Whether you feed your dog or cat a raw meat diet or not, the AVMA proposed policy to discourage raw diets for pets is a very real concern to all educated petsumers. What is behind this proposed policy? If approved, who will be the next domino to fall? Will this policy alienate pet owners from practicing veterinarians?
What or Who is behind this AVMA proposed policy?
On the AVMA blog post titled “The Facts on AVMA’s Proposed Policy on Raw Pet Food Diets”, the AVMA states this proposed policy “is about mitigating public health risks, not about restricting or banning any products.” While we (pet owners) realize the AVMA has no power to ban any type of pet food, we also didn’t just fall off of the turnip truck. The very real possibility of a domino effect can happen – it already has.
The AVMA itself is the third fallen domino…from the AVMA “exact document”…(bold added)
“Statement about the Resolution
At its spring 2011 meeting, the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine (CPHRVM), drafted a new policy to address an issue brought to its attention by Animal Welfare Division staff and the Delta Society (a non-profit organization that works with companion animals for animal assisted therapy, service animals, and other volunteers). Having a policy specific to raw diets and associated public health concerns, the Delta Society inquired if AVMA had a related policy. Recognizing that AVMA had no policy on this issue, the CPHRVM reviewed the available scientific literature and determined that an AVMA policy was needed to address public health risks associated with raw protein diets in companion animals. Therefore, the CPHRVM recommended that Executive Board (EB) approve the newly drafted policy titled “Raw or Undercooked Animal-Source Protein in Cat and Dog Diets” to mitigate human health risks associated with these feeding practices.”
For those unaware, in 2010 The Delta Society – a national charity that trains and organizes pet visitations to the sick and elderly – made a pet food shattering decision to ban all Pet Partners that feed an all raw meat pet food. And then it was discovered…on the executive board of the Delta Society – when the Delta Society made this raw pet food ban – was Brenda Bax…Marketing Director, Purina Pet Foods. It was more than clear to many raw pet food advocates, Purina Pet Food’s Brenda Max played a significant role in Delta Society’s decision to ban raw pet food fed dogs from participating (further, all participant dogs now volunteering for Delta Society wear a Purina patch on their harness/banner – walking advertisement for Purina Pet Foods).
After the startling Delta Society ban of Pet Partners (dog volunteers) fed a raw pet food diet, another similar national organization Therapet followed suit. The second domino fallen.
The AVMA’s own admission this proposed policy was suggested by Delta Society proves such policy’s can have long reaching domino effects.
Question to AVMA, your ‘Statement about the Resolution’ states “the Delta Society inquired if AVMA had a related policy.” Was this Delta Society representative Brenda Bax?…aka Purina Pet Foods?
How much influence does big industry (Big Pet Food and Big Pharma) have over AVMA?
The 2012 AVMA Convention (where this vote will take place) website states “Special Thanks to our 2012 Diamond Partner” – Hill’s (Science Diet and Hill’s Rx pet foods).
The charity arm of the AVMA is the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF). Their 2010 tax documents show donations from the following corporations (pages 17 and 18)…
Bayer Animal Health – $45,000.00
Elanco Animal Health – $85,000.00
Merial – $225,000.00
Pfizer, Inc. – $131,475.00
Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. – $45,000.00
Intervet Inc./Sherring-Plough Animal Health – $85,000.00
While it is no crime for a charity veterinary organization to accept donations from pharmaceutical corporations and a pet food corporation, can the AVMA remain unbiased when over $600,000.00 is received – in one year – from these corporations? Can the AVMA remain unbiased when a pet food manufacturer sponsors a national convention?
In the AVMA “exact document” regarding the proposed policy, five studies are cited. It appears the AVMA neglected to provide any opposing views/science/statistics for voting delegates to consider. The most recent opposing statistic the AVMA neglected to provide voting delegates is the final report from the Centers for Disease Control confirming kibble pet food infected 49 individuals with Salmonella Infantis (in two countries).
Shouldn’t a proposal for policy of a national veterinary organization provide both sides of the topic? Allowing voting delegates the opportunity to take a close look at both sides of the fence – and come to their own conclusion to approve or deny the policy? Instead it appears that the AVMA Executive Board and the House Advisory Committee has already made the decision for voting delegates. On the AVMA “exact document” the Executive Board and the House Advisory Committee states “Recommend Approval”.
And lastly, it certainly makes this proposed policy look fishy when the AVMA has no existing policy recommending against pet foods that contain rendered euthanized animals, diseased-rejected for use in human foods meat or by-product ingredients, rodent or bird feces infested ingredients and other hideous ingredients FDA Compliance policies allow into commercial pet foods. To take a public stance against USDA inspected and approved raw meat pet foods but no public stance against horrendous rendered ingredient pet foods…makes no one feel the AVMA has the health of pets in mind.
It is the opinion of many that nothing good will come should the AVMA approve this policy. If the AVMA wishes to further the divide between forward thinking, educated pet owners and veterinarians – then by all means, approve this policy. That IS what will happen. While the AVMA might sincerely believe they are doing the right thing – in protection of human health – educated pet owners and progressive veterinarians (most of who could probably talk food safety and pet nutritional circles around the Executive Board and the House Advisory Committee) will certainly see this decision as another fallen domino. We are concerned – as we should be – what will happen next? Is AAFCO the next domino to fall?
AVMA, if you care about pet health and human health – perhaps it is best to table this vote for the time being. Do discovery and provide voting delegates both sides of the issue before a vote would be taken in the future. Develop a consumer committee representative of pet owners feeding a variety of pet foods. Show us that – as a national veterinary organization – you care about our opinions, personal experiences and views. We are the clients of your members, perhaps we can be of huge benefit to the future of your organization.
An open communication between the AVMA and representatives of the millions of pet owner clients of practicing veterinarians is a better way to move forward. Shutting us out will do no good for anyone.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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