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Vets On Board With Delta Society In Misguided Raw Policy

At its spring 2011 meeting, the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine (CPHRVM), drafted a new policy against raw feeding.

The resolution is as follows:

The AVMA discourages the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans. Cooking or pasteurization through the application of heat until the protein reaches an internal temperature adequate to destroy pathogenic organisms has been the traditional method used to eliminate pathogens in animal-source protein, although the AVMA recognizes that newer technologies and other methods such as irradiation are constantly being developed and implemented.


Once again, vets are completely off the mark.  Here is their solution:

To mitigate public health risks associated with feeding inadequately treated animalsource protein to cats and dogs, the AVMA recommends the following:

o Never feed inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs
o Restrict cats’ and dogs’ access to carrion and animal carcasses (eg, while hunting)
o Provide fresh, clean, nutritionally balanced and complete commercially prepared or home-cooked food to cats and dogs, and dispose of uneaten food at least daily
o Practice personal hygiene (eg, handwashing) before and after feeding cats and dogs, providing treats, cleaning pet dishes, and disposing of uneaten food


In 2007 alone, thousands of pets were killed by the very food the AVMA touts as safe – and tens of thousands became ill from eating this food.  Don’t think 2007 was an isolated incident:  pets regularly become ill from contaminated commercial foods and the current chicken jerky non-recall fiasco has killed and sickened hundreds, if not thousands, more companion animals.

How can the veterinary community advocate these foods as safe with a straight face?  How can they in good conscience warn us of the evils of raw diets yet most AVMA members sold and recommended foods that killed the dogs they claim they were protecting?    In a staggering move, when all those dogs and cats were dying back in 2007 and their owners were looking for answers, the veterinary associations officially stated that it was unsafe to change to raw foods and the safest option was to keep feeding kibble.  How many more dogs died because of that advice?

Vets must think we pet owners are idiots; it appears they don’t believe we have the mental capacity to handle raw meats.  Well, we’ve got news for the vets:  most of us, except strict vegans, handle raw meats every day, regardless of what we feed our pets.  Do you think we don’t know that meats contain bacteria?  Do you think we don’t know to wash our hands and counter tops after handling raw meats?  If kibble is so safe, then why do vets advocate washing hands before and after feeding pets, cleaning their dishes and disposing of uneaten food.

In fact, studies of pet dogs show that food borne pathogens are present in a surprisingly large proportion of dogs, not just raw fed dogs. Hackett and Lappin (2003) found infectious agents in the faeces of 26% of healthy Colorado dogs and Fukata et al (2002) found salmonella antibodies in 15% of apparently healthy dogs. A study conducted in Stockholm, Sweden by Dr. Kollath showed that young animals fed a cooked, processed diet initially appeared to be healthy, but once they reached maturity, they began to rapidly age and develop degenerative disease symptoms. The control group that was raised on a raw, uncooked diet did not age as fast and showed no degenerative disease symptoms but remained healthy.

It is inane to think that we can avoid bacteria – and short sighted to think it’s a good idea.  If there is no exposure to bacteria, immune systems won’t build the antibodies they need to stay healthy. Humans and dogs have both good and bad bacteria in their bodies. When we are healthy, there is a balanced level of each. For instance, at any given time, we have traces of E.coli or Salmonella strains running through our systems, along with good bacteria. The body has an amazing health-regulating ability that combats a diverse amount of environmental factors. As bad bacteria are introduced, the immune system fights back with its own army of bacteria.

In dogs and cats, the colon is short and simple because meat can spoil quickly and produce toxins. The longer such food stays inside the body, the more toxins are produced. Therefore, the meat-eater’s intestine is designed to take out this waste as quickly as possible so risk is negligible under normal conditions.  The foods AVMA would have you feed contain grains and this means slower digestibility and the food remains in the digestive tract for a longer amount of time.  This slow digestion is just the opportunity harmful bacteria need to ferment, enter the body and create food borne illness.

As for avoiding bacteria, your dog or cat might not be the bacteria laden reservoir vets think them to be, relatively speaking.  Here are some interesting germophobic facts:

  • Each time that it’s flushed, your toilet propels invisible bacterial and viral aerosols into the air that can float for up to 2 hours contaminating everything from hand towels to toothbrushes.
  • Microbiologists at the University of Arizona Environmental Research Laboratory found 21% of shopping carts tested to contain bodily fluids. The handles can harbor staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, E coli and other bacteria from meat and poultry.
  • The University of Arizona found that almost a third of the railings in public transportation-on buses or subways-were infected with the same bacteria that is found in feces and that 25% of the seats in movie theatres were infected with E.coli bacteria, which is bacteria from feces. Another study by U.S. Air Force doctors in Ohio found that money harbors bacteria which can make both immuno-suppressed and healthy people very sick.
  • Bacteria from food, the body or other sources can survive a wash cycle and spread via our hands to other surfaces. Among them are staphylococcus aureus and klebsiella pneumoniae and E coli.
  • 95 percent of people say they wash their hands after using a public bathroom, but only 67 percent actually wash their hands. Only 33 percent of those who do wash their hands use soap. And only 16 percent really wash their hands long enough.

Do vets recognize that the foods they advocate not only contain substandard ingredients, but many forms of toxins including: aflatoxins, heterocyclic amines, acrylamides, and most recently discovered in dry, cooked pet foods, PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) a chemical used as a flame retardant.  The above makes the following AVMA guideline pretty ironic:

It is unethical for veterinarians to promote, sell, prescribe, dispense, or use secret remedies or any other product for which they do not know the ingredients


Surely, vets can’t know that kibbles are loaded with the above toxins and still advocate it (and it most cases, sell it in their lobbies)?

At this point, this is only a proposed amendment.  If there is enough outcry, then perhaps we can have this policy proposal turned down.  If you are a veterinary member of the AVMA, please weigh in on this.  If you are a pet owner, encourage your AVMA member vet to speak out against this policy.

In the end, we get to make a decision on what we feed our pets.  Or at least we get to choose today.  Tomorrow may bring bylaws and regulations that declare raw feeding as a public health hazard and, like unpasteurized milk, our right to feed raw food to our animals will be stripped from us, just like other freedoms including our right to choose homeopathy and other alternative forms of health care.  Pet ownership isn’t as simple as it used to be and it’s becoming more and more difficult to find vets who both understand and advocate what is best for our dogs.

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  • 25 Responses to Vets On Board With Delta Society In Misguided Raw Policy

    1. Laura

      has anybody ever seen what dogs eat when you own a farm? What were dogs eating before the invention of commerical dog food? They were fed table scraps and meat that was unfit for human comsumption not to mention what they dragged home from the bush or the side of the road. Those dogs were healthy. I feed raw food and would never feed kibble again.

    2. Daphne Wilcox

      Don’t pull your dogs out of therapy work! Register with Intermountain Therapy Dogs. I left DELTA and am happy I did!

    3. Jolene

      Since switching one of our dogs to raw, our vet bills have dropped by thousands of dollars a year and she is so so much healthier and in turn happier. You think maybe some of these vets are having bigger issues with losing that kind of income and are having a fit about it?? Without raw my dog would be absolutely miserable!!!

    4. Heather

      Sickening, all of the raw bashing. We can’t sterilize everything, nor is it good for us or our pets. I think the AVMA is more than happy to create sickness in our animals so that the system can reap the monetary benefits. This covers Pharmaceutical companies, pet food companies and Veterinarians. They all cash in on the benefits of poor nutrition. Average pet people don’t think twice about the ingredients in the foods they feed their dogs. They believe what the manufacturer and their Veterinarian says. They are poisoning our pets, causing intolerance etc. Then they push the “prescription diet” in an attempt to cure the damage that was caused by inferior nutrition in the first place.

    5. I was just sending the following, older (2008) article to someone…


      … and discovered the following detail in the article.

      “Five years ago she (Voss) opened her own small factory in Hollister, California. ‘We started in a 1,000 square-foot building,’ she says. ‘Now we’re in a 6,000 square-foot building. The word has definitely gotten out.’ Every week, Voss ships 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of frozen, raw, green tripe from pasture-fed cattle to dog lovers across the country.”

      When first reading this article, back in Irland then, I haven’t paid any attention to the little statistics in the text. But now I realized its importance.
      In 5 years from 1000 to 6000 square foot raw food factory. Wow!

      As said above, it is a 2008 article. I suppose since then word has gotten even more out and the trend continued towards more and more raw feeding.
      Which means, compromising the kibble market share even more and more…

      And then, in 2012 the AVMA wants to declare raw food for a health risk.

      Does it make sense?

    6. Well written Dana (and DNM). You got it! As i mentioned in my reply to Rebecca above, there seems to be LITTLE COMMON SENSE amongst the medically educated I am afraid to say. They might be “book smart” but they sure lack in the CS dept.

    7. Hope Williams

      BRAVO DNM! Great response….informed, articulate and sound thinking and writing. Unfortunately the AVMA is being led by BIG PET FOOD’s desire for greater profits. Seems so similar to the 30′s when AMA tried to discredit alternative approaches to cancer, recovery and healthier living. This resulted in setting the paths for true health back 50 years. Let’s not let this happen for our dogs and cats and us who want the best for them. And, yes, I agree with Rebecca whose “…kiss my furry behind AVMA” is a most articulate summary!

    8. It’s a shame we can’t follow a lot of the advice coming from the AVMA and it’s because they are motivated by the almighty dollar. As long as vets are getting kick backs and pay offs from trash food makers such as Science Diet, then they will never change their advice.

      I feed my dogs a mixture of raw and cooked meat, sardines, cooked and raw veggie’s and fruit, raw and cooked egg yolks and premium packaged kibble. I do animal rescue and have a lot of cats and a couple of dogs. As a pet owner who has cats who are 23 years old I pretty much think I’m doing a good job at juding what is good for my pet and don’t need some money hungry veterinarians telling me what I should be feeding my animals.

      Like I always advocate to others, if you need the right advice, check with another pet owner, not a vet, especially when it comes to nutrition. Vets should stick to what they know about medicine and keep quiet about things they know nothing.

    9. GJ

      Maybe the AVMA can also comment on how dogs were fed prior to making of kibble from scrap human foods.

    10. Nancy Hendrix

      Thanks for shedding light on this. I had heard it from Susan Thixtons website. Its very disturbing.

    11. Lynn

      I have 2 wonderful rescue goldens who are fed raw, one of them would be the perfect therapy dog, is this a don’t ask don’t tell situation? If no one asks then I won’t tell? My previous golden was a therapy dog and I would bathe her 2 days before a visit, which was once a month, and would brush and wash her face just before the visit. She was fed a very good kibble, got all her shots on time and died at 9 from cancer. I still feel responsible for her death and miss her everyday. I won’t let that happen again. If “they” want me to feed kibble then “they” will miss out on a great therapy dog. Their loss and mine.

    12. Sunny

      Also another interesting fact is one of the board members of the Delta society is from a large kibble company-Purina. And incase you are unaware they now make prescription diets as well.
      I have fed raw for over 8 1/2 years and must say I do not plan on stopping because these people are not educated on raw feeding. I feel safer feeding the way I do now then when I fed kibble. My pets also range from the age of 10-15 yrs old. All have wonderful blood work and are healthy. I also have common sense and know how to clean up after feeding raw meat.

      • Kathy

        I find it interesting that they are worried about pathogens in raw food, when the protein processing plants process tons of dogs and cats from vet facilities whomhavd had various forms of abscess, cancers, and Lord knows what else, not to mention the flea collars, regulars collars and the plastic bags aren’t removed before they are processed, That is just utterly disgusting to me. A lot of drugs used at the vets do not break down during the cooking process either. So all the therapy dog programs, vets and dogfood companies can continue on living the lie and choosing to stick their heads in the sand. I will never go back to kibble and I try to educate everyone every chance I get including my vet. It’s hard to argue with me when I have healthy dogs (gsd) that are living to be 15yrs old.

    13. My wonderful pet-assisted-therapy dog has already been banned from participating in our local therapy-dog program! I had planned on starting my other dog in the program when HABIT’s decision came down that they were going along with DELTA and excluding raw fed dogs (or even dogs that lived in a home where another dog was raw fed!). Even though none ever got sick from my raw fed dog’s visits. He visited an Alzheimer’s facility and did a reading program weekly at our local school and LOVED it and everyone loved him.
      My dog’s health is much more important than volunteering, and without a moment’s thought I pulled him from the program immediately!
      I thought it “odd” that these *dangerous* raw fed dogs could continue their volunteer visits for more than a month before the date the policy became effective… If they were such a risk, why not make the policy effective immediately? *sigh*

      • judy

        I also pulled a wonderful dog from them because they don’t agree w raw. Such a shame that great therapy dogs cant do their work because of a misguided belief on food.

    14. Cindy

      This would be no different than doctors making it illegal to feed nothing but processed baby food to our kids. People are capable enough to feed their children but not capable enough to decide which diet is best for our pets. They are under the assumption that they know best when there are many pet owners that know more than they do in this area, though that would be hard for them to admit.

    15. Michelle

      Well, we all know who is behind this lucicrious plan. Pet food manufacturers, vets, and big Pharma. They are becoming afraid of what we are learning thanks to great magazine articles like this, homeopathic vets, and first hand experience of healthy animals fed species appropriate diet. What’s next? Dog shows? assistance dogs? rescue dogs? Beware, these big companies have the sources to make or break any rules they deem unprofitable.

    16. abby

      Completely agree with Rebecca, I seem to remember not that long ago there was cases of people getting salmonella from not washing their hands after feeding some form of kibble. If i cook my husband meat guess what i wash my hands just the same as when i feed the dogs I wash my hands. I was lucky enough to have a vet in the uk that put me onto raw, wish i could find an enlightened type of vet over here that doesnt have a fit because i dont want my dogs and indoor cats to receive 5 in 1 shots every year.

    17. Rebecca

      So let me get this straight. I shouldn’t feed my dog a diet of human-grade ingredients kept to restaurant HAACP standards including raw, organic fruits and vegetables. Instead, I should feed my dog “food” made from 4D animals, not kept to HAACP standards, heat abused to a degree that requires that vitamins and minerals be added back to it through artificial means and sourced from countries that have already provided us with adulterated toxic ingredients. I should go with the bag of cereal the AVMA thinks I should feed my carnivore because it managed to keep 6 of 8 dogs alive for 28 weeks, and by that AAFCO “standard” I can feed this to my dog for its entire life. The food doesn’t even have to actually be feed tested, it can just be formulated materially the same as another food that managed not to kill or sicken 25% of the dogs in the study.

      Kiss my furry behind AVMA!

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine
        Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Don’t sugar coat it Rebecca, LOL

        • Jeanette

          Amen Rebecca!!!

      • Shera

        I do remember reading somewhere,’If according to the AVMA our carnivore friends should live they’re live eating kibble, then someone forgot to tell the coyotes, wolves and other WILD carnivores’ as they have been eating Species Appropriate foods for 100+ yrs what OTHER DAMN PROOF DO THE NEED?

      • amen also Rebecca

      • Well said Rebecca! Yes, i really had to give my head a shake when i initially read about this AVMA “policy”. They should call it a death policy. The article is absolutely correct about the toxins in kibble. Their short-sightedness just blows my mind. NO COMMON SENSE!

      • Kim Jarvis

        I couldn’t agree more Rebecca.

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