Who exactly is getting Fooled?
DVM360.com veterinarian author Dr. Sarah Wooten bashes the documentary Pet Fooled stating consumers are being ‘fooled’ by the film and ‘fooled’ by Dr. Karen Becker and Dr. Barbara Royal. No…it’s Dr. Sarah Wooten that has been fooled (by Big Pet Feed).
In a stab at veterinarians Dr. Karen Becker and Dr. Barbara Royal who are featured in the film, DVM360’s Dr. Wooten titled her post “Hey doc, have your veterinary clients been fooled by this doc(umentary)?“ No need to be rude Dr. Wooten.
Dr. Wooten’s review of the film stated she “found most of this shock-you-mentary jaw droppingly inflammatory and inaccurate.” Let’s look at a couple of things she calls ‘inaccurate’.
On a Q&A page Dr. Wooten provides for veterinarians when consumers ask questions about the film, she provides this possible question from a consumer and suggests veterinarians provide this answer…
“The movie showed that they put roadkill, euthanized animals and diseased animals in my pet’s food! Is that TRUE?”
That is false. It is not legal for a pet food company to do so.
Oh, Dr. Wooten…now who is being inaccurate?
Did you miss the 3 pet food recalls this year (2017) for presence of pentobarbital in dog food and an FDA report confirming pentobarbital euthanized animal meat was in the pet food? Perhaps you didn’t take the time out of your busy day bashing colleagues to confirm with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture that the meat supplier to the recalled pet food was actually a licensed dead animal processor – a company that removes dead animal carcasses including euthanized animals from farms and processes that material into pet food (but a ‘foolish’ consumer did).
You must have missed the FDA Compliance policies during your pet food research. There is a complete Compliance Policy section titled “Veterinary Medicine” on the FDA website that many of us ‘foolish’ consumers have read; maybe you should be so foolish to read them too. Specific to your inaccuracy, directly from the FDA website: “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, if it is not otherwise in violation of the law. It will be considered fit for animal consumption.”
You are correct it is illegal. You are VERY wrong that it isn’t allowed and happens consistently in pet food.
Dr. Wooten also provides this question and answer for veterinarians to give to consumers…
“The movie said that chicken byproduct meal is totally rendered and inappropriate nutrition for dogs and cats. What do you think?”
This is not true. Byproduct meal is actually very nutritious and a good protein source. People even eat byproducts, such as kidney pie, hot dogs, brats and haggas.
Dr. Wooten, do you own a recent copy of the AAFCO Official Publication? Have you ever attended an AAFCO meeting? This consumer has a current copy of the AAFCO Official Publication and has attended AAFCO meetings (on behalf of other consumers) for the past 8 years. Please know that the word “meal” means rendered. Every single AAFCO defined ingredient that includes the word ‘meal’ includes the word ‘rendered’ in the legal definition. If you bothered to be involved in the regulatory process of pet food you’d know that.
If you bothered to be involved, you would know that the legal definitions of rendered by-product ingredients in pet food are not required to be sourced from human edible sources the same way as “kidney pie, hot dogs, brats and haggas” is. If you were informed, you’d know that each and every pet food ingredient has it’s own legal definition that is very different than the counterpart ingredient in human food. Most pet foods are not food, most pet foods do not meet the legal requirements of food – most pet foods are feed.
And that’s the thing…why aren’t you involved? Why don’t you know these things? Why don’t you read the FDA Compliance Policies and stand along side of Dr. Karen Becker and Dr. Barbara Royal and millions of consumers advocating for enforcement of law? Why bash them directly to their colleagues when it is you yourself that is “jaw droppingly inflammatory and inaccurate”?
Dr. Wooten also states (in the first of her two posts bashing Pet Fooled and her colleagues)…
My initial thought is if veterinarians approach this right, Pet Fooled could open up new lines of communication with our clients. Because, when it comes down to it, we all want the food we are feeding our pets to be healthy and safe—so we are all on the same team.
You should be aware – all veterinarians should be aware – that consumers don’t believe you when you say ‘we are on the same team’. Not when you don’t know the laws that govern pet food, not when you don’t know what regulatory authorities allow in pet ‘feed’, not when you as individuals and your veterinarian associations don’t stand with us to fight the many wrongs allowed in pet feed. Instead, we feel you are choosing your allegiance to Big Pet Feed over us.
Here’s a conversation that millions of consumers would like to have with you Dr. Wooten…Do you think it is acceptable for pet feed (labeled as food) to include “diseased animals and animals that have died otherwise than by slaughter”? If you do…we truly have nothing to talk about (didn’t you take an oath?). If not…then why aren’t you actively fighting against this? Why are you not at AAFCO meetings and meeting with FDA to speak publicly against these allowed, commonly used, yet illegal ingredients? Why aren’t you educating veterinarians to these ingredients and the illegal use of them in pet feed (including prescription pet feed) on DVM360?
Unless you are willing to learn what really is in pet food/feed, what every regulatory authority allows…then it is you that has been fooled. Not us. Not consumers.
Just in case Dr. Wooten wants to learn more:
FDA Compliance Policies
FDA Warning Letter to Evanger’s Pet Food
FDA Recall Notices
AAFCO Official Publication order form and Meeting information
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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