Isn’t it funny (not ha-ha funny) that only dry pet food manufacturers (and those cash-funded by them) are invited to speak on the possible benefits and aaaAAAALLLLLL the downsides of fresh food for pets at the British Small Animal Veterinary Association annual conference?! Never a raw promoter or, dare to dream, a vet from the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society.
Imagine at the annual meet-up of all the doctors in your country and the CEO of Wonder Burgers steps up to tell you why fresh food is too dangerous to eat. There’d be uproar!
This year the vet owner of a dry, rice-based-and-bone-meal food company (who just moments previously was the voice for Pedigree Chum and Dental sticks, honestly) was up slamming fresh food in all the usual ways – too dangerous to eat (colossal published surveys reveal it seems a very safe thing to do), possible nutritional imbalance (imagine the mental dissonance it takes to say such a thing when 62% of “complete” dry and 94% of “complete” canned foods in the UK fail to meet AAFCO’s minimum pet food standards, etc etc, all the subjects that, had they been given the chance to, even the least prepared from the fresh side would not only counter using ACTUAL studies that these terrible issues not only go on in his product of choice but significantly more so, but that the weight of evidence is actually piled very high (in an excellent book called Feeding Dogs, have you read it?! You really must…ahem) AGAINST the feeding of high carb, low protein, stale fat, George Jetson nutrient, chemically-preserved kibble to the cutest meat-eaters on the planet.
Somewhat ironically, the “weight and quality of evidence” was something this TV vet actually focused upon in his BSAVA lecture but in the age-old tactic of industry white coats (salespeople that dress up as scientists to tell you fast food is all about proportion or fizzy drinks are actually energy drinks…) it was ONLY applied to the competitor, and in the flimsiest of manner. Yes, the problem with real food, this slave to evidenced-based medicine extols (being careful to leave out the most insightful works), is that the studies used to support it are not of the “highest quality”.
And that’s true, to be fair. While many smaller (but still very telling) comparative works are now thankfully coming out, ALL appearing to show raw-fed dogs seemingly do better than their dry-fed counterparts, there isn’t a large-scale, case-controlled study over years showing the same effect.
But then, dry food has never, ever, ever produced a SINGLE STUDY of any value whatsoever to prove their “complete” kibble is better than a more biologically appropriate “complete” raw either. They have never needed it.
Read that line again because it’s completely true (feel free to post below contrary evidence to indicate otherwise; there must be hundreds of works out there for an entire vet industry to get behind this, right?!).
The truth is, their evidence of choice is feed trials conducted by candy companies on 8 caged dogs over 6mths (that we can’t see), and the vast majority of products don’t even do them as they can say that their product LOOKS like one that did / might have. The only science they practice is in marketing, not nutrition.
What saddens me most about the whole debacle, however, is that in vet land, heavily loaded, unsupported industry info is not only acceptable but is actually the ONLY information all the vets in the audience want to hear. They never question the fact this guy has a dry food company, that this guy has never conducted a single bit of research of his own, let alone into fresh food, that this guy’s mortgage and EGO is very much threatened by the meteoric rise of raw dog food.
Had they done so, had they stopped accepting everything they hear as “fact” and simply Googled with a half-open mind, they would have found some worrying studies that contradict their ingrained beliefs.
What of the peer-reviewed and most definitely published dry v raw comparison that found 10 times the level of homocysteine (an inflammatory marker) in dry-fed dogs, a figure that drops by a factor of 5 when moved to raw? That was interesting.
And when this inflammation was investigated, they found that dry fed dogs have significantly higher levels of gene expression for histamine (the itchy stuff) in the skin.
In fact, the results of a large survey of pet owners by Helsinki University revealed pups born to dry-fed mothers suffer more canine atopic dermatitis.
Bloody hell!!! This was the chance – a room stuffed full of vets, think of the number of dogs that could of being helped across the country! Here is something you guys can at least TRY to alleviate their suffering!!
(I don’t mean those exclamation marks in a happy sense – I’m mad as hell here…)
But no. Instead, any dry-fed pet that attends the clinic of any vet that sat listening to this guys vacuous misdirection is destined for the good ship anti-inflammatory, a colossal market for Big Pharma and one that continues its strong growth, year on year, in tandem with our vet bills and pets suffering.
This is a crime, going on right in front of us.
And we’re not quite finished. Just a week after this BSAVA performance (which we now at least have time-stamped – this is what this guy is willing to say in 2022 despite all the evidence to the contrary), the same vet was called upon by Irish media to give his opinion on the new vegan pet food trend infecting the nation. Already a known supporter (after all, a token pinch of bone meal in your product is hardly the meat feast the front of the packet portrays…), this vet was ALL IN FAVOUR of vegan pet food, and he then commenced his usual, tried and tested smoke and mirror routine.
Do you know what this vet was basing his opinion on vegan dry food on? A recent published survey (sponsored by Proveg.com) of some 330 vegans that feed vegan pet food to their pets. They asked them do they THINK their pet is healthy and what do they THINK their vet would say. And do you know what these vegans said? Incredibly, they thought their pets were GREAT on the food!!! Isn’t that something?!! No vet assessment needed. No bloodwork. No measurements at all taken. Science at its finest folks (the survey also revealed the raw-fed dogs appeared even a touch healthier than the vegan dogs and VERY MUCH healthier than those on cereal-based pet food….you know, sort of like this vets product…….but shhhh, that doesn’t fit with his very wobbly narrative at all…).
There is one other survey out there worth mentioning albeit sponsored by a vegan pet food company. It compared dogs fed their vegan kibble to dogs fed a “meat-based” kibble (that is a cereal-based kibble with potentially 4% bone meal addition as the “meat”). You might say these two products are virtually identical, that bone meal is so antigenic and nutrient-bereft you may be better off without it (and if the cereal-based stuff was wheat I would choose the vegan one!!). And what did they apparently find? INCREDIBLY, the dogs fed vegan kibble did as well (or as badly?!) as those fed, what most us outside the industry consider to be the lowest food on the pet food ladder – cereal-based kibble.
That is called an unfalsifiable comparison and it is on these sorts of studies that the ENTIRE house of pet food cards is built. Is my product better than Weetabix? Yes?! There you go, scientifically proven. If we add fish oil to our standard inflammatory crap will it reduce itch in dogs a tiny, tiny bit? Yes?! There you go, magic dermal care dry food (sold to you at three times the price under “prescription”…by newsagents…). Etc.
So this guy is more than happy to get behind vegan pet food on the back of two small, veg-corporation-funded surveys but fresh food for healthier pets with a far greater body of evidence behind it?!! No way! Simply couldn’t do that. There’s not enough science!!!!
Sadly, there will be never enough science to get someone like this off the pulpit because their position is taken in dogma. No amount of reason or published evidence will make them budge, particularly when both their mortgage AND reputation depend on them holding the ever-shortening line.
The only good news I can give you here is that soon, inevitably, the money won’t be worth it and the message will inevitably shift slowly towards some “natural” crap shat out by their favourite candy company. Until then, if you were looking for a little more evidence in support of real food for cats and dogs please check out what impartial vets have to say on the matter.
In the meantime, I don’t know how this fast food fanatic sleeps at night, I really don’t, but I hope it’s badly. Most of all though, I hope that in five years, as cereal-based pet food continues its sharp decline and real food its ascent in pet land, much to the benefit of the animals in our charge, please never forget two things – the malignant industry presence is not just in their food (nor is it just in our pets) and just because guys like this wear white coats and serious faces it doesn’t mean they’re not industry clowns.
Their health is in your hands. Nobody else’s. Never stop asking questions.