Response from American College of Veterinary Nutrition
The ACVN has provided the following response to questions sent regarding pet food’s use of diseased animal material and material sourced from dead/non-slaughtered animals.
Because of verbal abuse and mocking of pet food consumers and pet food consumer advocates, a letter was sent to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN). Click Here to read original post. We addressed the verbal abuse and we addressed one of the most serious concerns of pet food. We asked the ACVN this…
There is a serious and concerning divide between pet food consumers and animal nutritionists. Some veterinarians and nutritionists are openly mocking pet food consumers, calling us “stupid” when we question the nutritional value of ‘material from diseased animals or animals that have died otherwise than by slaughter’. Some veterinarians and nutritionists are even mocking us in presentations to colleagues. This is uncalled for, and benefits no one.
Does ACVN believe rendered dead/non-slaughtered animals or condemned animal material recycled into pet food – sold to unknowing consumers – is ‘protection of animal health’? Does ACVN consider this material proper nutrition for companion animals? Does ACVN believe dead/non-slaughtered animals or condemned animal material recycled into pet food is safe to be brought into homes, perhaps handled by children?
If yes, enough said. This tells us enough about you to know that any further conversation is worthless.
If no, pet food consumers ask ACVN to work with us. To directly and purposely petition FDA and each State Department of Agriculture requesting law be enforced, protecting the health of animals. We remind ACVN that federal law deems material “if it is, in whole or in part, the product of a diseased animal or of an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter” is an adulterant in any food (human or animal), and thus illegal. Unfortunately, all pet food regulatory authorities ignore this law with pet food/animal feed. Consumers remind ACVN of FDA Compliance Policy directly allowing this material into pet food; “Pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, which is in violation of 402(a)(5) will not ordinarily be actionable.”
Pet food consumers are openly asking ACVN for two things…
- Stop the attack on consumers. The initials behind your names do not guarantee us you have the best interest of our pets in mind. Respect is earned – not demanded.
- Begin an effort to work with consumers to stop the illegal material allowed into pet food. Work with us, not against us, for safer, quality pet food.
Consumers and ACVN could together initiate an campaign that could ultimately change the future of animal food. We await your response.
ACVN provided the following response…
Dear Ms. Thixton:
Thank you for contacting the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN). Your e-mail to the web site was forwarded to my office for response. I have shared your letter with the ACVN Board of Regents.
As an American Veterinary Medical Association-recognized veterinary specialty organization, the primary function of the College is to oversee the training programs for, and certification of, veterinarians in the specialized field of veterinary nutrition. Our activities associated with fulfilling this mission take up the vast bulk of our time and resources. As a result, we have a limited ability to take on many other projects. In fact, over the years the College has only issued a few policy statements or public opinions on nutrition-related topics that are based on review of the scientific literature. To date, we have not published a public statement on the topic you mentioned, i.e., the use and quality of rendered materials in pet foods. Considering our current pressing obligations and available resources, it is unlikely that the consensus of the College would be to engage in activities along that line at this time.
Regarding the incident mentioned in your letter where a consumer was addressed rudely, we do not condone uncivil behavior by anyone. However, please note that we do not have any authority over any public opinions expressed by “veterinarians” or “animal nutritionists” in general. Reading the actual quote on your web site post, it does not appear that the “PhD companion animal nutritionist” mentioned would be a member (“Diplomate”) of the College. To become board-certified through ACVN, one would have to be a veterinarian who completed advanced training and passed our rigorous credentialing and examination procedures. While many Diplomates also have PhD degrees, it is not an ACVN requirement (nor is it a requirement for other veterinary specialty organizations). Regardless, a person who went through this process would generally refer to him/herself as either a Diplomate of ACVN or a “board-certified veterinary nutritionist,” not by the terminology you mentioned.
With regard to the opinions of individual Diplomates of the College, they are often quite diverse. Some may wholly agree with your perspective, others perhaps not. I can confidently say that all would agree that full compliance with applicable standards as set forth by authoritative bodies is paramount to the protection of both human and animal health, but otherwise cannot speak for the College as a whole. Regardless, we do not hinder or otherwise attempt to control Diplomates from freely expressing their viewpoints through any means or venue they see fit, provided they do not do so on the expressed behalf of the College. Thus, any issue you may have with public statements of individuals, Diplomates or not, would best be addressed to that individual.
I hope this information is helpful.
David A. Dzanis, DVM, PhD, DACVN
This one sentence is encouraging (as diseased animal material and material from dead/non-slaughtered animals is illegal): “I can confidently say that all would agree that full compliance with applicable standards as set forth by authoritative bodies is paramount to the protection of both human and animal health…”
A thank you to Dr. Dzanis for the response, with hope for more dialogue in the future.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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