I might give the impression that I dislike veterinarians. That would be wrong. I like veterinarians and we need veterinarians. I just wish they would be a little more honest when it comes to pet food and the declawing of cats in America.
The title to this post are the words of a Canadian trained veterinarian, Dr Andrew Jones. He’s obviously an honest veterinarian and I hope he does very well because he deserves to.
He makes a point that concerned pet owners are gradually understanding which is that although your veterinarian is a highly skilled and trained person, able to perform intricate surgery and diagnose pet diseases, he usually knows very little about nutrition and what he does know has probably been fed to him by the pet food manufacturers at veterinary school.
Dr Jones said that he was taught “nearly nothing about nutrition”. In his opinion “most veterinarians also know very little about nutrition”. He says that his education about nutrition came from “food company representatives”. These companies sponsored events at his college and then their representatives visited the clinics and hospitals where the veterinarians worked.
Of course the representatives encouraged the veterinarians to sell their “veterinarian only” food. This food is considered to be exclusive to veterinary clinics and therefore it must be special, healthy and balanced etc.. The markup on the product was higher than usual for this reason. The deal was beneficial both to the vet and to the manufacturer based on financial reward but it placed the health of the patient behind financial reward.
This pet food, exclusive to veterinary clinics, is always said to be backed up by scientific research thereby endorsing and promoting the product as extremely well formulated.
In Dr Jones’s article there is a video which states that dangerous Chinese ingredients are lurking in virtually every pet food including the best brands. I’m not sure whether this is scaremongering but there is certainly a huge potential problem with respect to dangerous ingredients from China based upon past history of recalls.
We also know – and Dr Jones confirms this – that the pet food manufacturer’s representatives tell veterinarians that home prepared raw diets are unbalanced and therefore potentially harmful.
In Dr Jones’s work as a vet, he frequently met up with clients who prepared their own dog food. These clients insisted that their food was more healthy than manufactured food. He found that he was unable to argue against them because most of the dogs he saw that were fed on home-made diets were healthier and had shinier coats and cleaner teeth. In addition there are fewer medical issues. The doctor says that in all his years of veterinary practice he never saw a dog with a disease which was linked to feeding an “unbalanced home-made diet”.
Dr Jones’s criticisms of the pet food industry resulted in him being criticised by his veterinary Association. Dr Jones had written about the 5,600 pet food items recalled in 2007. His veterinary Association (BCVMA) found Dr Jones had violated their Code of Ethics. This tells us that the associations wish to quash honest, free speech. It’s a sort of conspiracy between the pet food manufacturers and the veterinary associations.
In addition, of course, Dr Jones would have faced criticism from some of his fellow veterinarians because it is difficult for a person to rock the boat and step out of line when the results may be a reduction in financial profit for colleagues.
Dr Jones believes that the single biggest cause of disease in companion dogs is the food that they eat. This assessment is undeniable because exactly the same thing happens to people. We know that lifespans are reduced if people consistently eat unhealthy food and vice versa. He says that most dogs are fed “dry, unvaried and non-nutritious kibble”. Although he is referring to dogs, exactly the same thing could be said about cats.
Dr Jones reinforces our belief that the pet food industry is now dominated by large multinational consumer corporations. These big businesses are more interested in profit than the health of your cat or dog. He goes so far to say that the pet food industry is “not on the whole very ethical”. It is an extension of the human food industry which allows all the rubbish unfit for human consumption to be used in pet food and turned into profit.
The problem is that although I have admiration for Dr Jones and anyone else who speaks out, very little has changed over the years despite many excellent websites on the Internet discussing the failures of modern pet food.
This is because big business has a bigger voice than individual people and they work as mentioned in league with the veterinary associations, politicians and indeed government agencies, I suspect. The individual cat or dog owner is outmanoeuvred. There is a need for a movement which brings together a very large number of cat and dog caretakers in an organisation so that people who justifiably criticise pet food are organised as a unit which may be able to force change.