic-free animals. Now, the most recent concern has shifted to a bacteria-free environment.
Consumers were warned by their vets that their animals would get sick because of raw meat diets, based on the high bacterial levels from Salmonella and E. coli.
Consequently, the government has jumped on the bandwagon and is considering implementing new rules and guidelines for a zero tolerance level of good and bad bacteria.
This new guideline has potentially dire consequences.
I refer to the results that have been exposed regarding the pasteurization process to safeguard milk. Each day, millions of us consume a glass of milk that has been rendered “safe” through pasteurization. But what we are actually getting is a reduction of good bacterial concentrations in the gut. Eventually this will take a toll on our bodies in the same way that the new standard of bacteria-free raw meat diets will have on our pets.
Liken it to the American traveler who gets sick from eating the same taco in Mexico that the native Mexican eats everyday without incident.
Here are the facts: domesticated dogs and cats can tolerate levels of bacteria that a human cannot tolerate. They possess the mechanism to quite adequately consume and digest these raw materials without complications. This is not, however, to make a claim that the possibility of illness doesn't exist. The standard of quality and proper handling procedures must be met in order to reduce the risk of sickness in both pet and human.
Yet I find it quite alarming that we have been boxed into this corner and may now be forced to conform to governmental standards for bacteria-free products as I feel will be detrimental to our customers and our pets.
There are basically three different ways to meet this bacteria-free requirement:
- You can subject the diets to extreme heat - high enough to destroy and/or alter the protein structure of the ingredients and eliminate the possibility of good or bad bacteria in the diet.
- Alternatively, you can expose the finished product to irradiation. This also will destroy all good and bad bacteria.
- The third choice is high-pressure pasteurization. This method also destroys the good and bad bacteria with the application of extreme high pressure in a water bath. This will eliminate the good and bad bacteria with the least amount of damage to the ingredients.
In my estimation, the three choices are all a misguided effort to protect the well being of our pets. In fact, I suspect that the next round of veterinary concerns will be digestive disturbances caused by the sterilization and elimination of needed bacteria in the gastrointestinal track.
The strength of the immune system is the key to prevention of disease and inflammation. Altering the immune system by removing all of the good bacteria is bound to cause problems over time.
The unfortunate choice that we as a company may be forced to make to is to pick one of the three pathogen-free processes listed above.
Out of these three options, it seems that the high-pressure pasteurization process is the least damaging to both product and animal and will be the most logical choice that we can make in order to fall in line with the new standards. That is not to say that we’ve made this change. At this time, we are not high-pressure pasteurizing our BARF World Diets.
I guess one good result may come out of using this process to create a bacteria-free diet. Maybe our nation’s veterinarians will begin to recommend raw diets as an advantage over a grain based, heat processed kibble diet since the bacteria objection will become null and void.
It is interesting to note that we have recently seen the results of heat-processed dry, kibble as well as wet, canned food diets that have still been subjected to mass recalls as a result of bacterial contamination. This proves that all pet foods are vulnerable to bacterial issues, even after following the recommended guidelines of the government. Nevertheless, after 35 years of feeding raw, my conviction remains unwavering. There is no better food option for our pets than a complete & balanced raw meat diet.
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of "Living Enzymes: The World's Best Kept Pet Food Secret", and co-developer of BARF World's BARF diets patties, nuggets and supplements - the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. He and his wife love to travel around the world with their dog, Moxie - a Yorkshire Terrier/Maltese mix. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for "The Intelligent Pet" monthly e-zine at barfworld.com/ezine
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Here are some responses from last week's AVMA vote:
I am writing to cast my vote in favor of keeping raw food companies available for consumers who desire to feed raw food products to dogs and cats. I have had wonderful, positive, and beneficial results in changing my dogs and cats diet from prepared foods to raw foods. After 2 1/2 years of raw foods, their health issues have diminished including allergies, etc. their teeth are pristine white, their breath is fresh, their droppings are indicative of good absorption of food and nutrients. We have had absolutely no problems with sanitation, bacteria, or anything of that nature. Handling food for animals is no different than handling food for our family. Are you going to try to legislate in order to keep me from making a hamburger for my husband?
Please do not hinder our freedom to feed our animals with what we know is best for them. After all, isn't this America, the land of the free?"
Pat Rotisky from Santa Clarita, CA
"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I want to strongly voice my disgust with how the AVMA views feeding raw food to pets. After trying to figure out what was causing my 7 year old Labrador's symptoms, I began introducing raw foods (fruits, veggies, meats) a little at a time. After feeding this way for some months, both of my dogs prefer what I'm giving them over their kibble! My Lab is no longer symptomatic and both of them are now acting like they have an abundance of energy, their coats are shiny and their vet is amazed at how great they look now. They have not been sick since!
I felt so awful at giving my Labrador toxic medicines for her liver, but I felt I had no other choice. After all, my vet was telling me this was the best thing for her. This was causing other side effects very soon after starting the meds and that's when I started searching for an alternative and found that raw feeding was a Godsend!! After just a couple of months after taking her off the toxic meds and feeding her "naturally" her liver enzymes were NORMAL!!! After all, if I can help myself with eating mostly fruits and veggies and using holistic methods for healing, why wouldn't it work for my four legged family members?
Even Big Cats and those in that category are fed raw meat while they are in captivity. The owners wouldn't even consider feeing a Tiger Kibble!! They are fed as they eat in the wild. Every animal we have was once a wild animal and should be allowed to eat as they were created to. The diet they are on has made their life better, and they are happier for it! There are no "ingredients" that I can't pronounce, or have no clue what they are with what I feed them.
This thing that you are attempting to do is the equivalent of the Big Drug Companies keeping humans on meds instead of educating on how holistic and fresh unprocessed foods can save our lives! It's a shameful mark on our society that money is the deciding factor on keeping their thumb on the backbone of America and not allowing us to rise and be healthier with RAW foods!!!
Piles and piles of SHAME on you if you pass your initiative and try to keep me from keeping my pet in the best health they've been in their whole life!!! I say "try" because I will still feed my pet the way I see fit no matter what you say. I love them too much to deliberately harm them in that fashion!!!”
-Debora Hull from Southern California
New Fitness Workout Includes Your Best (Four-legged) Friend
Folks in Dewey Beach, Delaware have combined some really great things, like the beach and playing with one's dog, and turned it into a workout program. They call it Pooch-n-Pump Fitness, which combines strength and cardio exercises that incorporate owner's dogs to join in on the healthy fun.
Continue Reading HERE
Wags of Wisdom:
"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
"Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. What puts man in a higher state of evolution is that he has got his laugh on the right end." - Max Eastman