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Pet Connection Magazine
(Issue 1 October 2005)

Food for Thought

The debate about the respective merits of raw versus
processed dog food is heating up. Here Vic Marriott of the
United Kingdom Raw Meaty Bones Support and Action Group
argues that processed pet food is costing the
community billions of pounds and is impacting on human
health and the natural environment.

What might Jack Spratt say if he returned to see the results of his creation? Back in the 1860s Spratt arrived from America by ship. When the ship docked in London he noticed packs of dogs scavenging for discarded ship’s biscuits. It was then that he conceived his nice little earner—a concoction of wheat, beetroot, vegetables and beef blood. According to Spratt his Dog Cakes were superior fare when compared with fresh beef which he claimed would overheat a dog’s blood and table scraps which would make dogs prematurely old and fat.

Soon Spratt was assisted by the young Charles Cruft whose zeal and commercial flair led to the establishment of Crufts Dog Show. Nowadays Crufts packs the halls of the National Exhibition Centre for four days. The walls are bedecked in pet-food company slogans—just as misleading or false as in Spratt’s day. TV images get broadcast around the world and the companies are global household names. It’s all part of a multibillion pound industry.

Jack Spratt and Charles Cruft would surely be in awe. Especially given that the industry they founded injures the health of a majority of the world’s dogs. Yes, that’s right. Processed pet foods injure health giving rise to cruelty, suffering and in many instances an early death. Actually, common sense and contemporary knowledge tell us that. Super Size Me the film of one man’s hamburger binge showed what can happen after a month consuming junk food. Jamie Oliver makes much the same point in his campaign for healthy school dinners.

Unfortunately, for pets and their owners, a majority of those entrusted with the health care of the nation’s pets are in denial. Vets promise to ‘pursue the work of my profession with uprightness of conduct and that my constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of the animals committed to my care.’ Despite this undertaking a majority of vets recommend, promote and in many instances sell the junk food that does the harm. The nation’s six veterinary schools each receive junk pet-food company funds. After five years at veterinary school some of the nation’s brightest are turned into junk pet-food company salespersons. What would Jack Spratt say?

Happily all is not woe. Pet owners are becoming better informed. Word of mouth and the internet contributes hugely. More and more articles appear in the media. Veterinary Times carried a front page article: ‘Veterinarians “unaware” of dangers of processed diets for carnivores’. Time magazine covered the story and in March this year Clive Anderson hosted a feature programme on BBC Radio 4.

Ultimately it will be politicians who decide how long companies and their veterinary allies can injure pets’ health under the guise that they are providing good nutrition. In December last year a House of Commons Early Day Motion commended the work of vet and raw meaty bones campaigner Tom Lonsdale and called upon the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to ‘make a definitive statement on the active endorsement and promotion of processed pet foods by vets.’

Meanwhile forward thinking butchers and pet shop owners are stocking raw meaty bones for their health-conscious customers. A new (old) industry is in the making where pets are fed as Nature intended. These are exciting times where fascinating new information comes to the fore after years of suppression.

If you would like to know more please check out www.ukrmb.co.uk and the landmark book, Raw Meaty Bones: Promote Health. In October Dr Tom Lonsdale’s new book will be published: Work Wonders: Feed your dog raw meaty bones.

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