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4 cats dead from TB after eating raw dog food

Wild deer of Ireland

Four Cats Dead, TB From a Venison Raw Dog Food Made by Natural Instinct

Not sure how many of you heard but four cats came down with TB at the end of 2018 after eating raw dog food produced by Natural Instinct and based on venison. Specifically, it was Wild Venison 250g and 500g Best Before Date March 2019 to August 2019.

In their defence, Natural Instinct say one of their suppliers was lax. This can happen. You can’t expect raw manufacturers to be testing for TB. Their suppliers are supposed to be very sure their wild meat is TB free (there is no TB in the domestic food chain).

These four deaths were alarming for a few reasons, one of them, of course, being the poor cats and risk to their owners.

Another is that this will be used to underline the current fear tactic regarding the feeding of fresh food to your pets, as they sure as hell can’t focus on actual nutrition.

For instance, our old pal Pete Wedderburn who back in Nov 2018, and for the first time that I have seen in writing anyway, actually stated “raw food can be good for some pets” but follows it with two detailed examples of dangerous happenings as a result of the practice, one to humans (citing that a human died as a result of Salmonella contamination from raw dog food, which is absolutely untrue) and the other to pets which he supports with the TB incident.

In an enormous disservice to pet owners, one of our most public Pete again fails to address in any real way the great variety of issues and pet deaths associated with dry pet food. Ignored was the fact that 132 people have gotten Salmonella from dry food over just the last decade, half of them toddlers. Ignored was the latest Hill’s scandal with vitamin D. Ignored was the megaesophagus scandal by Mars, DCM and aflatoxin killing hundreds, the melamine scandal, and countless other major health catastrophes that dry food has inflicted on the pet population. Instead what we get is a questioning of the “evangelical attitude” of fresh feeders, an attitude that he himself stokes with such pieces.

At any rate, here is the Press Release by Raw Feeding Veterinary Society on the TB incident, always a voice of reason.

Why Dodgy Wild Meat Might Make its way into the Food Chain…

Wild deer of Ireland
Image courtesy of Decla Roche


When I was making raw dog food, I wanted to get into using wild Irish game but the restrictions on me as a small producer (operating in a good, clean, renovated slaughterhouse) was exhausting, at least by our Department of Agriculture, which is just one of the reasons Ireland doesn’t really have a wild-meat sector to speak of. There are only one or two small companies dominating the Irish market today unlike Scotland say which has a thriving hunting and bread and board industry around their wild deer and game.

While obviously a pain in the arse to deal with, undoubtedly many of the restrictions are for very good reason. One is that all venison that is brought to you by a hunter must sit in cold storage for a week so as each carcass can be vet inspected (they check the livers for TB). Once clear, you’re free to use them. However, as this has to be done in a completely different premises to the one you use for processing due to contamination concerns (and I mean not simply a different building on the other side of the property), and among a number of other bits, I couldn’t get it over the line.

Despite me not having the license, I was offered deer meat on a weekly basis. Their problem is that they couldn’t be bothered driving all the way to Kildare (nearest company that handles game) to drop their kill off (certainly not rabbits where hunters are paid less than €2 per animal), a real pain if you’re the other side of the Wicklow mountains. Also, they need a proper license if they are going to supply a proper premises, a license that requires a few hours basic training of how to gut and clean and present the animal to the premises (you have to take the feet off, it’s a sickening sound as it’s done at the joint) which few lads are bothered with.

All these things play into a dodgy wild meat sector, where companies take the carcass in the back door for cheap and both parties are happy.

Until pets die of TB, putting kids at risk.

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