Thursday, April 26, 2007

RE: If we really R what we eat, then what the Hell are our pets?

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Taboo Central
Date: Apr 25, 2007 4:03 PM

This is very important for all animal owners...and the poverty stricken elderly people who send there social security checks to bogus charities, televeangelistas etc and then are forced to subsist on Alpo and Mighty Dog!
By the way...what is that confetti stuff we feed our fish? It's really not bad with Miracle Whip and the free crackers you can snarf at restuarants.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: nierika
Date: Apr 24, 2007 4:33 PM

April 23, 2007

You Are What You Eat: The Politics of Pet Food

By John R Moffett

If you are a cat or dog owner, you almost certainly know about the pet food recall associated with numerous pet illnesses and deaths in recent months. But you probably don’t know much about the details, or the politics and economics behind the pet food debacle, or how these relate to your family’s food. If you thought the food safety problem was limited to pet foods… think again. The Bush administration has gutted the FDA, and all foods are now less safe.

What’s in pet food anyway? Why is it “pet food”, and not just regular food? Is it especially nutritious and wholesome for pets as most vets would have you believe? The answer is no, pet food is not especially wholesome or nutritious, and in fact it can contain things that should not be in food at all. There are two independent food streams in the United States, human food and pet/animal food. Neither is completely safe, but the animal food stream is particularly suspect.

Pet food is made from what giant, multinational agribusiness considers “byproducts” of human food production - stuff that is mostly unfit for human consumption. Much of it would become costly garbage if industry could not legally make it into dog and cat food. Basically, you would never feed it to your pet if you knew what was in it. Pet food agribusiness is a $30 billion a year mega-industry in the US, and it is growing every year.

The delightful industry term for animal byproducts is “offal” - carcass parts that cannot be used for human food, which are automatically slated for animal food production at the slaughterhouse. “Offal” has been estimated to amount to approximately 40 billion pounds per year in the US, and often contains significant amounts of rancid rendered fats, oils and grease. It also includes bacterial- or parasite-contaminated carcass parts which could not pass human food inspection. This is especially true because offal contains animal intestines and their contents, which are rich in e-coli. Next time you scrutinize the stuff in a can of cat or dog food… think “offal”.

On top of the issue of contaminated or diseased carcass parts there is now the looming issue of toxic Chinese food-additive contamination in many pet foods in the United States. It was a serious wake-up call for pet owners that so many different products produced by so many different pet food companies could all become contaminated. This fact showed clearly that both “premium” and plain pet foods contained low-quality ingredients from uncertain sources.

At first the contaminated pet food showed up mostly in the US, but eventually surfaced in other places, such as South Africa

click here

and Puerto Rico

click here

The critical questions quickly became “what poison” and “what source”? At first it was thought that a rat poison called aminopterin was responsible. Then the focus quickly shifted to a chemical called melamine, which is used primarily in the making of plastics. The culprit “food product” was thought to be contaminated wheat gluten from the Chinese manufacturer “Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co”. Because melamine contains a huge amount of nitrogen, it would give a very high “protein reading” when inspectors employed the simple chemical color test typically used to quickly assay protein content in a food product. This made some sense as to why melamine would show up at high levels in cheap Chinese wheat gluten product – as a despicable, unethical attempt to artificially jack up the protein rating.

However, there is a slight problem with the melamine hypothesis. The affected pets are thought to have died from kidney failure, but melamine is not known to cause kidney failure. The amount of melamine required to cause death is very large, far beyond the amount found in contaminated pet foods. The main health issues associated with chronic melamine exposure include cancer and reproductive damage. Indeed, there is no data that suggests that melamine even in significant doses can cause acute adverse effects such as kidney failure and death. The levels of melamine found in the pet food were far below those considered acutely toxic.

So what caused the animal sickness and death, and where did it come from? Some investigators have noted that ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in anti-freeze, does cause acute kidney failure in animals. Many pets die every year from drinking anti-freeze drained out of car radiators because it has a sweet smell and taste. However, it does not seem likely that sufficient levels of ethylene glycol could get into pet foods.

As such, it seems very likely that the actual culprit has still not been found. It may turn out to be melamine, but more likely it will turn out to be something else not yet identified. In either case, the FDA would very much like Americans to think that the situation is well in hand. It is far from well in hand, and in fact, the FDA is overwhelmed, underfunded and understaffed. It is also being hamstrung by an administration that despises government oversight of business.

click here

So what can you do? Make your own pet food. It is more time-consuming than opening a can or dumping some kibble in a bowl, but a varied and nutritious diet based on human-grade foods will greatly increase the chances that your pet will have a healthy diet, and a long life. Dogs and cats are fully domesticated animals, and have evolved over thousands of years along side people, eating left-over scraps of food. They are well adapted to a human-centered diet, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just wrong.

It is critically important to note that the problem isn’t limited to the food your pet eats - there are serious problems with the food you eat too. It’s the same functionally deficient FDA that is supposedly watching out for you and your family by inspecting foods produced in the US and those imported from other countries. There have never been so many food producers as there are now, and in modern times there has never been less FDA action. As this situation worsens, people are getting sick from contaminated spinach, peanut butter, and now new cases have been reported, again, about people getting sick from e-coli tainted beef:

It goes further - it has been reported that livestock have been fed large amounts of animal feed which was contaminated with melamine, or whatever unidentified toxic substance has been killing pets, thus putting people at risk from the “pet food contamination problem”. By eating animals, people are thus subjected to the animal food stream.

click here

Eating less meat, and more organic produce is a great way to improve your health, and reduce your exposure to potentially toxic compounds in the food supply. Dogs also do very well on a diet rich in rice, vegetables, oatmeal, eggs, and other non-meat items, but cats need to eat mostly meat. Both cats and dogs should be given appropriate amounts of calcium and vitamin supplements if they are getting human food.

While the human food stream is far from perfect, it is still substantially better than the animal food stream.

You are what you eat. So be highly vigilant about what you, your family, and your pets eat.

Authors Website:

Authors Bio: Dr. John Moffett is an active research neuroscientist in the Washington, DC area, who has published articles on the nervous and immune systems. Dr. Moffett is also the author and webmaster of the political opinion website


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home