The Dog Food Recalls
From the desk of Mogens Eliasen - first published: May 3, 2007, reproduced from "The Peeing Post", the April 12, 2007 issue, with some additional updated references.
Please note that the brief conclusions in this article are further elaborated on and explain in "Conclusions from the Dog Food Recalls".
Lately, we have experienced a whole swarm of pet food recalls. And they continue! There are good reasons to be scared, if you are not willing to draw the full conclusions from this - and, unfortunately, most people still believe that this is a matter of choosing one devil in preference of another, simply by shifting brands or by demanding government regulation. Neither will change a thing; it only shoves the dirt under the carpet. The scandal is a predictable consequence of accepting the concept of feeding animals food that is not natural for them.
Lately, we have experienced a whole swarm of pet food recalls. And they continue!
There are good reasons to be scared, if you are not willing to draw the full conclusions from this - and, unfortunately, most people still believe that this is a matter of choosing one devil in preference of another, simply by shifting brands or by demanding government regulation.
Neither will change a thing; it only shoves the dirt under the carpet. The scandal is a predictable consequence of accepting the concept of feeding animals food that is not natural for them.
Some official references
I am not going to repeat what other people already have said or written about it, but I will just refer to some of the sources that I feel are worth checking out, if you haven't already got enough of it:
You can find hundreds of similar publications. At http://www.itchmo.com, you can find an overview of all those recalls, and the sheer numbers are scary.
You might also find Tom Lonsdale's comments interesting. And you might feel disgusted when you learn how little our so-called "protectors" care about doing anything to stop this from happening again. I must say that I completely agree with Tom about concluding that this whole scandal is not about whether or not a Chinese subcontractor went beyond what the pet food manufacturer could and should expect. It is about the whole concept of the pet food manufacturing industry taking for granted that it is perfectly OK for them to use ingredients in the food that are not natural to eat for the animals, for whom the food is intended. That's the ice berg. The melamine case is just the tip of it.
The lesson to learn is not that you should shift brand...
Has anyone seen any apology from any of the manufacturers? Just asking.... because I have not. It just goes to show how much they are "committed to the welfare of their customers' pets". The only tangible commitment shown so far is to saving their own butt and confine their financial losses. It's amazing how they dare to actually rephrase their stupidifying verbiage about that commitment, even in a situation like this, where there would be lots and lots of tangible ways to prove that they meant what they said!
However, there are some important conclusions that are not drawn by the media. You need to draw them yourself, if you haven't done so already. Let me help you on the way...
As you notice, the recalls go right across "brands" and include even the most prestigious brands, the so-called "high-quality kibble". The entire industry is so logistically interwoven and corrupt (they buy from each other and use the same subcontractors) that it truly is only the marketing and the dividends to the shareholders that make them different from each other. My point: it is NOT "just the cheap brands" that are subject to this. You have zero protection by trying to pay a premium price - it does NOT give you a premium product!
The problems have all been related to poisonous chemicals that occur either naturally or as a result of human action, but all related to grain, grain storage, and grain production. Grain products constitute about 2/3 of just about any kibble product. However, grains do not appear at all on the wolf's natural menu; it has never been part of its diet - not even its prey's diet! This discrepancy alone should make it come as no surprise to anyone that anything going wrong here will cause major trouble - and that the risk of it happening is much greater than the risk of things going wrong with what Mother Nature designed for the wolf and its modern descendants. In Menu Food's case, the poisons are the natural waste products from certain micro-organisms that sometimes infest grain products. Much like the "storage mite", whose poop gives 80% of all dogs in Europe "allergy" and skin irritations.
The poisons, when first discovered and finally tested in the manufacturer's laboratory, resulted in a death toll of about 35% among the dogs in the test, in a matter of a few days. That should deserve being called "serious"! Nevertheless - this time, it took over a month to get all involved brands off the shelves, and nobody is truly sure if it has happened yet... And this still leaves the question about what happened to the recalls back in October - they basically were just ignored by just about everybody...
Another thing that is important to notice is that it took about a month from the first cases were presented to the manufacturer by the government, before this manufacturer took any serious action and gave the public any information at all. During that month, sales continued.... nobody was warned.... even vets had no clue, and got no support from their organizations or from government, because each and every one of them worked in isolation - no reporting system is in place for cases like this. But the company's testing showed a mortality of 35% among the dogs that were fed the food, in a matter of a couple of days...
The pressing question is, "Could it happen again?"
And the unpleasant answer is, "Absolutely! It will happen again, because we still have nothing in place and nothing suggested to be put in place in order to prevent this from repeating itself."
Next time, possibly with some other poison, though, but still: it will be related to grains and grain products not being a natural ingredient of a healthy diet for Canis Lupus, nor for Canis Lupus Familiaris. The reason for this being so important is that these animals have never had a chance to develop any natural protection against those issues that can go wrong about grain products, particularly not when managed artificially by man. When we discuss other possible problems, related to natural food sources, then we will see that dogs have a series of excellent defense mechanisms in place against all those common problems that naturally can be associated with those foods. They have to. Those of them who didn't are not the ones who gave birth to our modern dogs - they are now extinct....
What is the conclusion?
Very simple, plain logic:
QUIT FEEDING SUCH UNNATURAL CRAP!
I don't care how many toes are going to be hurt by my hard boots here, but there is NO excuse for being so lazy that buying and feeding unnatural foods is all a pet owner can think of for his/her pet. It is irresponsibly ignorant.
Ten years ago, I might have been a bit softer on this, but that was then, and this is now. Reality now is that raw natural food is available from so many sources that nobody can claim not to have any - or not to have any within an affordable price range. There are enough raw food suppliers all over the continent, in North America, Europe, and Australia to make such a claim a blatant lie. I do not know about Asia, South America, and Africa - but I do know that even there, they still have food sources for people, and those food sources include meat products of all kinds, so, although the logistics might be different, the net result does not have to be.
If you can buy food for yourself and your family, you can also buy food for your dog. The difference is in how you balance ingredients, and how you prepare them. If you cannot put together a natural and healthy diet for the animals in your care, you should not have those animals.
And yet, there is a warning. It is not a matter of "just feeding some raw stuff". With some luck, it might be. But there are many known accounts of it not promoting the dog's health very well, if at all. The claim from the kibble-supporters that "a raw meat diet" often leads to malnourishment is most likely correct. Responsible feeding takes more than just throwing a few chicken wings to the dogs every day.Wolves are not scientists. And they don't read book on diet. The trick is to be able to select what is worth buying - and to do so with balanced look to the wolf's natural diet. Just face it: you cannot BUY "dog food"! But you can buy all the ingredients you need...
You can't buy "human food" either, can you? Where are the bags in the supermarkets that have written on them, "This is all your family needs in terms of nourishment, for the rest of their lives"? For humans, we can see what a joke this is. The only difference to dogs is that dogs and human have different needs, but those needs are equally diversified and most definitely not covered by any single food source whatsoever.
Educating pet owners
If you want to help other people get out of this mess and get onto taking responsible charge for their dogs, then here are four resources you can recommend for them to educate themselves on what it takes to feed a natural diet:
I know, you most likely have several of these titles already - but seriously: please help other people get this information too... I think the current scandal about "pet food" should be more than sufficient motivation for your friends to at least listen to what you have to say about this!
If it makes life easier for you, then you are more than welcome to simply forward the URL for this article to the dog people you know.
And, just for the record: The scaremonger about bacteria in raw foods is exactly that: scaremonger! (You can find proof of this here.) You need to use proper hygiene whenever touching raw foods, whether they are meant for the dog or for the frying pan, the pot, or the grill. No exceptions. And that also means: control your children! There is no reason whatsoever for them sharing the dog's food - or crawling around on the floor where you fed your dog. It is a complete misperception that a carnivore should have food available all time, as if it were a cow or a horse grazing. Whatever dog food is not eaten right away simply disappears! That's Nature's rule - and it should be yours too. Particularly if you have small children that have not yet been properly obedience trained so they understand and respect your instructions...
P.S. Please also check "Conclusions from the Dog Food Recalls" for a more in-depth analysis of the situation and the conclusion we should draw from it.
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