you watch much television at all youre bound to see the ads:
sleek and handsome purebred dogs running across the screen in slow
motion, so eager to reach the bowl of Gravy Train (or Alpo or Mighty
Dog, you name the brand). Recently, most of ads show the dogs with
their owners (trainers and veterinarians) telling us how wholesome
and nutritious this food is for their beloved pets. Commercial pet
food is a great convenience for busy pet owners but do we really
know exactly what we are feeding our furry friends and companions?
The $11 billion per year U.S. pet food industry would like us to believe
that we are feeding our animals a wholesome and nutritious diet as
they try so hard to portray in their ads.
What most consumers dont know is that the pet food industry,
an extension of the human food and agriculture industries, is just
a way for these large companies to get rid of their waste. What
really is in pet food? The answer to this question is shocking and
disturbing, but important for the well-informed consumer to know.
The majority of commercial pet foods are made by a handful of large
- Alpo, Fancy Feast, Friskies and Mighty Dog are produced by Nestle
- 9-Lives, Amore, Gravy Train, Kibbles & Bits, Recipe,
Vets are from Heinz
- Colgate makes Hills Science Diet
- Proctor & Gamble Produces Eukanuba and Iams.
According to Dr. Richard Pitcairn in his book, Dr. Pitcairns
Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, there is no
mandatory federal inspection of ingredients used in pet food manufacturing.
In all but two or three states, the law allows pet food makers to
use 4-D sources, that is tissues from animals that are
dead, dying, disabled or diseased when they arrive at the slaughterhouse.
Another shocking fact is that before meat even arrives at the rendering
plant it has already been saturated with chemicals.
To comply with government regulations all meat rejected by slaughterhouses
must be denatured-- a procedure designed to make it
unpalatable to humans, thus ensuring it cannot be resold as human
grade meat. There are a variety of methods used. Dr. Wendell Belfied,
DVM (former USDA vet) wrote in Lets Live magazine:
In my time as a veterinary meat inspector, we denatured with
carbolic acid (phenol, a potentially corrosive disinfectant) and/or
creosote (used to preserve wood, also a disinfectant). According
to federal meat inspection regulations, fuel oil, kerosene, carbolic
acid and citronella are the approved denaturing materials used.
Other foods rejected by the USDA that end up in pet foods include
moldy grains and rancid animal fats.
According to an article in Environmental News (March
99) a large percentage of commercial pet food is made up of
meat by-products: a toxic brew containing diseased and contaminated
meat from slaughterhouses, animal heads, toenails, chicken feathers,
feet and beaks. It also includes dead animals picked up from the
nations roads, rancid restaurant grease, and thousands of
animals euthanized in animal hospitals and shelters (flea collars
and all). Along with the meat come any drugs that have been introduced
into the animals such as hormones, antibiotics and barbiturates
used to put pets to sleep. Unsold supermarket meats arrive in their
original trays, and are tossed into the pot along with Styrofoam
and plastic packaging.
If you havent already made some changes in your pets
diet, this information will certainly make you want to seek some
alternatives. One good resource for dietary information is Dr. Pitcairns
book, which contains recipes to make your pets food as well
as natural alternatives to commercial foods. Other recommendations
for reading on this subject are the book Foods Pets Die For by
Ann Martin, New Sage Press, 1977.
According to the Whole Dog Journal, vol.3, no.8, quality
foods should contain the following:
- Superior sources of protein (whole meats or single-source meat
- A meat source as one of the first two ingredients (chicken or
chicken meal for instance)
- Whole, unprocessed grains, vegetables and other foods (rich
in nutrients and Enzymes).
Quality food should NOT contain:
- Meat by-products (which are produced through the rendering process)
- Artificial preservatives (BHA, BHT, or Ethoxyquin)
- Artificial colors
- Propylene glycol.
It would be wonderful if we could all feed our animals an all-natural
raw food diet, but for some the following alternatives will be very
helpful. The following is not a complete list of all the respected
brands that are available, but it will give you some names to look
FLINT RIVER RANCH
STEVES REAL FOOD
We share this information to educate consumers on the potentially
dangerous ingredients that are in most commercial pet foods. Of
course, a natural diet is the best for our companion pets
good health. A healthy pet is a happy pet.