Friday, April 06, 2007

Molly has accumulated a considerable file on the matter of the recent pet food recall, a lot of which she carries with her in a folder for when she visits clients. Pretty well all of this is technical data as to what items are on the list today for recall. BUT....Molly has also discovered an excellent source for those who are interested in a "total picture" of the pet food industry. It's from the Animal Protection Institute, an American animal welfare organization. Their article 'What's Really in Pet Foods' is perhaps the best that Molly has seen since she began looking at this subject. it begins by laying out the corporate connections in this industry, a story that is stunning even to a leftist cynic like Molly. This article goes on to provide both a consumers' guide to reading pet food labels and a description of the whole pet food manufacturing process. The site goes on to describe various additives in pet food and their possible consequences (while being properly scientific about the evidence and being especially critical about the fashion distinction between "natural" and "synthetic"). The author continues with a list of recalls that is unavailable from the FDA and also a "sceptic's guide" to many of the claims made by pet food manufacturers, including cases where the claims of manufacturers are demonstrably false. The article then goes on as to the "industry's dirtiest secrets" which details the corporate secrets behind "premium claims", and the animal testing of the companies involved. It goes on with a sceptical assessment of claims such as "niche marketing" (foods manufactured for pets of a given age, life style,etc.), "natural and organic claims", ingredient quality claims, "meat is the first ingredient" claims and "special ingredient claims" (Molly Note: Molly knows breeders who "swear by" beet pulp as an ingredient from nothing more than a religious belief in the "natural". There is nothing more "natural" than many forms of industrial waste, including "beet pulp", but as they haven't been blessed by the clergy there is also no guarantee that they are beneficial despite their presumed "holiness" )
The article concludes with a list of suggestions for the pet owner/consumer. Molly wishes to salute Dr. Jean Hofve for her courage in consulting for the preparation of this article. She's probably a young veterinarian just beginning her career, and she's already launched on a much more fundamental challenge than holding any particular political opinion.Micro-politics is always more serious than mega-politics. Molly recommends the article made under guidance with the highest commendation.

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