The Truth about Pet Food Recalls
I read an article this week about cat food recalls that have been in the news in the past several months. Did this affect your pet’s food? Did you even hear about them? The writer was asking readers why more people were not outraged, and it gave me pause.
Chances are good that if you owned a pet back in 2007 you no doubt heard all the justified outrage over melamine contamination in pet food made in China. In the first press conference alone 10 pets (9 cats and 1 dog) had already died from kidney failure after eating the pet food. I don’t know how many ultimately died or got deathly sick from the contaminated food. To this day I am leery of any kind of pet food coming out of China, and many natural pet food companies now proudly market their ingredients as China-free.
What people should be asking
The fact that even one pet has ever died from any kind of pet food contamination is one too many. Yes, there should be great outrage! But clearly, this type of news gets swept under the rug and kept out of the headlines sometimes, perhaps to protect profits. I don’t watch much TV, much less the news because there is very little worth watching. Furthermore, the news is full of negative, depressing, and sad stories. To hear about a pet food recall, I would have to come across it while reading newsworthy articles on the internet. As sad as it is to hear that pets died or became very sick due to the food they ate, leaves most people questioning WHY? What people should be asking is “What are companies putting into our pet food to begin with that causes illness and even death, and WHY are they allowed to do this?”
Show me the money!
You probably remember the movie Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. about a sports agent who fights to keep his only client after leaving an agency to go out on his own. The catch phrase “Show me the money!” took on a whole new identity and life of its own. And truly, it is that simple. For major pet food manufacturers, it’s about showing them the money. It’s the reason they choose to use cheap, low-quality ingredients; it’s the reason the food they manufacture–if you can call it that–is sold in the grocery stores and big box chain stores. It is the reason natural pet food stores are committed to offering their customers a better alternative. If you think that federal agencies like the FDA should be protecting our pets from nutritional disasters I have some bad news for you; they allow pet food companies to include cheap, nutritionally defunct, toxic ingredients in the food!
The number of small, mom and pop pet food companies that have come into the pet food market in the past fifteen plus years has grown tremendously, and this gives me hope. There are pet food companies out there who truly care about quality ingredients! These heroes have chosen the tough road of competing with the giant companies because they want to give their beloved pets true, healthy, real food–not cheap imitations that cause sickness and disease. After reading numerous mission statements from these pioneer companies and learning what inspired them to do something different I discovered it usually had to do with helping their cats and dogs go from sick to healthy again. Wow! Can species appropriate pet food do that? In a word, YES!
I saw a video recently that showed a dog with a huge mast cell tumor on its nose. All the veterinarian could do was to recommend surgery, chemo, and radiation, and well, if those didn’t work, sorry. The dog’s owner went home and did her own research. She learned how to make a homemade raw diet for her dog, and over the course of several weeks, the tumor went away on its own! Let me say that again in case you missed it: the tumor went away on its own! When this evidence was presented to the staff at Tuft’s University Vet School they said, “We can’t use this in our clinic, because we don’t believe in feeding raw meat.” WHAT?
What’s wrong with this picture?
Cats and dogs that live in the wild don’t eat kibble and bits or canned food. They don’t eat grains, corn, soy, wheat, rendered fats, chemical additives, preservatives, factory-farmed meat, meat by-products that include road kill, euthanized pets, and livestock, diseased animals, or powdered cellulose. They eat fresh meat, bones, and organs (and whatever is in the stomach of their prey). And they are beautiful and healthy!
Kibble was invented for convenience and shelf life. Pet parents wanted convenience, food that could be stored in the pantry, not in the refrigerator, and food that would cost less than human food. Hence, the pet food industry was created and has evolved into the behemoth that it is today. Unfortunately, our pets have paid a terrible price.
As pet parents, we do have choices in what to buy and where to shop. Some cats are more difficult than others to transition to healthier food options, and we all understand budgetary limits. For your cat’s sake, I implore you to start reading your cat food labels. A species appropriate, a raw diet is best, but if nothing else, switching to a high-quality cat food–at least a human grade type–or mixing in freeze-dried treats or food whenever possible really does make a difference in the long term health and well being of your cats. And it keeps your cat out of the vet’s office!! So the next time you hear about another cat food recall, pay attention! I truly hope it won’t be your kitty paying the ultimate price.
To your pet’s best nutrition,