Is doubt the product of the pet food industry and their lobbying organization PFI? And if so, how do you think "doubt" and the spreading of "doubt" actually benefits the organizations over the consumer? PFI is the group the major companies "point" to as their "spokesperson".
Here are a few interesting questions to think about.
Does the longer a company or organization say they're "looking into things" or with hold specific evidence the more money they make while the years pass by?
Is it helpful to certain interests of consumers don't know the truth?
Is it helpful to certain interests if truth is avoided and doubt is cast instead?
Does it help them evade regulation?
Is doubt an actual beneficial product being "sold" by these major companies, even if it's not a tangible product?
The pet food industry lobbying group, and the various major organizations involved, have never produced a single comparative feeding study to show consumers the health evidence of one feeding style like raw compared to that of another feeding style like kibble. But they do cast doubt on feeding styles which they do not manufacture. They haven't produced the evidence with studies for what they cast doubt on, even when they're making billions and claiming they're evidence based. They also say they care about the health of your animals.
As "Pet Fooled" exposes, they've never produced a comparative feeding style study. And they claim to care about pet health?
It doesn't take a graduate from Harvard to argue that producing kibble diets are far less expensive financially than producing and distributing fresh food diets with clear and transparent sourcing (exact sourcing) and diets void of controversial, processed and rendered ingredients.
It's interesting to think about these questions.
When Neal from Growlies For Pets in Victoria, BC (Canada) first contacted me about a possible Canadian premiere event, he mentioned that his store didn't carry any kibble. My first response was, "excuse me, come again?!" Almost all stores carry some form of dry food and I had never heard of a store carrying no kibble, and mainly raw or dehydrated raw.
When I first started looking into the various issues of the pet food industry for the film "Pet Fooled", the major confusion was from the two ends of the industry. One side was saying "raw" was the ideal food you could feed. The other side (major industry) was saying the opposite, and that raw could "potentially" harm you or your animal. (focus on how the key word potential is used!) I'm not the first person to look into the issues of the pet food industry and I won't be the last. And for those who have seen the final film "Pet Fooled", the film and the evidence provided in the film speaks for itself.
Some pet owners will choose to feed a raw food diet if it fits what they're looking for. Others may feed a dehydrated food, freeze dried raw, or a gently cooked food ("home cooked") food like the food Ever More.
Today's post is in reaction to the Pet Food Industry magazine article called "Pet food recalls: looking back at 2007, moving forward." The subtitle of this article is "what really stands out from the 2007 pet food recalls is the reaction by consumers, who no longer trusted pet food companies."
Author of the article, Debbie Phillips-Donaldson says "Until then, even the most devoted pet parents didn't really consider where or how their pets' food was made or what was in it."
What the 2007 recall did was expose HOW hundreds of pet food brands where made. In the feature film "Pet Fooled", Susan Thixton states, "In 2007, pet owners didn't have any idea that one manufacturer, Menu Foods, made hundreds of different varieties of foods. That was a betrayal of trust to so many pet owners."
The recall also exposed how questionable ingredients were sourced and put into pet foods. It's clear that Menu Foods was sourcing "wheat gluten" from China for cost purposes, and then putting that protein product into MANY products that were marketed for their differences. Why didn't Menu Foods test the raw ingredients for safety before blindly adding the ingredients into pet foods? Deaths of pets occurred because of these horrible manufacturing practices and no one from Menu Foods was fined or put in jail as a result. If a citizen were to kill another pet, they would be arrested for animal abuse.
And how can a consumer know that anything is different today? Major industry still operates in ways that are arguably secretive towards the pet parents if they really want to figure out the exact sources of where the ingredients that go into the foods come from. At a certain point, does passion become business and things become just "too big" and competitive to maintain transparency to distribute nationwide or through various companies? Or are companies not completely transparent because there may be a potential marketing and financial downside to telling consumers where ingredients come from and the quality of these ingredients?
What has changed since 2007 is the growing number of pet parents who are getting more interested, involved, and proactive in species appropriate nutrition. For the industry making billions because of low cost foods widely distributed, it's probably not a threat for them because they operate on a market share basis and own a multitude of different pet food varieties. These multi-conglomorate companies will likely just adjust their offerings as the market changes.
But the pet parent can indeed choose not to buy any food from a major conglomerate and instead, visit independent boutique stores that sell products that are more transparent and independently owned and operated. Major companies will argue that there's no "proof" that their food offering is any less "healthy" and is 100% complete and balanced and safe, but that's not the argument. The overall argument is quality sourcing, transparency so consumers can confirm sourcing, and species appropriate nutrition. If a pet parent doesn't choose to make their own pet's food, there are a multitude of super passionate, independent pet food companies that have spawn out of the 2007 recall that provide them commercially and are arguably more transparent about sourcing than other major brands. Pet parents are waking up to nutrition, and the confusion of the industry is what lead to the feature film "Pet Fooled." What has changed is that the 2007 recall hasn't died and the practices of "white labeling" hasn't changed. What matters isn't "white labeling" or a manufacturer making a particular "brand" of food, but instead honesty, transparency, and sourcing of ingredients for species appropriate nutrition.
After directing and releasing "Pet Fooled", the most common question is "what kibble is a good kibble?" The film clearly displays the argument of species appropriate diets and you can actually look at that specific scene in the video below. If you want to feed a kibble every once in a while, great. It's convenient. But why would you want to and why do you need to feed dry food every single meal and every single day of the animal's life?
The overall response is, as per the research, dry foods for dogs and cats are convenient foods but are overwhelmingly and arguably not species appropriate diets. New science is coming out today highly against dry food for cats. There are dry food companies that try to source and be more transparent than other companies that produce dry foods who are more vague in where the ingredients are sourced from and so forth. But again, even if the ingredients are perfect for a kibble food, it's still processed and extruded and most often companies extrude the foods with forms of starch at proprietary high temperatures.
But there is a solution! A friend of mine was feeding a VERY questionable kibble and lawsuits were starting to pile up against this company when dogs started to die after allegedly eating this product. (You can google dog deaths dry food 2015 and 2016 for more info). She visited a boutique pet-store in Los Angeles called Healthy Spot. She was nervous because she was afraid she couldn't feed anything OTHER than a kibble, and the store helped her do a price per pound comparison and find a VERY great alternative, dehydrated raw diet which more clear and transparent sourcing and the price difference wasn't that much greater.
So if you can find alternatives whether it's something like Grandma Lucy's (Artisan), The Honest Kitchen, or Sujos just to name a few, why would you want to feed a high quality processed food instead of a great dehydrated raw from a very transparent and helpful company?
Boutiques like Healthy Spot exist all across the country but you have to research and find them. If you get on any of the sites for the companies mentioned above, you can type in your zip code and find a boutique store near you. Then you can visit that boutique, speak with workers or owners of these store, and make a choice that fits your price point.
So there's a choice beyond kibble even if you're looking for convenience. Freeze dried and dehydrated raw are still convenient. Kibble isn't the by all, end all feeding style that's 100% complete and balanced. The more you research, the more you'll learn in this field that SO much exists beyond "dry food" and clever marketing. But it takes personal education for that to make sense. It took me years.
All the best,