Pet Nutrition Alliance. Sounds like a group that is looking out for the health of our pets right? Turns out, this veterinary association touting ‘Optimal Nutrition for Every Pet’ is nutrition education directly from the mouth of Big Pet Food.
On the surface, it sounds promising. Numerous veterinary associations banding together to provide nutritional advice to fellow veterinarians and consumers. Member organizations include American Animal Hospital Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition, American College of Veterinary Nutrition, American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, National Association of Veterinary Technicians, and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.
But then you look a little closer at this pet nutrition association and find…Founding Educational Sponsors: Hill’s Science Diet, Nestle Purina, P&G Pet Care. In other words, the ‘education’ provided by Pet Nutrition Alliance is little more than advertising from some of the biggest manufacturers of pet food in the world.
A few examples of the ‘education’ provided on this veterinary website…
Home Prepared Diet Misconceptions – links to the Pet Food Institute (PFI – lobby/trade association for Big Pet Food)
Raw Diet Myths & Facts – links to Purina
Understand Pet Food Labels – links to P&G (link gets a warning from Firefox)
Pet Food Labels Q&A – links to PFI (though link not working)
Pet vs Human Food – links to PFI
Myths about Pet Food Regulation – links to PFI
Nowhere on the Pet Nutrition Alliance website was information found to warn or alert veterinarians and consumers to FDA Compliance Policies that allow pet food to include meat from 4D (dead, diseased, dying and disabled) animals. Nowhere was information found to warn or alert veterinarians and consumers to ask pet food manufacturers pertinent questions such as ‘Are meats in your pet food USDA inspected and approved for human consumption or are meats feed grade that could include rejected or use in human food meats?’ – or ‘What is the country of origin of all ingredients including all supplements?’
How very disappointing. Veterinarians are (supposed to be) scientists – (supposed to be) those that think outside the box (or bag or can). Wikipedia states “A scientist, in a broad sense, is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge.” What happened to so many veterinarian scientists with acquiring pet food knowledge? Why do so many only acquire knowledge about pet food from Big Pet Food?
How very disappointing so many veterinarians – and so many veterinary associations – only ‘hear’ one side of the story (often that one side of the story is from their corporate sponsors). A more scientific approach to knowledge of pet food would be reading the FDA Compliance policies in order to understand the regulatory differences between pet ‘feed’ ingredients and human grade ingredients. A more scientific approach to knowledge of pet food would be an open mind and communication with manufacturers of whole food pet foods, raw pet foods, lightly processed pet foods to understand the health benefits (and the science behind) these styles of feeding pets. And a more scientific approach to knowledge of pet food would include an open mind and communication with the consumers that provide their pets with human food quality ingredient pet foods to learn first hand of health benefits pets have experienced from these pet foods. There is so much more for our veterinarian scientists to learn and so many to learn from if only they would become scientists again (instead of only repeating what Big Pet Food tells them).
One more piece of information from the Pet Nutrition Alliance website that sums up the attitude educated pet food consumers face with a majority of our veterinarians. In the article “What Should I Feed My Pet?” by Dr. Tony Buffington DVM, MS, PhD, DACVN, below is the last paragraph…
“So the confusion over pet foods seems to be much more related to the psychological and business aspects of marketing, which in turn may be the result of a market glutted with satisfactory foods desperately trying to differentiate themselves in the mind of the consumer. There need be no confusion. In a similar market situation — table wine — my wife makes purchase decisions based on her aesthetic preference for the label, which generally results in an excellent outcome. Based on the available evidence, a similar strategy seems reasonable for pet foods. In other words, you should feel comfortable buying most any food that includes an AAFCO claim appropriate for your pet while understanding that most of the reasons you will be prompted to buy it are based on marketing.”
A veterinarian suggesting to consumers they can select a pet food that provides all the nutrition a pet must have to sustain life in the same manner one would select a wine? (Shake my head at the absurdity.)
I urge Pet Nutrition Alliance to end their financial ties with Big Pet Food. Find other sponsors outside the field you are providing education on. Provide your member veterinarians with all types of pet food education, unbiased pet food education – become scientists again! Not puppets of Big Pet Food.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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Susan’s List of trusted pet foods. Click Here
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