Δευτέρα, 11 Νοεμβρίου 2013

The Pet Food Industry

 Dogs and cats are carnivores, and do best on a meat-based diet. The protein used in pet food comes from a variety of sources. When cattle, swine, chickens, lambs, or other animals are slaughtered, lean muscle tissue is trimmed away from the carcass for human consumption, along with the few organs that people like to eat, such as tongues and tripe. However, about 50% of every food animal does not get used in human foods. Whatever remains of the carcass - heads, feet, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, ligaments, fat trimmings, unborn babies, and other parts not generally consumed by humans - is used in pet food, animal feed, fertilizer, industrial lubricants, soap, rubber, and other products. These "other parts" are known as "by-products".  

By-products are used in feed for poultry and livestock as well as in pet food. The nutritional quality of by-products, meals, and digests can vary from batch to batch. James Morris and Quinton Rogers, of the University of California at Davis Veterinary School, assert that, "pet food ingredients are generally by-products of the meat, poultry and fishing industries, with the potential for a wide variation in nutrient composition. Claims of nutritional adequacy of pet foods based on the current Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient allowances do not give assurances of nutritional adequacy and will not until ingredients are analyzed and bioavailability values are incorporated".

Meat meals, poultry meals, by-product meals, and meat-and-bone meal are common ingredients in dry pet foods. The term "meal" means that these materials are not used fresh, but have been rendered. What is rendering? As defined by Webster’s Dictionary, to render is "to process as for industrial use: to render livestock carcasses and to extract oil from fat, blubber, etc., by melting". In other words, raw materials are dumped into large vat and boiled for several hours. Rendering separates fat, removes water, and kills bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other organisms. However, the high temperatures used (270°F/130°C) can alter or destroy natural enzymes and proteins found in the raw ingredients.

The Food Pets Die for, a groundbreaking book released in 1997, was probably the first major publication to openly mention the cannibalistic nature of commercial pet foods. In it, author Ann Martin chronicled her detailed efforts to discover what it was that was in pet food that was making so many animals sick. Then, because of persistent rumors that rendered by-products contain dead dogs and cats, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a study looking for sodium pentobarbital, the drug most often used to kill companion animals in shelters, in pet foods. They found it. In 2001, Animal Ark reported on a study conducted by the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), which is a division of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The study tested pet foods for the presence of Sodium Pentobarbital. Of the foods tested from which a definitive result could be determined, 53% contained this "euthanasia solution". At the time, apologists for the pet food industry insisted that euthanasia solution could be getting into pet food from other sources, like farm animals, which are sometimes euthanized with Sodium Pentobarbital. This hypothesis, however, did not really stand up to scrutiny in the eyes of many. Dr. Linda Wolf, a Minnesota-based veterinary consultant, for example, pointed out that the original study concluded that the presence of the unwanted drug correlated to pet foods that contained unnamed animal sources for their ingredients. "If farm animals were the likely source of Sodium Pentobarbital, you would probably find it in foods that were made exclusively from farm animal sources, like beef and chicken", Wolf said. "But that is not the case. The study found the drug more commonly in products that used 'generic' sounding animal products, like 'animal fat', 'animal tallow', or 'meat and bone meal'". Clearly, pet food companies looking for super-cheap "meat" sources would be hesitant to add Fluffy or Fido to the ingredients lists of their products. This resulted in a variety of strange-sounding ingredients appearing on pet food labels, like, for example, "spray-dried animal digest". Ingredients that were most commonly associated with the presence of pentobarbital were meat-and-bone-meal and animal fat. However, they also used very sensitive tests to look for canine and feline DNA, which were not found. 

Industry insiders admit that rendered pets and roadkill were used in pet food some years ago. Although there are still no laws or regulations against it, the practice is uncommon today, and pet food companies universally deny that their products contain any such materials. However, so-called "4D" animals (dead, dying, diseased, disabled) were only recently banned for human consumption and are still legitimate ingredients for pet food.

A recently uncovered report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on rendering plants is raising eyebrows about what is finding its way into commercial pet food. To those who have studied the pet food industry, the report provides no new information. The statement getting the most attention reads quite simply: "Meat rendering plants process animal by-product materials for the production of tallow, grease, and high-protein meat and bone meal. Plants that operate in conjunction with animal slaughterhouses or poultry processing plants are called integrated rendering plants. Independent plants obtain animal by-product materials, including grease, blood, feathers, offal, and entire animal carcasses, from the following sources: butcher shops, supermarkets, restaurants, fast-food chains, poultry processors, slaughterhouses, farms, ranches, feedlots, and animal shelters". Combine this new EPA report with the knowledge that pet food manufacturers are the largest purchasers of these same rendered products, and, well, there is obvious reason for pet owners to be concerned with whether they are, in fact, feeding Fido to Fido. It is a concern that has been gaining attention since the mid 1990's.

More recently another book has shed light on some other dark spots of the pet food industry: Not Fit For a Dog, by Dr Michael Fox, Dr Elizabeth Hodgkins and Dr Marion Smart uncovered issues relating to the quality of other ingredients as well, including the use of foods considered "unfit for consumption". Hodgkins, it is worth noting, is a veterinarian who formerly worked in the nutrition department of Hill’s Pet Food Manufacturing, the makers of so-called "Science Diet". Fox is a world-famous veterinarian and writer of the syndicated "Animal Doctor" column. None of the authors have much good to say about the pet food industry as a whole, or Hodgkin's former employer in specific. In the wake of all of these other reports and publishings this new simple statement from the EPA does not seem like big news. It probably isn't, unless you are one of the people who bought into the glossy advertising and pretty labels put out by major pet food manufacturers. Each year, animal shelters in the USA destroy about 4 million dogs and cats. If each of those pets weighs on average 20 pounds (probably a conservative estimate) that equates to around 80 million pounds per year of very cheap "meat" source. It is sort of ironic that these same pet food companies then turn around and sponsor the animal shelters that may be the source of their "meat". 

On the other end of the pet food spectrum is a growing list suppliers of holistic or organic foods, as well as consumers that are learning to make their own pet foods. Many well informed dog and cat lovers know that pet food companies use low quality species inappropriate ingredients to make helthy profits. They are also profiting by developing special diets to diseases caused by poor quality precessed food. They know how valuable the connection with veterinarians could be and that is why these diets are offered exclusively to vets (who they also educate). One rarely sees a veterinary conference that is not be sponsored by either a drug or processed pet food company. It's not surprising that there is a symbiotic relationship between veterinarians and the pet industry, particularly when it comes to the pet medical community's perspective on pet food and general animal nutrition. Pet retailers - particularly those that deal in pet food - are often faced with the daunting task of attempting to suggest pet foods and diet options that run counter to what their customers' vets advise. Conversely, there are also conscientious, highly knowledgeable, courageous veterinarians who strongly oppose what's going on in the pet food industry, and have no compunction about speaking their minds.

I would like to ask my fellow vets, small animal veterinarians (pet's veterinarians) something that I always wondered about: Do you HONESTLY believe everything you say to your customers about commercial food? Even if the home made food is properly cooked, and having followed properly the cooking instructions, you would consider it wrong? I am not referred to cases where diseased animals are under therapeutic clinical diets. I am referring to absolutely healthy animals that are consistent in preventive health check of their dog or cat, and totally cooperative with the vet. I know that not every pet guardian has the best choice for their pets as the home made food costs both time and money, but if somebody is able to do so, why do you say no? Do you believe that it is so much difficult to implement proper home made nutrition in a pet than in a toddler? And if not why don't we choose to bring up our children only on commercial food? Have you ever heard about the various scandals involving commercial food? Do you have the impression that the protein used by commercial companies is the same pure fresh meat you find at your local butcher? Does the fact that factory farming exists because meat production is not sufficient to feed even human population (let alone growing population of pets) mean something to you? Have you taken in to consideration the fact that industries viability results from minimizing the cost and maximizing their profits? Have you ever heard about the recycling of animal corpses - deceased animals from various causes (not slaughtered farming animals) including different animal species like dogs and cats used as pet food? 

Relative links:
- Why Are Jerky Treats Making Pets Sick?- usatoday.com 
- www.econews.gr (Οκτώβριος 2013): Περίπου 600 σκυλιά και γάτες πέθαναν στις ΗΠΑ από το 2007 λόγω δηλητηριασμένων ζωοτροφών, ενώ άλλα 3.600 αρρώστησαν, όπως ανακοίνωσε ο Αμερικανικός Οργανισμός Τροφίμων και Φαρμάκων (FDA). Τα ζώα άρχισαν να πεθαίνουν και να αρρωσταίνουν σχεδόν μαζικά από τον Ιανουάριο, διάστημα κατά το οποίοι καταγράφηκαν πάνω από 3.200 περιστατικά δηλητηρίασης και 500 θάνατοι γατών και σκύλων, πιθανότατα λόγω κατανάλωσης ζωοτροφών με κοτόπουλο, πάπια, πατάτα και φρούτα, πολλές εκ των οποίων εισάγονται στις ΗΠΑ από την Κίνα. Ο FDA συνεχίζει την έρευνα, καθώς όπως δηλώνει δεν έχει εξακριβώσει με βεβαιότητα τα αίτια των θανάτων. Παράλληλα ζητά από τους πολίτες να συνδράμουν με πληροφορίες στην έρευνα.

Vet waiting room

It's not surprising that there is a symbiotic relationship between veterinarians and the pet industry. One rarely sees a veterinary conference that is not be sponsored by either a drug or processed pet food company. And many veterinary clinics make as much as 1/3 of their income from pet food so that the processed food sales may be essential to a veterinary practice survival.

Did you know that many of the commercial pet foods on the market are owned by large corporations? Yeah, so what? Well, think about the bottom line for these shareholders. What do you think is more important to the board of directors for these companies – making a profit, or making reputable products that encourage health? If you said profit, you are RIGHT. So how does one cut costs and increase profits? By reducing the quality of the ingredients, outsourcing to cheap factories, and by automation of the process to ensure that food is produced quickly, and shipped out to retailers across the U.S. So Who Controls What? 

 The Five Biggest Pet Food Corporations: 
1) Mars (wikipedia) Nutro, Royal Canin, Pedigree, Medi-Cal
2) Neste SA (wikipedia) Purina
3) Colgate Palmolive (Hills) Hills Pet Products (Science Diet)
4) Procter & Gamble Co. Iams, Eukanuba, Natura Pet Products: Karma, Innova, Evo, California Natural, Mother Nature, and Healthwise
5) Del Monte Foods Co. Natures Recipe, Pounce, Meow Mix, Kibbles & Bits, 9 Lives, Jerky Treats, Milk Bone
Current annual spending: Close to $18 billion. 
Are you surprised? Science Diet (the “most reputable” commercial diet, promoted in veterinary clinics across the nation) is owned and produced by Colgate Palmolive – a company best known for toothpaste! So before you purchase that bag of K/D or I/D, please consider the origin of this food.

See also:
  • Spanish confirm dog in pet food: http://www.alynsmith.eu/: SNP Member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has lodged an emergency Parliamentary Question with the European Commission in Brussels urging EU wide testing of pet food and animal feed after the Spanish authorities confirmed that dog DNA has indeed been found in pet food in Spain. (March 2013) 

Some videos I found (extremely shocking)


  • Most veterinarians acquire their only knowledge on pet nutrition in elective classes in veterinary school. These classes may only last a few weeks and are often taught by representatives from pet food companies. Hill's, lams, and Purina are the largest contributors for these courses. In addition, pet food companies even donate food to the vet students for their own companion animals. This practice has become so widespread among pet food companies that the veterinary school at Colorado State University made this an agenda item for an Executive Committee meeting in 2000. (Food Pets Die For By Ann N Martin, page 21)
  •  One of the dirty little secrets kept by the pet food industry is that some by-products also contain substances such as abscesses and cancerous material. In my opinion, feeding slaughterhouse wastes to animals increases their chances of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases. Some meat, especially glandular tissue, may contain high levels of hormones, which may also cause serious health problems including cancer. Unlike bacteria and viruses, these hormones are not destroyed by the high temperatures or pressure cooking used in the manufacture of pet food. Cats seem to be most adversely affected by high hormone levels. (Healing Pets With Nature's Miracle Cures By Henry Pasternak DVM CVA, page 11)
  • Cattle—dead, diseased, dying and disabled (4-D)—can legally be rendered and used in pet foods in the United States and in Canada. Rendering will not eradicate any of the TSEs, including the chronic wasting disease in deer, elk, and roadkill, which can also be rendered for use in pet food. The U.S. government believes it is safe to render diseased cattle for use in pet foods because this practice does not affect humans since we don't eat dogs and cats. But rendering diseased cattle into pet food does potentially endanger our animal companions. This is already happening in Europe. If dogs and cats succumb to a TSE disease, would their owners know the actual cause? (Food Pets Die For By Ann N Martin, page 100)
  •  Another staple of the Tenderer's diet, in addition to farm animals, is euthanized pets-the six or seven million dogs and cats that are killed in animal shelters every year. The city of Los Angeles alone, for example, sends some two hundred tons of euthanized cats and dogs to a rendering plant every month. Added to the blend are the euthanized catch of animal control agencies, and roadkill. (Roadkill is not collected daily, and in the summer, the better roadkill collection crews can generally smell it before they can see it.) When this gruesome mix is ground and steam-cooked, the lighter, fatty material floating to the top gets refined for use in such products as cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, candles, and waxes. The heavier protein material is dried and pulverized into a brown powder—about a quarter of which consists of fecal material. The powder is used as an additive to almost all pet food as well as to livestock feed. Farmers call it "protein concentrates." In 1995, five million tons of processed slaughterhouse leftovers were sold for animal feed in the United States. I used to feed tons of the stuff to my own livestock. It never concerned me that I was feeding cattle to cattle. (Mad Cowboy By Howard F Lyman, page 12)
  • After 45 weeks of producing fertile eggs plagued by hunger, debeaking, detoeing, decombing, toxic ammonia, and diseases, these breeder chickens are "liquidated" and turned into human animal "food" and nonhuman animal "feed" and pet food products. (Poisoned Chickens Poisoned Eggs By Karen Davis PhD, page 93)
  •  While researching and writing, there were times that I was absolutely horrified with what I discovered. There were other times when I was extremely frustrated with the run-around I received from government agencies, organizations involved with the pet food industry, the rendering industry, and at times, veterinary research centers. What has kept me going is the hope that pet owners will read my findings and be convinced that their pets' health is directly related to what they eat—and that most commercial pet foods are garbage. The most objectionable source of protein for pet food is euthanized cats and dogs. It is not uncommon for thousands of euthanized dogs and cats to be delivered to rendering plants, daily, and thrown into the rendering vat—collars, I.D. tags, and plastic bags—to become part of this material called "meat meal." (Food Pets Die For, by Ann N Martin, page 153)
  •  "One of the dirty little secrets kept by the pet food industry is that some by-products also contain substances such as abscesses and cancerous material. In my opinion, feeding slaughterhouse waste to animals increases their chances of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases. Some meat, especially glandular tissue, may contain high levels of hormones, which may also cause serious health problems including cancer. Unlike bacteria and viruses, these hormones are not destroyed by the high temperatures or pressure cooking used in the manufacture of pet food. Cats seem to be most adversely affected by high hormone levels". Healing Pets With Nature's Miracle Cures by Henry Pasternak DVM CVA, page 11


Do you know what is the Meat in Your Pet's Food?


Home made Pet Food
  • Thanks in large part to the pet food recalls of 2007 and 2012, there has been a growing interest in homemade pet food. Thus, Susan Trixon, a Florida-based pet food activist and founder of the Web site Truth About Pet Food.com, decided to come up with homemade pet food for her large brood of dogs and cats. She ultimately joined forces with Indiana veterinarian Dr Cathy Alinovi (Fb), a certified veterinary food therapist, to write Dinner PAWsible: A cookbook for health nutritious meals for cats and dogs, a comprehensive, self-published recipe book and nutritional guide to home cooking for pets, released in September 2011. Thixton had a chance encounter with Dr. Cathy in 2007, when the vet contacted her in regard to a pet food she was concerned about. As the two were on the same page in many respects, they formed an alliance that resulted in their collaborating on the pet food cookbook. They used NRC and Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines to develop the proper nutritional requirements for their homemade pet food recipes. Dr. Cathy, mom to 10 dogs and five cats, also went to seminars and learned about the connection between pet food and pet allergies. “I starting feeding my dog the homemade pet food and she stopped itching and shedding within three days,” she said. “Pets' personalities also improve with these foods". Thixton does recommend cooking these homemade pet food recipes because of the questionable ingredients in modern meats. There are other homemade pet food cookbooks out there, including “The Culinary Canine: Great Chefs Cook for Their Dogs – And So Can You!,” which has gotten a ton of publicity. But “Dinner PAWsible” has a paw up in that it’s not just a pet food cookbook; it’s a nutritional guide written by someone who has spent 20 years doggedly (if you’ll pardon the pun) researching and investigating pet health and nutrition, and a veterinarian who also has conducted a considerable amount of research into this often highly confusing subject. Dinner PAWsible Now an ePub. For two delish pet food recipes, click here. Source: http://petshops.about.com/od/petfood/p/Homemade-Pet-Food-Recipes.htm 
  • Homemade pet foods are nothing new. In fact, it's only been within the last couple of generations that the majority of pet parents have begun serving their companion animals commercial pet foods. As the authors of "Dinner PAWsible" have pointed out, the commercial pet food industry (and many veterinarians, for that matter) have long frowned on serving pets table scraps and people foods. People of my grandparents' generation solely served table scraps and homemade meals to their pets, and their pets often lived to be ripe old ages. The bottom line is, people foods are not only fine for pets, these are arguably much healthier than commercial pet foods. But Are these Homemade Pet Foods Nutritionally Balanced? The answer is, "Yes". Read more at http://petshops.about.com/od/PetSupplies/r/Homemade-Pet-Food-Recipes.htm
  • Commercial pet foods have long contained questionable ingredients (including toxic chemicals) because there are limited regulations and inspections in place to test these products. Yet, many veterinarians and most dog owners continue to be in the dark about these harmful additives and feed their beloved dogs these troublesome foods. Poor nutrition leads to more health complications, leading many dogs to spend the majority of their lives in some state of disease or pain. In Fresh Food and Ancient Winstom, longtime veterinarian Dr Ihor Basko, DVM (Fb) offers a simple guide to improving your dog's health and happiness through balanced diets filled with natural, organic and fresh ingredients. This book, filled with easy-to-make recipes for all types of dogs in all stages of life, explains why diet change is one of the most important gestures we can make for our pets. Dr. Basko is an expert in the area of dog nutrition.

4 Tips for Feeding Bones to Your Dogs Safely

Care and Love and  
       is what we need      

Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition 



Just "Google" it! 


The pet food market has been dominated in the last few years by the acquisition of big companies by even bigger companies. With $15 billion a year at stake in the U.S. and rapidly expanding foreign markets, it’s no wonder that some are greedy for a larger piece of the pie... The idea that one pet food provides all the nutrition a companion animal will ever need for its entire life is a dangerous myth. Today, the diets of cats and dogs are a far cry from the variable meat-based diets that their ancestors ate. The unpleasant results of grain-based, processed, year-in and year-out diets are common. Health problems associated with diet include: Urinary tract disease, Kidney disease, Dental disease, Obesity, Chronic digestive problems, Bloat, Heart disease, Hyperthyroidism and so on. Get The Facts via Born Free USA here. The same article translated article in Greek here.

Sadly for your pets, the pet food industry is rapidly becoming Big Business. Big Business to the tune of $15 billion worldwide. Behind closed doors, strategic, acquisitions of smaller companies are quietly taking place - clearly to capitalize on the tremendous profits the pet food industry offers. What most pet owners don't realize is that the pet food industry is actually an extension of the food and agricultural industries. Pet food provides these giant multinational corporations a very convenient and very profitable "built-in" market for wastes left over from their human food production. But here's the problem: Your beloved pet was never designed to eat 'waste'! Dr. Karen Becker (Fb -- info) is a licensed Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, pleased to have joined forces with Dr Joseph Mercola to help educate readers about natural animal health. Do you know what is the Meat in Your Pet's Food? Unless you prepare your pet's food yourself, you really don't know for sure what's in it. Read more at http://products.mercola.com/healthypets/real-food-for-healthy-dogs-and-cats-cookbook/
"Σχετικά με την πυκνότητα του ούρου, οι γάτες ως καταγόμενες από προγόνους που διαβιούσαν σε ερήμους, έχουν ιδιαίτερη ικανότητα συμπύκνωσης του ούρου, ώστε και σήμερα ως οικόσιτες, εξακολουθούν κάτω από φυσιολογικές συνθήκες να παράγουν πυκνό ούρο (φυσιλογικό Ε.Β.> 1035). Έτσι , παράγοντες που ευνοούν την περαιτέρω συμπύκνωσή τους, οδηγούν σε υπερκορεσμό του ούρου σε κρυσταλλοειδή και τελικά στην κατακρήμνηση αυτών. Τέτοιος παράγοντας είναι η ποιότητα της τροφής και η συχνότητα των ουρήσεων. Η διατροφή των ζώων αποκλειστικά με ξηρή βιομηχανοποιημένη τροφή ενοχοποιήθηκε γιατί προκάλεσε έκρηξη κρουσμάτων FUS (FLUTD)". Πηγή (Fb)

[Παρουσίαση της FLUTD από την εταιρία ζωοτροφών Hills:  
1 (Fb), 2 (Fb), Συχνοί παράγοντες κινδύνου (κατά την γνώμη μου, απολύτως αντεστραμμένοι!)]  

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