Tuesday, March 18, 2008
What's really in cat food -- wet or dry?
Commercial cat food products are filled with the garbage and remnants that the leading multinational pet food companies need to dispose of. The pet food industry is an industry that "regulates" itself. How effective has that been?
Since there is no effective or comprehensive regulation or inspections concerning what goes into pet food, companies get away with using pet food as a dumping ground for contaminated and cheap ingredients.
If you haven't read Justine Patrick's article, read it here. Take an hour or so and make your way through it -- it's a thoughful, provocative piece that points out precisely where the regulatory problems are.
Justine Patrick is now a lawyer with a Pittsburgh law firm. This was part of her graduating thesis from Harvard.
Cat guardians have learned -- often the hard way -- the dangers of feeding grain and carbohydrates to obligate carnivores such as cats -- over the long term, they develop FD, CRD, IBD and cancer since there are no long term tests done on any of these commercial products, which are laden with questionable preservatives and chemicals to make them "shelf stable." Feeding tinned foods for a lifetime can cause hyperthyroidism, which is documented in this article in the Science Daily.
The globalized, multinational companies that constitute the the Pet Food Industry want to convince members of the public that they should never, ever consider just feeding basic ingredients: ie a raw natural diet. They have spent extensive money lobbying against natural diets. In fact, at the time of the tainted pet food recall in March, 2007, the PFI, along with the FDA, was targeting the small and burgeoning raw food industry.
Tins themselves carry Bisphenol A which causes cancer. Aluminum poisoning is also an issue with eating anything from a tin over the long term. Cats are extremely sensitive to chemicals in our environment -- anything we can do to prevent their exposure to toxins, additives and chemicals is critical for maintaining a healthy and happy cat.
What's even worse are the ingredients in wet cat food and many jerky products: 3D and 4D meat. What is that, you might ask?
3D = dead, diseased, dying animals -- this can include (yes) roadkill, cats and dogs or any other animal
4D = decaying
Now any cat, in their natural habitant in the wild, would refuse to eat dead, diseased, dying or decaying (rotten) meat. But after the PFI gets through cooking it and adding chemicals in the lab to trick a cat into eating it they do.
Other poor quality ingredients, routinely dumped into wet food and cooked:
--stale bread (with the plastic and styrofoam wrapping still on it)
In tests done on pet food products during the recalls the following ingredients were identified:
--lethal amounts of glycoalkaloids
--BSE (mad cow disease)
--BHA and BHT -- preservatives used in packaging, rubber, petroleum products
--ethoxyquin - a rubber stabilizer
Note that the FDA asked the pet food industry, in 1997, to reduce the use of ethoxquin, which studies have linked to sterility, deformed offspring, cataracts and lesions of the liver, bladder and kidney in animals. Of course, reducing this toxin was only VOLUNTARY on behalf of the manufacturers. It has never been tested for safety in cats.
Commercial cat food is full of adulterated chemicals, additives, toxins and contaminants.
The price may be cheap -- 50 cents a tin -- but how cheap is it to feed your cat something that in the long term, causes health problems such as cancer? The vet bills alone are staggering, as the thousands of people affected by the class action suits can attest to.
Mainstream vets do not think of commercial food as a leading cause of illnesses in cats -- but they are happy to keep running the bill for test after test, or string you along with ineffective and costly "treatment" plans. Remember, vets are trained by pet food companies and the only nutritional information they receive as vet students are that from these corporate multinationals. Obviously veterinarian curriculum needs to be revamped -- PFI companies should not be tallowed any access to or way to influence veterinarian students. Since veterinarian colleges are publicly-funded institutions -- this is where the public has a role in writing letters and raising concerns to your local vet college or university.
A lawyer for one of the class action suits here in Canada was astounded by the veterinarian bills that resulted from the pet food recall. Note that these recalls are still ongoing. This is a firm that charges $750 an hour. Now, can you imagine? A lawyer being astounded by high bills?
I know people who have run up vet bills in the range of $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $40,000. All trying to save their cat from the effects of poisoned cat food -- wet and dry.
My own bills for trying to save my beautiful 10 year old Siamese came to more than $5,000. Nothing the vets told me to do worked. None of them identified poisoned pet food as the cause of her illness and subsequent death.
Here's some info from Stats Canada on the Pet food industry:
"Canadian pet food imports substantially exceed exports and supply roughly one-half of the total Canadian pet food market. Total imports of dog and cat food (HS230910) in 2004 amounted to US$290 million. Imports from the United States alone totaled US$286 million, which accounted for 98% of the import market in 2004.
Total exports in 2004 of dog and cat food were US$137 million. The United States is Canada’s largest export market for dog and cat food, with exports to the U.S. totaling US$102 million in 2004. Japan was the next closest country for exports at US$9 million, followed by the Czech Republic at US$7 million and Germany at US$2 million."
Due to NAFTA, anything can get across the border into Canada. Virtually anything. Most of the pet food we have on the shelves here in Canada comes from the US.
Do you really want your cat eating 3D or 4D meat that is in most tinned foods? If you knew that, would you even buy it?