Reason # 1
The majority of all major brands of commercial pet foods, including premium lines, are made with feed grade ingredients.
What are feed grade ingredients? Hold your breath, here it goes. Animal feed was specifically made mainly for the fattening of livestock that would soon be slaughtered. The main ingredients are cheap grain byproducts of corn, soy, and wheat. That was the good news. The bad news is that feed grade ingredients also include “rendered” material from dead, dying, diseased, disabled, and drugged animals.
These animals include collections from road kill pickups, dead zoo animals, and also disturbingly, euthanized dogs and cats. Feed Grade Ingredients also include material from animal waste (manure), antibiotics, and organoarsenicals.
Reason # 2
Only 5 multi-national companies control and monopolize the majority of the pet food market.
Yes, only 5 major companies have to compete against one another for the billions of dollars of yearly pet food sales.
The next time you find yourself enjoying your favorite chocolate bar, take a quick moment to think about the ingredients in the bar. For example, a typical Snicker’s bar manufactured by M&M / Mars is packed full of peanuts.
Ever wondered what happens to all of that peanut shell waste? Probably not. But these large corporations did, and found a perfect solution for utilizing every bit of product they manufacture. They create dog food brands and use their byproducts or “waste” in these foods.
Reason # 3
There is virtually no active regulation or monitoring for commercial food
Think about it. The pet food industry is a growing revenue monster. Yet, these corporations enjoy virtually no testing or monitoring of their products.
While the FDA puts out rules and regulations concerning pet food, there is no mandated testing required.There is also absolutely no need for pre-market approval of any pet foods.
In 2010, three years after the major die off of nearly 10,000 pets due to pet food contamination, Congress finally passed the Food Safety Modernization Act, granting more power to the FDA over pet food standards.
However, many doubt that this action will cause much impact if any at all due to the underfunding of the FDA, and their ability to even manage standards and inspections for human grade products. On FDA’s own website, they state this fact openly themselves, “We believe that continued partnership with AAFCO is vital to the effective regulation of pet food products because FDA has limited enforcement resources that are focused on human food safety issues. So just who is the AAFCO?
This organization is not a government agency. It is a self regulated entity that is actually mostly composed of the large pet food manufacturers and their appointees. They are also the ones who get to create the labeling guidelines for commercial pet food.
Hmmm, I don’t know if it’s just me but I definitely detect a conflict of interest issue here.
Reason # 4
Pet food packaging is deceptive
Here’s another one involving the issue about regulation. There is not much here either. The Petco shelves filled with wonderfully designed packages of pet food that are touted to be delicious, nutritious, and healthy are a common sight for us pet owners.
Only recently, did I learn that all those claims on the packaging don’t have the same labeling standards as products intended for human consumption do.
So basically, the pet food companies can promise almost ANYTHING they want with little if any fear of future repercussions.
They can claim to be full of antioxidants, or formulated for beautiful coat, eyes, etc, while not having to vigorously back up such claims.
Another win for Big Petfood. That’s a term I personally coined for the large mass marketed pet food companies.
Reason # 5
Mycotoxins, Salmonella, E Coli, melamine, chemical supplements, chemical additives, chemical preservatives, synthetic coloring agents. Ethoxyquin, dioxins, PCB’s, pesticide residue, mercury
Seriously, I really don’t think I need to explain much here.
Reason # 6
I discovered the origin of the myth, “don’t ever feed your pet table scraps”
Like most of us pet owners, I grew up with the solidly ingrained notion that dogs should only eat dog food. Simple as that. I never questioned it. However, during my research on dog nutrition I finally discovered why I along with millions of other consumers, shared the same feelings.
This “advice” came directly from the entity known as the PFI, or Pet Food Industry who are are a lobbying group dedicated to advancing the growth of the pet food corporations.
This myth first surfaced into our mindsets in the 1960’s. During that period, many pet food companies who had already been using various marketing techniques and tactics, needed a extra “boost” to stir up more sales. The PFI, (Pet Food Industry) gladly stepped in with funded reports on the benefits of processed dog food and the dangers of tables scraps.
Currently large pet manufacturers such as Hills, continue to perpetrate this myth with the help of their own company Veterinarians.
Reason # 7
Fresh, wholesome, minimally processed foods rich with bioflavonoids and phytonutrients are simply superior to processed foods. Period.
Recent studies from the University of Cal Poly Pomona’s Animal and Veterinary Science Department has proven that freshly prepared, human grade whole foods provided all the dogs in the 182 day study a balanced, nutritious diet. This easily crushes the myth about human food being nutritionally deficient and “bad” for dogs.
Another published clinical trial involving Scottish Terriers diagnosed with bladder cancer confirmed that the Terriers fed a diet which included fresh vegetables enjoyed a marked improvement in health over the Terriers that were fed only kibble.
Aside from clinical studies, it simply makes sense that fresh is better than processed. We hear this message everywhere nowadays. More and more large companies are trying to market their products as minimally processed with less additives, preservatives, and chemicals.
They are doing this because they now realize consumers are aware that fresh food is exponentially better than processed foods. Why wouldn’t we apply the exact same logic to our animals?
We as consumers enjoy access to an unprecedented amount of information that are forcing large corporations to become more and more transparent. Let’s study this information and make educated decisions on what to feed our beloved animals.
Keith Woods, “The Dark Side of Recycling”, Earth Island Journal, Fall 1990
Sapkota, Amy R. et al. “What Do We Feed to Food-Production Animals? A Review of Animal Feed Ingredients and Their Potential Impacts on Human Health.” Environmental Health Perspectives 115.5 (2007): 663–670. PMC. Web. 7 Feb. 2016