A Veterinary School Professor just published an article telling consumers NOT to read the ingredients on pet food labels. Is her advice damaging the reputation of the University she works for (Tufts)?
Dr. Lisa Freeman “is a veterinary nutritionist and a professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.” Her bio continues with “She is on the cutting-edge of science, with hundreds of articles in prestigious journals, speaking engagements at national and international conferences, and awards for her scientific achievements. However, she also is passionate about providing objective and accurate information on pet nutrition to veterinarians, pet owners, and other animal enthusiasts.”
A recent post from Dr. Lisa Freeman on the Tufts University Veterinary School website is causing a stir from educated pet food consumers. Dr. Freeman discusses the recent investigation of grain free pet foods possible link to heart disease (recently written about on TAPF here: http://truthaboutpetfood.com/is-it-peas-processing-or-a-combination/). Dr. Freeman takes a different perspective of the grain-free investigation, linking “boutique” and “exotic” pet foods to the potential heart disease risk in dogs. She states she sees “nutritional deficiencies due to people feeding unconventional diets, such as unbalanced home-prepared diets, raw diets, vegetarian diets, and boutique commercial pet foods”.
Dr. Freeman speaks highly of pets consuming grains; “And while grains have been accused on the internet of causing nearly every disease known to dogs, grains do not contribute to any health problems and are used in pet food as a nutritious source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.” (She forgets to mention the known risk of mycotoxin contamination in grains and the toxicity concerns for the pets consuming those grains.)
And Dr. Freeman takes aim at small pet food manufacturers stating: “Small pet food manufacturers might be better at marketing than at nutrition and quality control.”
But the most concerning statement from Dr. Freeman is under a section titled “What should you do?”
Reconsider your dog’s diet. If you’re feeding a boutique, grain-free, or exotic ingredient diets, I would reassess whether you could change to a diet with more typical ingredients made by a company with a long track record of producing good quality diets. And do yourself a favor – stop reading the ingredient list! Although this is the most common way owners select their pets’ food, it is the least reliable way to do so.
Is telling pet food consumers they should NOT read the ingredient list of their pet food good advice – especially coming from a veterinary nutritionist?
Would a human food nutritionist ever tell clients they should NOT read the ingredients in their food and blindly trust the food?
Does such questionable advice like this – coming from a veterinary professor – shine a dim light on the University/the Veterinary School?
Opinion: If any veterinary school is giving advice to consumers, it should encourage consumers to learn as much as possible about the product they are feeding their pet. No medical professional should ever tell consumers to blindly trust a food or drug or medical procedure. This is a ‘because I said so’ – ‘because you aren’t smart enough to understand’ mentality. It’s demeaning to consumers. This type of attitude makes this consumer (me) question the ethics of Dr. Freeman, and in turn the ethics of the entire veterinary program at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. It makes me wonder if students are allowed to think, or are they treated how Dr. Freeman treats consumers (‘because I said so’)? Consumers and students need to be encouraged/motivated to learn – not stifled to blindly trust ‘because I said so’.
To read the full post from Dr. Lisa Freeman, Click Here.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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