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Campaign for the regulation of pet food industry





mel_t
I hope it is ok that I post this here. I haven't noticed too many posts on the pet food recall, so maybe it isn't a going concern for most of you, but for those of us with cats and dogs, it's an important issue.

I belong to a feline diabetes message board and some of the people there have organized a letter writing campaign to their US Senators and they actually had success in that one of the Senators from Illinois along with another house representative sent letters to the FDA and Menu Foods demanding answers. They are continuing on with their campaign to keep the momentum up.

I just wanted to urge those of you who are interested in this issue to write to your State Senators to demand attention to this issue. If you would like sample letters and enclosures, you can find them at the following site:
http://www.petfoodcrusade.com/ (you just need to scroll down beyond the first section)

I am Canadian, so I will be writing to my Members of Parliament as well.
Again, I hope it is ok to have posted this - since my cat was diagnosed with diabetes last spring, I've done a lot of research and become very passionate about feline nutrition.

Thank you in advance to anyone who is willing to participate.

Mel
seagullspirit
are ya kidding me ? so many things go to crap all around us and pet food is what you wanna write politicians about ? I guess this is the perfect example of our world today major things go array and we decide to make a ruckus about the least important stuff we can come up with.
coolclay
I think it is as much the pet owners fault then it is the governments. The pet owners just go to the store and buy this crap without even caring whats in it, or considering what they are feeding their pets. Maybe this is the wakeup call pet owners needed to finally pay attention to what they feed their pets.
HoboPelican
seagullspirit wrote:
are ya kidding me ? so many things go to crap all around us and pet food is what you wanna write politicians about ? I guess this is the perfect example of our world today major things go array and we decide to make a ruckus about the least important stuff we can come up with.

I'm sorry, it IS a big deal. Not the biggest, but just because you don't seem to care about pets, doesn't mean they aren't important to most of the the US population. Sorry we don't care about "real" issues like banning Texans from the White House.

coolclay wrote:
I think it is as much the pet owners fault then it is the governments. The pet owners just go to the store and buy this crap without even caring whats in it, or considering what they are feeding their pets. Maybe this is the wakeup call pet owners needed to finally pay attention to what they feed their pets


Well, if you look at the recall, some of the most respected brands were in the recall. In fact, almost every manufacturer was involved. A consumer could research every item in the ingredients and never know that rat poison was in the food. The companies themselves didn't know.
Vrythramax
seagullspirit wrote:
are ya kidding me ? so many things go to crap all around us and pet food is what you wanna write politicians about ? I guess this is the perfect example of our world today major things go array and we decide to make a ruckus about the least important stuff we can come up with.


I agree with Hobopelican here, I find your response callous at best. We, as humans, are defined by how we treat the lives around us....that includes animals.

There are certainly much graver concerns in the world, but what world would we really have if everything was just reduced to mere inane arguements?

Point of fact....the only one attempting to make a "ruckus" was, and is, you.

If you don't like a topic....pass it by.
Duncan Idaho
Is this in Canada or the U.S? I could see it as a concern either way; but I'd be a little more worried if it was in my country. I would indeed be worried though.
eggg
I think we need to deal with the human food supply and its ingredient issues first.
HoboPelican
eggg wrote:
I think we need to deal with the human food supply and its ingredient issues first.


Hmm, like what issues? Right now the human food industry in the US is pretty heavily regulated. Of course, the health supplements field isn't. I really would like to see that industry pulled into the FDAs jurisdiction.

But, back to the issue, is it impossible for us to do 2 things at once? Why are you so against this?
coolclay
Quote:
Well, if you look at the recall, some of the most respected brands were in the recall. In fact, almost every manufacturer was involved. A consumer could research every item in the ingredients and never know that rat poison was in the food. The companies themselves didn't know.


Thats exactly what I am talking about, just because some manufacture is respected, and everyone says is good, and puts a bunch of healthy sounding crap, on their bag, and says oh this is wonderful for your dog doesn't mean jack sh*t. They just want to sell their product, and they will say anything to do that. Yea so they didn't know there was rat poison in the food well you know what a truelly responsible manufacture would have tested it.

Once I get a house, and settle down, and get a dog, I would never feed them some crap made in a factory. I would make my own food, which isn't that hard to do especially with the amount of meat scraps I have. Heck even back when I had an aquarium, and fish, I made my own food. Now I have a snake and 2 bearded dragons, and I have never ever bought the crap they sell at the store.

Thats just my opinion, if you really want to trust your animals health to some big corporation thats after the almighty dollar, feel free.
HoboPelican
coolclay wrote:
...
Thats exactly what I am talking about, just because some manufacture is respected, and everyone says is good, and puts a bunch of healthy sounding crap, on their bag, and says oh this is wonderful for your dog doesn't mean jack sh*t. They just want to sell their product, and they will say anything to do that. Yea so they didn't know there was rat poison in the food well you know what a truelly responsible manufacture would have tested it.
...

Thats just my opinion, if you really want to trust your animals health to some big corporation thats after the almighty dollar, feel free.


Hmm, do you make your own food for yourself? Or do you trust a corporation for some of that? It's great that you THINK you will make your own food for your future pet, but unless you live on a farm, somewhere along the line aren't you trusting someone else? Anything you don't grow yourself is suspect, isn't it?

I don't know, it seems to me that better regulation makes more sense. Even that is not going to be perfect (look at the human food recalls), but it's a start.
Vrythramax
@Hobo

I have two words for you, and I'm sure you'll remember them "Soylent Green".
standready
Duncan Idaho wrote:
Is this in Canada or the U.S? I could see it as a concern either way; but I'd be a little more worried if it was in my country. I would indeed be worried though.

Canada should be inclued. Some of the productions are in Canada.

mmmmm.....Soylent Green!

The government should regulate everything Laughing
funnyerror
My dog was killed by the recalled foods. It was Friskies Chicken in Gravy. I cant believe the company can get away with killing innocent dogs.


-FE
Vrythramax
standready wrote:
Duncan Idaho wrote:
Is this in Canada or the U.S? I could see it as a concern either way; but I'd be a little more worried if it was in my country. I would indeed be worried though.

Canada should be inclued. Some of the productions are in Canada.

mmmmm.....Soylent Green!

The government should regulate everything Laughing


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Wipes a tear from his eye....I agree.

*Soylent Green is good for you*
woundedhealer
I feed my dog fresh (frozen) food. She has raw rabbit, rice and vegetables. It's as close to a natural diet as I can give her, it's additive free, easy to prepare and cheaper than store-bought food. She's only small, so I make big batches and freeze it. If she were bigger I would probably include other grains.

I don't understand why anyone would buy ready-made food and then complain about the quality of it. I don't understand why people give their cats and dogs dried food. In dogs, this can cause them to try and scrounge people's food. Who can blame them when they are fed such a boring diet?
{name here}
HoboPelican wrote:
eggg wrote:
I think we need to deal with the human food supply and its ingredient issues first.


Hmm, like what issues?

The outbreaks of diseases in our vegtable supply. The meat industry is heavily regulated. However, the vegtable industry is not as heavily regulated, and is thus prone to problems like that.
loophole64
coolclay wrote:
I think it is as much the pet owners fault then it is the governments. The pet owners just go to the store and buy this crap without even caring whats in it, or considering what they are feeding their pets. Maybe this is the wakeup call pet owners needed to finally pay attention to what they feed their pets.


It was for me. It's true that the recall included respected manufacturers, like Iams, which is what I fed my cats. Why would I feed my cats Iams dry cat food? Because when I got my first cat, I asked my vet what to feed him, and she recommended it. I stupidly took her advice without looking into it myself.

All it really takes is a look at the list of ingredients. Most store bought foods will contain meat 'by-products' instead of actual meat. They often have wheat gluten added 'for protein,' which is just rediculous. Cats are carnivours, and dry foods are generally based on grains, like corn meal and rice meal. Cats have a hard time digesting that stuff.

The bottom line is that these major manufacturers make food to get them the largest possible profit. That is their bottom line. The marketing spiel about how healthy it is for your pet is often a straight up bold faced lie. Don't be a sucker. Research what's good for your pet, and for yourself.

I am still using manufactured cat food because I haven't found snything I can cook yet that my cats will eat. I am using Drs. Foster and Smith canned cat food, which seems to be made with a real interest in providing my cats the nutrition they need.

That being said, there is no reason that manufacturers can't be reeled in and called out on what they are doing. If they are making something that is hurting our friends, they should be called to account, and stopped from doing it.

Focusing on this issue is about more than just our pets though. By bringing attention to the quality of the food our pets eat, we also bring attention to the quality of food in general. I think people in our country are starting to wake up to just how out of control the food industry has gotten, and how poor the food quality has become in an effort to make a buck. Fast food places are more like drug dealers than restaurants today. Super Size Me anyone?

Once people learn to stop buying the crap that's cheapest, and start to get what's good, manufacturers will be forced to change their ways, because they will have to sell what's good to make a buck. Getting people informed and calling attention to the most obvious abuses of corporations, like this pet food recall, are a step in that direction.
woundedhealer
Quote:
All it really takes is a look at the list of ingredients. Most store bought foods will contain meat 'by-products' instead of actual meat. They often have wheat gluten added 'for protein,' which is just rediculous. Cats are carnivours, and dry foods are generally based on grains, like corn meal and rice meal. Cats have a hard time digesting that stuff.


Cat's like dogs also eat vegetables and grains in the wild. When they make a kill, they go for the stomach contents first, and as their prey tend to be plant eaters, cats and dogs get their veggies and grains. Even domestic cats are capable of killing and eating rabbits,

Quote:
The bottom line is that these major manufacturers make food to get them the largest possible profit. That is their bottom line. The marketing spiel about how healthy it is for your pet is often a straight up bold faced lie. Don't be a sucker. Research what's good for your pet, and for yourself.


We can choose to eat healthily or not, pets don't have that choice. I don't eat junk food or ready meals, so I'm not going to do less for my dog.
Quote:

I am still using manufactured cat food because I haven't found snything I can cook yet that my cats will eat. I am using Drs. Foster and Smith canned cat food, which seems to be made with a real interest in providing my cats the nutrition they need.


You can cook up rice or give other grain, lightly cook and mince up a mixture of veggies. Both rice and veg can be frozen in ice-cube makers. For protien there's chicken, rabbit, fish. For calcium, egg, including the crushed up shell. I add the egg, shell and also sunflower oil to the veg before it's frozen. You should be able to find websites which advise on quantities needed and in what proportion, also what veg is good which mustn't be given. People have been keeping cats for a long time, much longer than commercial cat food has been about for

Quote:

Focusing on this issue is about more than just our pets though. By bringing attention to the quality of the food our pets eat, we also bring attention to the quality of food in general. I think people in our country are starting to wake up to just how out of control the food industry has gotten, and how poor the food quality has become in an effort to make a buck. Fast food places are more like drug dealers than restaurants today. Super Size Me anyone?


While people use these places, they're going to carry on as they are. They'd soon have to change if people stopped using them.

Quote:

Once people learn to stop buying the crap that's cheapest, and start to get what's good, manufacturers will be forced to change their ways, because they will have to sell what's good to make a buck. Getting people informed and calling attention to the most obvious abuses of corporations, like this pet food recall, are a step in that direction.



Schools need cookery classes, teaching how to make good quality, reasonably-priced meals. So many leave school having no idea how to cook nutritious meals. So many many mothers can't cook, so their children can't. If they aren't well off, they're going to go for the cheapest food, when they can cook cheaper meals using fresh ingredients. It's a viscious circle. Baked beans on toast is a cheaper, more nutritous snack than a pot noodle - which tastes disgusting!!!

So many people have no idea what real food tastes like.
Vrythramax
I reiterate...."soylent green is good for you".
squirrelmaster
well soylent green does actually have some 'meat' in it, even though most people wouldn't consider it that, it just might have nutritional value.
so you cant accuse them of false advertising, Rolling Eyes

anyway about the pet food, there is just a lack of communication between the companies and the stores that sell the food. The store I work at didn't get the memo until someone saw it on the news, so that just goes to show what kind of world we live in. The stores should be the one of the first to be informed about this kind of stuff Rolling Eyes
coolclay
Quote:
Hmm, do you make your own food for yourself? Or do you trust a corporation for some of that? It's great that you THINK you will make your own food for your future pet, but unless you live on a farm, somewhere along the line aren't you trusting someone else? Anything you don't grow yourself is suspect, isn't it?

No, I don't live on a farm (besides a large garden), but I do hunt, and I hunt well. And yes I do make most of my own food. I admit occasionally I don't but the majority of the time, I do.
Vrythramax
I know this a bit off topic, but the Musician Ted Nugent (who also happens to be the National Vice President of the NRA here in the US), only eats what he can hunt or grow.....considering he uses a .50 cal. Barnett Arms Sniper rifle to hunt with....I imagine it's not diffcult for to take down a defenseless deer (or possible the occasional tree/motor home/dump truck/municiple building)

*snicker* (I couldn't help myself!) Laughing Laughing
woundedhealer
Soylent green ? I don't think we have it in the UK. What's so special about it?
mel_t
seagullspirit wrote:
are ya kidding me ? so many things go to crap all around us and pet food is what you wanna write politicians about ? I guess this is the perfect example of our world today major things go array and we decide to make a ruckus about the least important stuff we can come up with.


This would hardly be considered the "least important stuff" to the over 39% of US households that own at least one dog and the over 34% who own at least one cat (The Humane Society of the United States). Pet Food is a $12 Billion industry in the US.

In Canada, it is a $1.4 Billion industry and nearly 50% of all households own a cat or a dog.

As a side note, there are a lot of less fortunate people who turn to eating pet food because it is a cheap source of protein:
(from http://www.fooddomain.msu.edu/consumer_faq_safety.htm#10 )
"U.S. laws require that pet foods be processed, so that they are safe for human consumption. Part of the logic behind this is that, when people lose jobs, the sale of pet food increases. Obviously, unemployed individuals on limited incomes are not buying pets. Hence, it is safe for humans to consume pet foods." Source: Kenneth N. Hall, Ph.D., professor emeritus, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut.
mel_t
Duncan Idaho wrote:
Is this in Canada or the U.S? I could see it as a concern either way; but I'd be a little more worried if it was in my country. I would indeed be worried though.


This is in both Canada AND the U.S. The site I posted is U.S.-based; in theory, there are regulations on pet food in the US, but in actuality, most of the regulations are not well-enforced, if at all. The following article, by a Harvard Law student, does a great job of explaining the problems with the industry in the US:
http://leda.law.harvard.edu/leda/data/784/Patrick06.html

In Canada, there is NO regulation on the pet food industry. We have just launched a campagn site for the regulation of pet food in Canada:
http://www.petfoodcampaign.blogspot.com/
{name here}
woundedhealer wrote:
Soylent green ? I don't think we have it in the UK. What's so special about it?

Soylent green is a food item and a center of the plot of a movie of the same title. It is made of people.
mel_t
woundedhealer wrote:
Quote:
All it really takes is a look at the list of ingredients. Most store bought foods will contain meat 'by-products' instead of actual meat. They often have wheat gluten added 'for protein,' which is just rediculous. Cats are carnivours, and dry foods are generally based on grains, like corn meal and rice meal. Cats have a hard time digesting that stuff.


Cat's like dogs also eat vegetables and grains in the wild. When they make a kill, they go for the stomach contents first, and as their prey tend to be plant eaters, cats and dogs get their veggies and grains. Even domestic cats are capable of killing and eating rabbits,


The amount of vegetables and grains a cat would get from a prey's stomach is very small, and in addition, they would be partially digested by the prey as well. This article explains why cats are designed for a diet very low in carbohydrates: http://www.catinfo.org/zorans_article.pdf

In it, Dr. Zoran states that cats lack salivary amylase, which is responsible for initiating carbohydrate digestion. They also have low activities of intestinal and pancreatic enzymes that break down carbs in the small intestines. She cites these facts as the evidence that cats are
adapted for a primarily meat diet (i.e. less than 10% carbs)
Quote:

Quote:

I am still using manufactured cat food because I haven't found snything I can cook yet that my cats will eat. I am using Drs. Foster and Smith canned cat food, which seems to be made with a real interest in providing my cats the nutrition they need.


You can cook up rice or give other grain, lightly cook and mince up a mixture of veggies. Both rice and veg can be frozen in ice-cube makers. For protien there's chicken, rabbit, fish. For calcium, egg, including the crushed up shell. I add the egg, shell and also sunflower oil to the veg before it's frozen. You should be able to find websites which advise on quantities needed and in what proportion, also what veg is good which mustn't be given. People have been keeping cats for a long time, much longer than commercial cat food has been about for


As in my statement above, cats should not be fed grains or vegetables. Also, there are supplements that should be added to any homemade food, in particular, taurine, the lack of which can cause cardiomyopathy in cats. When my cat was diagnosed with diabetes last spring, I researched diet and started her initially on low carb, and then an all raw diet. I use a recipe specially formulated for cats, which contains chicken with bone ground in, liver and hearts(for taurine) and I also add raw egg yolk, B vitamins, vitamin E, wild salmon oil and a few others. This recipe can be found at www.catnutrition.org.
woundedhealer
Quote:
The amount of vegetables and grains a cat would get from a prey's stomach is very small, and in addition, they would be partially digested by the prey as well.


You're right, the amount of vegetables and grains a cat would get from a rabbit is very small, but they do eat it. They also eat a type of grass when their system is out of sorts or if they have furballs.

I have dogs and I understand they have different dietry needs to cats. As I don't have cats I've never needed to check out what their needs are. I was just trying to point out that cats, as well as dogs, can have their food prepared at home.

The cooking of grains and vegetables, and the mincing of the vegetables make them more digestable, emulating the partially digested food they would get from the stomach contents.

Quote:
She cites these facts as the evidence that cats are
adapted for a primarily meat diet (i.e. less than 10% carbs) ....... As in my statement above, cats should not be fed grains or vegetables.


This is a contradiction. Either they have less than 10% carbs or they have none.

Quote:
Also, there are supplements that should be added to any homemade food, in particular, taurine, the lack of which can cause cardiomyopathy in cats ...... liver and hearts(for taurine)


So as long as a cats diet includes liver and heart they wouldn't need taurine supplements? I do understand that some animals may need supplements.

I give my dog five different types of vegetables. When I asked if I should give any supplements I was told this would be a waste of money as she was getting enough vitamins and minerals from her food and any extra would just pass through her system.

I have had a quick surf to check out homemade catfood and I see there is plenty of information available, and also recipes. I'm going to have to end abruptly here as my dog wants her lunch - raw rabbit and veggies! Smile [/quote]
mel_t
woundedhealer wrote:
Quote:
The amount of vegetables and grains a cat would get from a prey's stomach is very small, and in addition, they would be partially digested by the prey as well.


You're right, the amount of vegetables and grains a cat would get from a rabbit is very small, but they do eat it. They also eat a type of grass when their system is out of sorts or if they have furballs.

I have dogs and I understand they have different dietry needs to cats. As I don't have cats I've never needed to check out what their needs are. I was just trying to point out that cats, as well as dogs, can have their food prepared at home.

The cooking of grains and vegetables, and the mincing of the vegetables make them more digestable, emulating the partially digested food they would get from the stomach contents.


the mincing of vegetables would not really make them more digestible, as cats would still lack the enzymes to process them. not sure about cooking. in terms of cat grass, a cat fed a diet of meat could still have access to grass for the purpose of expelling hairballs, but they don't actually need it for nutrition on a regular basis - they just eat it as a means to make themselves vomit up a hairball.

Quote:

Quote:
She cites these facts as the evidence that cats are
adapted for a primarily meat diet (i.e. less than 10% carbs) ....... As in my statement above, cats should not be fed grains or vegetables.


This is a contradiction. Either they have less than 10% carbs or they have none.

not really. I guess I wasn't stating it clearly enough - the article I posted was quite clear. They have no dietary requirement for grains or veggies. The 'less than 10% carbs' is a general guideline for buying commercial foods, since the diets recommended by this author and my other veterinary sources is a very low carb diet (100% raw meat). In the article, a rat carcass was analysed and came out to 9% carbs. The raw food diet is about 3% carbs I believe. the recipe I use calls for added psyllium husks for fibre as an optional ingredient, but no grains or veggies.
Quote:

Quote:
Also, there are supplements that should be added to any homemade food, in particular, taurine, the lack of which can cause cardiomyopathy in cats ...... liver and hearts(for taurine)


So as long as a cats diet includes liver and heart they wouldn't need taurine supplements? I do understand that some animals may need supplements.

I give my dog five different types of vegetables. When I asked if I should give any supplements I was told this would be a waste of money as she was getting enough vitamins and minerals from her food and any extra would just pass through her system.

I have had a quick surf to check out homemade catfood and I see there is plenty of information available, and also recipes. I'm going to have to end abruptly here as my dog wants her lunch - raw rabbit and veggies! Smile
[/quote]
the heart is the source for the taurine. they recommend chicken heart as the best source.

you're right - there is some debate among raw feeders about whether to add veggies/grains or not, but again, the sources I have, who are all veterinarians and one animal nutritionist all say not to add veggies or grains to the food. Many cats will tolerate it, but many have issues with the digestive difficulties and allergies that can be caused by adding these things to the food. People who want to do a homemade diet will just have to do the research and decide for themselves who to believe Cool
Vrythramax
woundedhealer wrote:
Soylent green ? I don't think we have it in the UK. What's so special about it?


It was from a movie in the 1970's starring Charleton Heston, soylent green was made from people.
coolclay
One of Heston's best movies, and an excellent movie all around, in my opinion. More people should watch it, the day this movie portrays is coming sooner then we know.
Vrythramax
coolclay wrote:
One of Heston's best movies, and an excellent movie all around, in my opinion. More people should watch it, the day this movie portrays is coming sooner then we know.


hmmmm....I kinda liked "The Omega Man" better Wink
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