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AAFCO’s Meetings on Human Grade and Feed Grade

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  1. Nina Wolf

    YOU DID THIS! I’m so happy, for you and for all of us out here trying to do the right thing by our animals. Your diligence, stubbornness, fearlessness, and ability to speak out has made this happen (and I characterize you thus will all due respect and total admiration!). The world could use about a hundred more Susan Thixtons out there getting &*$% DONE! Hats off to you. And re: endotoxins – would have LOVED to see the faces around the table for that little bit of education.

  2. Erick

    bravo, I love the work you do keep it up.

    Obviously if the FDA isn’t going to verify human grade or enforce it, defining legal interpretations of what it means will be useless. Such as the truth in representation law stating images must reflect the ingredients like ideal balance foods label images which feature images of pan seared tuna etc. I’m not sure that’s exactly what is being added to the food (this is not an accusation it is an example of a package that I know has beautiful pictures of awesome looking ingredients). at least it’s a start, and may eventually lead to changes but there is a lot of money being thrown at fighting change in a pretty much unregulated lumbering profit machine.

  3. Anthony Hepton

    Susan, Great work, our discussions regarding endotoxins in early August is beginning to bear fruit, each time I raise the subject of endotoxins I am greeted with with quiet or “what are endotoxins”. Usda was fully aware of this potential problem in 2003 or earlier, and they oversee the renderers, but it appears they never shared those concerns with either FDA or the Pet Food Manufactures. Now it’s wake up time!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Anthony – I would guess that most manufacturers are well aware of endotoxins, and my guess is that FDA is well aware too. The State Department of Ag people (members of AAFCO) – I doubt they knew/know. But I believe that if we were told the truth, most of them have known the risk even before USDA’s report. I believe they are all being negligent with this issue. As you well know from losing your dog, it is very serious. And you are right – it is time for them to wake up. We will together keep pushing them.

  4. Rhonda K Young

    I agree. Human grade should follow ALL GRADES OF HUMAN PROCESSED. JUST LIKE ORGANIC SHOULD BE ORGANGIC. GO SUSAN….THE PLANTS SHOULD BE INSPECTED OFTEN AND HUMAN GRADE.

  5. Linda

    wonderful progress! country of origin would be very helpful. “made in” means absolutely nothing!

    we are grateful!

  6. Tonya Wilhelm

    Thank you all for your hard work and dedication. Our pets appreciate all that you do.

  7. Brenda

    The definitions you and the other advocates for safe pet food have developed are exactly what have been needed. Thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do for pets.

  8. Jude Gagner

    Outstanding results of so much diligent work. Bravo to you three for taking on all this.

    I have a question. I will follow through with support for your work for our beloved pets by making appropriate and educated comments. You ask for support and I just want to know if this includes financial support, as well.

    We just lost Roxie, our beloved rescue Rottweiler, to oral malignant metastatic melanoma, and we don’t know if her kibble or her medications to manage her arthritic hips contributed to this disease. Either case, she was a full family member and dearly loved. We want to know that we gave her the best and safest nutrition available and want to demand that what we buy is nutritious food that is free of chemicals and other things that could (and most likely would) contribute to our pets becoming sick or have an early demise.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Yes – ‘support’ does also mean financial support. This work is all I do (more than a full time job) and selling Petsumer Report and The List is my only income. I know the other advocates are in similar boats. We all need financial support from consumers to continue. Thank you for asking!

  9. Laurence Clive

    What is ‘safe’ and ‘nutritious’ about chicken shit (I’m not sure if it is one word or two: chickenshit ?)
    Both pun & joke intended !
    Really !

  10. Debra Long

    To be considered “human grade” one of the requirements I see is that the product be “stored” according to human food regulations, question is, if the product is stored, shelved, placed next to a non human grade food in a pet supply/food warehouse/retail store environment, is it still considered human grade?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      The entire manufacturing process and retail process must be handled as human food would be. Such as, a frozen human grade pet food would be required to be transported to market under refrigeration and stored under refrigeration. Human food ‘Good Manufacturing Practices’ would apply which are spelled out in regulations.

      1. Debra Long

        Ok so when I go to our local pet food store, and purchase the basically only brand of food that is legally labeled “human grade” and it is sitting next to lets say another similar brand that is not labeled “human grade” but is made from basically the same ingredients but they just don’t have a human grade facility, is that “human grade” pet food still “human grade”

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Legally they will not be able to say human grade if it does not meet each requirement.

  11. Debbie Daniel

    Susan, I think you all have done a FABULOUS job hounding these idiots. It appears with you and Mollie and Dr Hofve and a few other wonderful food advocates, like Dr Becker, Rodney Habib, and Dr Judy Morgan…that someone finally is hearing you. You have screamed so loudly over this and all i can say is “its about damn time”. I still feel we have a tall mountain to climb but it seems this is a big step in changes for the future. I hope changes will happen sooner than later. As for food grade or feed grade, it certainly doesnt need to consist of diseased, euthanized, road kill or any other of those awful ingredients. It should contain safe ingredients. No DRUGS or CHEMICALS of any kind in the pet feed. It needs to be safe as well. and like Linda said above, ..country of origin…WHERE it is SOURCED from..including Vitamins and minerals. I know one thing, I am tired of these pet food companies putting deceiving info on their labels. Just like the DARK act going on, it should be the same for pet food and feeds. They should HAVE to label EVERYTHING! Susan, this would not have happened without you. You are the queen bee of pet foods. Thank you for EVERYTHING you do on a daily basis. I know…that it is VERY hard work behind the scenes and us pet parents only know so much. You are a wise ole owl so to speak and we depend on you for breaking it down for us so we can understand all the mumbo jumbo talk. THANK YOU for the hard work you do and all the people involved in making a change to the pet food industry.
    I stopped feeding my dogs commercial foods almost 3 yrs ago because of all of the junk in it. I make sure my dogs get the best food and the safest (raw with quality made supplements that I add). I have control over my dogs diets and it will remain that way from now on. But sooooo many people are buying grocery store pet foods and its devastating to know this. So many deaths and illnesses and thousands of dollars later you may or may not have a dog still alive. All because of pet foods and treats. I once was a trusting American but no longer do i trust anything this country does. so everything has to be looked at under a microscope. and thats like walking on eggshells every single day..just trying to survive. That includes our water we drink. Susan keep up the great work, i will be right here with you till the end. You are the one i look to for the REAL TRUTH!!!!

  12. Renee Kraft

    Thank you, thank you. I can’t wait to feed my dog ‘human grade’ food without worrying about the ingredients. This may also reduce the number of recalls we have had in the past. I imagine the price will go up to buy ‘human grade’ food, but it will be so worth it if it helps our pets stay healthier, longer. Thank you again for your diligence in this.

  13. Pacific Sun

    Well Endotoxins are going to be kind of a stumbling block for the Committee in order to nail down both definitions (because of the Industry) and unless a remedy can be found regarding “Feed/Pet Grade” ingredients. Because it would be impossible to prevent any or all contaminated ingredients from a production standpoint.

    If high heat cooking of this material is just going to make the product even more toxic then how can they find another solution to sanitize the raw ingredients to begin with? For example, would there be other methods like HPP, Irradiation, Deep Freezing, using a cleansing bath, before the mixture is goes to be cooked?

    Now I realize the more handling of original ingredients that’s done is going to strip the materials from their innate nutritional properties. But essentially that’s what’s already happening anyway, and is the reason why so many vitamins, minerals and supplements have to be added to the food after the fact. But at least the “contamination” factor would be reduced to (ideally) eliminated.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      To my understanding – with endotoxins, the only way to control them is to prevent bacterial growth in the first place. Once the bacteria is there and the meat/meat product is cooked – the endotoxins will be present. It is a bad situation considering the source of many pet food ingredients.

  14. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

    Much thanks Susan, Molly, & Dr. hope for your consistent efforts & important input as advisors on the AFFCO board. We consumers, owe much gratitude to your pioneering & un-waivering commitment to the cause of bringing truth & transparency to the secrecy that has been the status quo for decades, with our beloved pets paying the ultimate price!

    I feel like all three of you were so through & left no stone un-turned, that I would be hard pressed to find anything to add to your recommendations!

    I was elated! That AFFCO was basically left tongue tied with how to respond, after their statement about pet feed being “safe” after proper processing. Retorting right back at them about the endotoxin’s produced after bacteria kill-off, felt like a victory! It seems like AFFCO themselves were completely ignorant to that important piece of information! Well, they can no longer deny that they know about it now!

    All 3 of my you women (also the other advocates at prior AAFCO meetings) are a force to be recorded with! I think industry & AFFCO are FINALLY “getting it” & that we ALL are demanding change in industry & AFFCO policies. AFFCO needs to start doing the job it should have been doing decades ago!, which is being a voice & an advocate FOR pets & the people that love, care, & advocate for them & NOT being in the hip pocket of big corporations. Times are a changing, although not quite fast enough for all of us….but at least it is a positive move in the right direction! Thanks again for all of your efforts!!!!! You ALL ROCK!!!!!!! 🐾🐱🐾

  15. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

    Damn Auto correct! NOT Dr. HOPE…..Dr. Hofve

  16. Joel Solomon

    Thank you for keeping this issue at the forefront!

  17. Pacific Sun

    Per the article, can we find on the internet (or in public domain) the studies that the AAFCO or the PFI claims to show that cooking commercial PF ingredients has proven the end product to be safe?

    Can we test for Endotoxins to prove to AAFCO (and the PFI) that contaminated (bacteria infested) ingredients are a danger and lead to Endotoxins in commercial PF? I am sure that crowd funding (and your amazing Follwers) could raise money for this important purpose!

    We are on the verge of being to identify (and label) the differencce between human grade quality pet food and pet/livestock feed! Doing so would solve a lot of our issues!!

    Historic achievement pending!

  18. Christine

    Thank you so much for your diligence. I love that these meetings are taking place and that you all are included. The only thing I felt disappointed with is the requirement that the human grade food be made in a human plant and not a pet food plant. There are a few manufacturing facilities that are operating at very high standards, some might say they’re doing better than some human food processing facilities. I think back to the human peanut butter recall, and discussions of leaky roofs, animal waste landing in the product, etc. Some pet food manufacturing facilities are already EU certified, Organic certified, etc. EU certified means no GMO ingredients and other standards that are sometimes more rigorous than US standards, which are required for food to be able to be sold in the EU. Organic standards require complete separation of ingredients and equipment, etc. Each have their own inspections. Some companies also opt for unannounced AIB inspections (a human food plant inspection process that isn’t required for pet food companies to do), etc. It may be wishing for more than could be accomplished, but it would be great for human grade to mean that it be made in a facility with rigorous standards for cleanliness, ingredient handling, and third party inspections. Raw chicken meant for human consumption can mean that it still has loads of allowable bacteria, and some plants like the peanut plants are not being regularly inspected or maintained. I worry that the few pet food companies that are going above and beyond human manufacturing standards and who are actually sourcing fresh human grade ingredients from sustainable sources and handling them with care will be hurt by this new ruling because they’ve already chosen to build their own facility with exacting standards and focus completely on creating human grade pet food because they believe it’s so important (as we do).

  19. Cheryl

    Thank you Susan! I am so thankful you all are doing what needs to be done to insure pet food is safer for our fur babies. Every time I read something from you all I am in open mouth amazement at the stupidity (maybe I should have said ignorance) of the organizations that represent the animal feed industry. Reading about the problems with the grains harvested this year (high mycotoxins) and knowing they will be processed (even blended with unaffected grains to reduce the levels) is disturbing to me. If you can’t sell it for human consumption then it’s going somewhere. If other countries won’t buy it, it is going somewhere and we may not like where it ends up if we knew the truth. Thank you ALL for standing up for us! You are inspiring and it is true that the truth is powerful. Looking forward to reading more…

  20. Linda

    I agree with the definition you provided for feed grade. Pet food absolutely should not contain endotoxins and we as consumers have a right to know exactly what we are feeding our pets and where the ingredients used in their food is sourced. Thank you all so much for the great work that you do and congratulations on the incredible win!!!!!

  21. Carolyn Merrill

    I believe that “human grade” should mean what it implies, that it would be safe for ME to eat it. I realize that is simplistic but after freaking out and researching pet food (wish there was more focus on cats) for months I am appalled that we no longer have anything resembling truth in advertising. The reality is that it should be reasonable for me to expect to receive what I am being lead to believe I am paying a premium price for.

    Feed Grade: Should list the source of ingredients, if they are rendering diseased animals into that it should have to say “unnatural death” if that is the source. If it says “chicken meal” then there should not be anything but chicken in the “meal”. In other words, I should not have to figure out what is there, I should not have to be a nutritionist to understand. The whole labeling thing should be based on what a reasonable person would conclude from reading it.

  22. Teerri Janson

    Hats off to you Susan! This is great news!!! Thank you for all your hard work to help our loved one!

  23. Marie

    Wow, you guys did it!!! This is fabulous news! I do agree with the standards above. I know this is a huge hurdle, and I realize that adding what else I feel about pet food labeling is likely asking too much: It’s important to me, both for humane reasons and for my pets’ health, what the food animals eat. So just as I buy only humanely-sourced meats, I would love to see all meat ingredients come from animals that are fed good food – same as we’d feed our animal companions. The food animals are what they eat too.

    But! Having said that, I do not consider many of the foods at grocery stores to be “human grade” in the sense that I won’t eat it. I won’t spend money supporting cruel meat production practices; e.g., I only buy free-range eggs. It literally turns my stomach to support inhumane treatment of ANY animal, even though I’m sure it won’t hurt me, much. This is a HUGE STEP FORWARD! So maybe my take on it, wanting more than they’re offering, is me being impatient with the process. We are all what we eat, including food animals, so in my book, food animals should be fed wholesome food and have happy lives. I know… the stuff of fairy tales, or at least the stuff of days gone by.

    While our companion animals own our hearts, most of us likely love all animals, and I say spread the love to the ones who give their lives to sustain us. And do we really want to feed “human grade” meat that’s been fed GMO, antibiotics, pesticides, etc.? If there is labeling that says “feed grade” on it for people who can barely afford to feed their pets, at least they’ll know what they’re feeding, and this is about our right to know.

    So bottom line, yes, I agree with the guidelines you awesome advocate angels have come up with, and honestly, having pet food made in a human-grade facility is a GIANT step forward – all of it is! God bless you all! You can count on my support too, and yes I mean $$$ and anything else you need. I’m so deeply grateful for you all!

  24. Rebecca

    Thank you so very much for your tireless efforts to keep all our fur kids safer than they have ever been!! I am ever so happy to have you on OUR side!!

  25. Marie

    Hi Susan,
    I already commented on this and agree, and I brought up some other issues that go beyond. This morning I woke up thinking, “I want more!” Is it possible to put on the table, labeling for “humanely-sourced, human grade” pet food? That would be three tiers of pet food quality: feed grade, human grade, and humanely sourced human grade. I think companies like Champion and Hound & Gatos who are doing that deserve to have that on their label, and I personally choose a higher standard for what goes into my precious animals. If they would eat only homemade, I’d leave it alone. The meat I feed them is humanely sourced.

    But I also feel we’ve been at the mercy of apathy for so long that we’re ready to accept the first thing they finally put on the table that’s improvement. Throw us a morsel or scrap? It’s fantastic but I say not good enough. You have the experience with these people to know if this can be put on the table as a consumer demand, and I bet a lot of people would say yes to it too! Thanks again for ALL that you do!!

  26. Marie

    Hi again!

    And if companies like Champion and Hound & Gatos can’t stand out for their humane and clean (antibiotic, pesticide and GMO free) meat sources, they might stop bothering. I know Fromm has no reg flags on it, but when I asked them if their meat was humanely sourced, they said it was too expensive, hard to come by and people wouldn’t buy it. I told them I would pay for that and shame on them. Also, how wonderful would it be to support humane farming!!! How wonderful to let non-obligate carnivores eat whatever mystery meat they want so the obligate carnivores get the good stuff! This has been backwards all along. So what labeling will differentiate between the quality of Champion and Fromm?? We NEED this to step up on more tier!

  27. Marie

    And a PS: It is the HUMAN DEMAND for meat that supports cruel factory farming. I know of a vegan kibble being pushed on obligate carnivores as an answer to that cruelty – NOT an answer. I say it’s time to bring it up, since pets alone do not support inhumane farming.

  28. Pacific Sun

    What does humanely sourced really mean unless you personally own your own Ranch or Farm, or your neighbor does?

    Is it about Chickens running around in an open grazing area until they are gathered up and killed, or permitted to die of old age? Is it free roaming Cattle feeding at will from a GMO, pesticide free pasture until end of life, or those which need to be slaughtered instantaneously?

    I don’t mean to be facetious here. But feeding the world, our population, as well as our animals is a BIG proposition. Morally speaking I certainly agree that every improvement is by degree! And shouldn’t be discounted or overlooked. But for the jump from standard economical agri-business practices to individualized exceptional and exclusive practices – there will be a huge economic impact! Currently there are people who can’t even buy a month’s worth of groceries, much less decent food for their pets!

    For the choices that already exist in the market place, the right kind of buyer will seek them out, and subscribe to them. And we applaud them for being able to do so. But for the average consumer this will not be practical or possible. Would Wal-Mart or Costco EVER stock 100% humanely managed products to compete with their bargain bottom pricing that attracts all of their customers into the store in the first place? Hardly. Because there are some people who can only afford to buy in that way.

    There are really only two ethical choices available. Veganism is one, and the second is ascribing the natural food chain hierarchy. We’ve had this discussion before. And there’s not a whole lot of difference between a deer being run down by some faster, more deadly predator and killed in the throat, than from one head of cattle herded into a stockyard to be slaughtered, except for how we (humans) design ascetics and humanize animals’ perceptions. Death is death and suffering is suffering. Animals live OR die. And if we are true believers in a better pathway of caring for all creatures then we can only protect those within our power.

    Right now, we, (in the context of “this” discussion) and as the average consumer, are simply trying to do our best by improving the quality and safety of the PF which is at hand, BUT which can ONLY be done incrementally. It’s hard enough dealing with AAFCO much less the PFI. Endotoxins are proving to be as concerning as are mycotoxins, so there’s PLENTY of work ahead to ensure that raw ingredients are as bacteria free as possible before “cooking.” I’m not so sure there’s any pathway to prevention right now. So at this point I would say it’s almost an impossible assurance. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a critical goal we (as consumers) have to press onward towards. So let’s start with education and enlightenment about the problems that already exist, before we look too far ahead. And patronize (reward) the PF companies who are processing “human grade” ingredients, providing transparency in sourcing, and doing reliable marketing and delivery practices!

    I think we can count THOSE companies on one hand! That’s as long as you have all 5 fingers!! And we should reward them with our business!! They deserve it!

    Full disclosure: I eat VERY little protein, barely ever red meat, and virtually no chicken. Only canned fish. But I know red meat amino acids are critical in the diet, especially for my dogs who MUST have them. But I do try my best, and that’s all I can do.

    1. Marie

      Some great points in your post! I would define humanely-sourced as “food animals” (typically eaten in “our culture”) who are given pasture, room to roam and interact socially, and good food. How long they live is not nearly as important as their quality of life. We know they are intended for slaughter – not a pretty concept, but it is one that nature put in place, be it by animal predation or human predation.

      I don’t own a ranch, but I do my homework. I buy humanely-sourced meat for my obligate carnivores, and I’ve personally spoken with each and every manufacturer that raises these animals. Each is a family-owned company that does not feed GMO on purpose (wind blows/birds fly) and that does their own on-site slaughter. I’m not sitting on a pile of money, but I still pay extra for Green Pasture’s free-range eggs simply because their chickens enjoy freedom and a natural diet year-round. By that, I mean a diet grown on organic soil that they are free to eat. They even have a chicken of the month – happy girls, and that is what I support. Other free-range egg production can be evasive as to their definition of free-range; i.e., an enclosure wherein each can move freely, which is still better than conveyor belt chicks.

      Having said that, my cats are not roaming free; they live within a 7,000 square foot yard, free to come in and out of our home, and they come in at night where they have access to a catio, a fully enclosed kennel that protects them from nighttime predation while allowing them the night. They are also free to climb into bed with us. They have all the freedom and all the protection.

      There’s balance to everything. All I’m really pointing out is how profoundly out of balance we treat our fellow earthlings.

      I am told by Champion pet foods (makers of Orijen and Acana) that ALL their meat sources are humanely sourced – grass fed, free and happy. It’s not what we do; it’s how we do it. If we take a life with gratitude and compassion, we have done nothing “wrong” to sustain ourselves/our families. We are part of nature. It’s human greed and entitlement that has caused this horrific cruelty, and it’s a far cry from freedom to have pigs in cages so small they can’t move; it’s a far cry from kindness to pen cattle in their own feces until slaughter; and it’s a far cry from gratitude to slaughter at the mass levels we currently have. Is it better to raise little conveyor belt chicks because they only live 42 days? Of course not! It’s horrendous! In their very short lives, they know only cruelty. How long is not important. In fact, I would pray for liberation from such a cruel existence.

      I spoke to a woman who grew up on a farm, and she told me the pigs know when slaughter begins. To avoid that upset, they lead one pig at a time with a sweet apple, out of sight, and that last thing each pig knows is the taste of that apple before a quick bullet to the head. While killing turns my stomach, this is an example of exactly the improvement I’m choosing. That keeps the other pigs from knowing. It’s kindness in the face of slaughter.

      Yes, the economy and feeding the world is one aspect of this, but we vote with our dollars, and mine are spent on supporting humane animal practices. How different might people’s responses be to spending money on pet food if we were a culture that ate cats and dogs?!! MIGHTY DIFFERENT! We would not tolerate this treatment of companion animals for an instant! Even if we ate them.

      You are right that we can only truly protect the animals within our families, but that does not mean we should not insist, and keep insisting, that food animals are allowed the basics of life – room to roam, shelter, good food – the right to happiness while they are alive.

      As far as how many pet food manufacturers adhere to humane practices, there are more than five. If we could establish a list of foods with AWA labeling (Animal Welfare Approved), in addition to human-grade, we’ve finally created something beautiful that state law will enforce. And you can bet the truly reputable pet food manufacturers would vie to be on that list and dare not stray from it. The fine for doing so should be exorbitant. I say it’s a goal worth striving for. Three tiers, but eliminate the first one, and teach humanity about good stewardship. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. That’s how we change the world – aim high and keep aiming high.

      1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

        Hey Marie,

        Thank you for your well thought out comments. I loved it so much, I am saving it! I love your idea of additional labeling of “A W.A.” Animal Welfare Approved, sourced meat protiens. I also agree that there should be exorbitant fines for anyone not complying to TNR standards yet having the labeling, otherwise there will be gross negligence at alarming rates, & consumers will once again be duped and our beloved pets will be paying the price w/ their failed health!

  29. Marie

    I have a PS. I agree to the first tier, feed grade, in deference to the valid point made that we can’t change it overnight. But if we can accomplish the third tier I’m choosing with AWA labeling, then we can begin to approach eliminating the first tier. Truly, people who can barely feed their pets feed-grade are also people whose pets will be sick and need vet care that the people also cannot afford. In the long run, these very people will spend significantly more on vet care, and their pets will suffer because of it. Or, these animals will be surrendered to shelters as adults, perhaps sick adults, and euthanized. Is that a better solution? No. Is a long life better than a short, happy one? No. It’s suffering we want to eliminate. And I know people who can well afford to take excellent care of their pets, but they don’t – they can’t be bothered. It’s still about awareness.

    I want to add that for some years, I lived at half the poverty level – half! I still fed my animals humanely-sourced fresh meats. It’s about priorities. Just as spaying and neutering is about priorities. I knew people who said they couldn’t afford to spay/neuter while having a fridge full of beer. They also could not afford to feed their pregnant cat. Luckily, I was there to step in, bring good food to the mama, and take in the kitty family when the people got evicted. She was going to dump them in the field – 6 week old kittens. I spent a good 40 hours screening homes for them, and all were placed in good homes, including mama. I went to each home. All were spayed and neutered. Even at poverty level, I made choices based on my priorities because I know what it means to be a good steward. Is there some taboo in place against everyone learning what stewardship means? Income has nothing to do with Being the caretakers of this planet and her creatures. That is our job regardless of income. And that is why I fed my neighbor’s cats as well as my own.

    As an aside, a restaurant here called Chipoltes recently advertised that they served only non-GMO food. They got tons of business right away, until it was discovered that the meat/food animals they served ATE GMO. Now they’ve got nothing but trouble and distrust. What is the point of human grade when the food animals have eaten GMO and all that other crap! Most human grade food is disgusting.

    Last but not least, few animals die of old age. In nature, they die if they’re injured or weak. And if we wrap our awareness around that, we see its inherent kindness. Is it better for animals to starve rather than be eaten? A friend visited Yellowstone after the wolves were driven away, and she said you couldn’t walk a few yards without stepping over a dead elk or a dead deer. Is starvation better than the natural order of predation? I don’t think so. I’m glad the wolves are back and balance has been restored. Predation, be it by non-human animals or human animals, was designed by nature. And God bless all predators that make a quick kill. Gratitude for the food animals who led happy, natural lives. That’s what this is really about. Happy, healthy food animals for happy, healthy pets.

  30. Marie

    I made the comment that human grade was disgusting, and I want to elaborate just a bit on that. I wrote above that I fed human grade, humanely-sourced meats and fish to my animals on a budget that was one half of the poverty level. I wrote that in response to a comment about people not being able to afford quality pet food, when, in fact, it’s a matter of priorities, as in my case.

    Since my marriage a year and a half ago, I eat out more often, and I know where the meat comes from. I have a severe aversion to it both physically and psychologically and avoid it. My husband asked how did I know it was not humanely sourced? I answered that restaurants and stores who insist on humanely-sourced meats are PROUD of it and have signs everywhere expressing their values. Walk into any Whole Foods.

    So any other restaurant, no matter how fine or fancy, is serving human-grade crap. I know that fish that comes from filthy waters in Vietnam is served in the finest restaurants. More toxic human grade food includes anything made of wheat, since I’m gluten sensitive, and a rising number of people are. That’s because it’s not the same wheat of old days. It was crudely genetically modified around the 1960’s or before, and now there’s only one wheat that’s high yield and lacking in crucial nutrients. There used to be 5 kinds of wheat. So Americans are getting sick and fat as their bodies seek nutrients not to be found in the human grade foods they buy.

    If my husband brings home meat that is not humanely sourced, I will not give any to my cats because it’s toxic. It’s from animals fed GMO, cruelly treated and given excessive antibiotics and hormones to increase growth, along with pesticides sprayed on the food these animals eat. Does anyone really have a valid point to say this should be called “human grade”? ‘Cause I don’t see it as edible. My husband was buying freezer meals (Marie Calendars, etc.) until he realized what he was putting in his body. Mystery food.

    Last but not least, there’s a “perfect ratio” of sugar, salt and fat, usually under “natural flavors” added to foods that causes people to be addicted. Just like Fancy Feast uses whatever they use (MSG, animal digest, +?) to make their food addictive. I don’t trust the food industry, period. So I keep it so simple that I know exactly what I’m eating and exactly what I’m feeding my furry ones. I guess that’s sufficient for clarifying my feelings about human grade, and while it’s definitely a wonderful milestone, I still say it’s not sufficient for animal food. And again, food animals have a moral right to real food and a happy life.

    1. Pacific Sun

      I hope I have summarized your concerns accurately. You’ve taken a lot of well thought out time and effort in order to help us (as followers) be more sensitive and aware. These are the laudable feeding goals for our pets:

      • Feeding commercial PF as toxic free as possible (least GMOs, chemicals, etc.).
      • Rotate a variety of whole foods ingredients intended for human consumption.
      • Intermittent feeding of raw or minimally processed protein.
      • Only use ingredients USA sourced and manufactured.
      • Balance the use of grains with the risks of Mycotoxins
      • Balance the use of canned/processed PF with the risks of Endotoxins
      • Whenever possible use “humanely” sourced ingredients.

      People DO have budget constraints. Unfortunately pets can’t always be number one. People must be mindful of themselves in order to be the best caregivers they can be. (Most) people will do better when they know better. This forum is a great place to start. And when they know better, there is room for improvement. When we (as advocates) interact with government and PF Industry we have to work within the framework of reasonable achievements and economic boundaries. The ladder of improvement can only be climbed in steps.

      • Right now consumers are asking for something very, very simple! And yet almost impossibly difficult in the eyes of the Industry! Our demand is mainly that we know what we are buying! If the difference between pet/livestock grade “feed” and real, whole, non-diseased food (that is fit for human consumption) can be regulated (and enforced) this will be a monumental achievement! And will greatly simplify other steps that need to be taken especially towards your own particular goals!

      • In terms of agri-business practices, ethical, moral and civilized conduct is a responsibility to protect living creatures in our custody from pain, suffering, mistreatment and emotional duress. To go further however such as ascribing the emotion of “happy” to our companions can be relative and subjective. And because there is no way to measure a state of being it is a difficult to have a conversation with industry about these terms. As PF consumer advocates we have to remain well balanced and rational in our thinking and therefore in our expectations, in order to be recognized as fair representatives of our issues! We have been criticized (unfairly) for the “humanizing” of animals (and their perceptions) which when taken to extremes can be a slippery slope!

      I have learned a lot from your posts and thank you for being a conscientous pet care taker and consumer!

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