Saturday, April 26, 2008

Makena's bloodwork

Makena has been on a raw fed diet since I got her, just after being weaned by her mother at 10 weeks old. She eats chicken, turkey, duck, cornish hen and rabbit with the ground bone and minimal supplementation. For treats she gets chunks of goat with the bone, chicken wings, chicken hearts and lamb stew bits with bone. She's a true gourmet kitty!

She has never eaten commercial cat food since I have had her and never will. Since I now know that any commercial cat food is like feeding a continuous diet of junk food, why would I ever feed my cat anything that would result in illness later on in life? And with all the reports of rotten meat, toxins, mouldy grains, carcinogens and other garbage being put into pet food, how can anyone who has actually read through these reports and stories justify continued long term feeding of commercial food?

Makena’s vet told me, “well I won’t be seeing you much, as long as you keep her on raw diet.” Then proceeded to tell me I was "totally compliant" with correct nutrition for an obligate carnivore.

It’s great to have a vet that finally understands correct nutrition for the cats and doesn’t sell poisonous dry vet kibble in his clinic.

How is it that these illustrious institutions like the University of Guelph Veterinary Program can’t retrain their veterinarians out of nutritional ignorance and teach them about correct nutrition for obligate carnivores? At the very least, they should not be allowing pet food companies to give seminars and free product to veterinarian students! This is the real scandal behind the pet food recall -- the miseducation of current and future generations of veterinarian professionals. There is definitely a problem in academia.

Are veterinarian universities so desperate for cash that they have to sell their integrity to the likes of Mars bar multinational Royal Canin? If people knew that a candy bar company was making their pet food, how would that change how they thought about the alleged "nutritional" value of these products?

How the University of Guelph and other universities across North American have handed over access to veterinarian students to the pet food companies, providing their only source of nutritional information, clearly demonstrates the very real problems of private-public partnerships. The end result is to produce generations of vets that have no training in nutrition. What's even more unsettling is that there is no documentation being done on the types of inter-generational health problems these products are causing -- cat guardians are left to discover that on their own.

In effect, the University of Guelph, by accepting a donation from Royal Canin, has allowed the silence of the academic community to be bought. The academic community should be the ones at the forefront of criticizing the poor quality, species-inappropriate ingredients in commercial pet food formulations, rather than doing research for the PFI and upholding the unproven claims of these products. Did we hear a single vet at the University of Guelph speak out during the recalls? Not one came forward.

Here are Makena's lab results at age 6 months, just prior to getting spayed.
Makena's CBC

ALT = 56. U/L (reference range 12-130)
UREA= 9.4 mmol/L (reference range 5.7-12.9)
TP = 71. g/L (reference range 57-89)
Na - 162 mmol/L (reference range 150-165)
K = 5.2 mmol/L (reference range 3.5-5.8)
Cl=125. mmol/L (reference range 112-129)

WBC = 5.82 x 10^9/L (reference range 5.50-19.50)
LYM = 2.58 x 10^9/L (reference range 0.40-6.80)
MONO=0.42 x 10^9/L (reference range 0.15-1.70)
NEU= 2.43 x 10^9/L (reference range 2.50-12.50)
EOS=0.38 x 10^9/L (reference range 0.10-0.79)
BASO = 0.00 x 10^9/L (reference range 0.00-0.10)
%LYM = 44.3%
%MONO = 7.2%
HCT=38.6% (reference range 30.0-45.0)
RBC=9.6 x 10^9/L (reference range 5.0-10.0)
HRB = 14.5 g/dL (reference range 9,0-15.1)
RETIC=27.5 K/uL
MCV = 40.1 fL (reference range 41.0-58.0)
RDW = 19.9% (reference range 17.3-22.0)
MCHC=37.5 g/dL (reference range 29.0-37.5)
MCH=15.04 (reference range 12.00-20.00)
PLT = 479.K/uL (reference range 175-600)

University of Guelph accepts funds from Royal Canin

And the poison kibble award goes to -- the University of Guelph!

I'm sure that the folks at Royal Canin just want everyone to forget about the pet food recalls or all the class action suits against them. They seem to have convinced one group that you thought would be educated enough to know better: The University of Guelph Veterinarian College.

Royal Canin Canada Commits $3 Million for OVC
Some excerpts:
"Guelph - The University of Guelph today received a $3-million commitment from Royal Canin Canada Company to establish the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Endowed Chair in Canine and Feline Clinical Nutrition and support independent research and graduate scholarships at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

"This generous gift is a wonderful example of the importance of private sector-university partnerships," said U of G president Alastair Summerlee. "Royal Canin Canada's investment in an endowed chair allows us to develop the area of feline and canine nutrition."

Unbelievable. A publicly-funded institution accepts money from a company that is being sued in a national class action lawsuit here in Canada (see and also numerous class action lawsuits in the United States for allegedly excessive vitamin D toxicity, melamine and cyanuric acid in pet food, misleading advertising and "unjust enrichment." Never mind that the words "nutrition" and "Royal Canin" represent an oxymoron in the same sentence.

If you think that this is as outrageous as I do, send letters to the Dean and the President of the University of Guelph.

Here are their emails:

Dr. Elizabeth Stone -
University of Guelph President
Alastair Summerlee -

Take a moment to also send an email letter to the new Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, who is responsible for doling out funding for this public institution.

MPP John Milroy -

There needs to be a continued pressure on these individuals with respect to these issues. The dean as much acknowledged that there are "questions" now being raised about pet food, but accepting money from Royal Canin is hardly the solution.

There is no effective regulation of the pet food industry--they regulate themselves --- and even that is a completely voluntary endeavour. But this incestuous link between the industry and the education of the next generation of veterinarians is something that needs to be exposed and changed.

What kind of Dr. Jekylls of veterinary medicine will this research chair produce? It's bad enough that most veterinarians in Canada are pushing these carbohydrate-laden, expensive, poor quality kibbles that are producing so many illnesses in cats and dogs, now they want to justify it by hiring yet another PFI academic iin order to buy the silence of the university? It's an absolute scandal.

Let's not be deluded into thinking that there is some kind of "academic freedom" in place when a pet food company gives money to the University of Guelph for a research chair position named after the corporation.

The bottom line is that the research chair is bankrolled by a company with a strongly vested interest in ensuring nothing bad is ever said or concluded about its product lines.

Does anyone really think that any academic appointed as Royal Canin chair would ever criticize these species-inappropriate product formulations for pets?

What would Royal Canin do in the (unlikely) event that a Royal Canin research chair began to speak out about the truth of its product lines? Would Royal Canin say, "oh well, if our products are harmful, we can accept that being taught at the university?"

How can a university, a publicly-funded institution, be accepting funds for an academic research department from a pet food company that is being sued for allegedly excessive toxic and poisonous ingredients in its product line?

What kind of "research" will this chair be doing anyway? How about research into how commercial pet food is causing illnesses and intergenerational health problems?

How much research is really needed to understand that cats are obligate carnivores and should not be eating highly processed, "ergonomic" kibble (yes that's a Royal Canin term).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pets for the Environment

The non-profit NGO Environmental Working Group has taken up the issue of pet food safety.

No one likes eating flame retardants and mercury. They currently have a campaign on to:

--test 10 brands of canned wet cat and dog food for chemicals like mercury, lead, and bisphenol A
--test 10 brands of dry dog and cat food for chemicals like flame retardants and nonstick chemicals
--protect pets and humans by pressuring Congress for better standards

The full report is here:

Did you know that as our cats and dogs are tested for contaminants, these tests are revealing high levels of toxic industrial chemicals?

"Cats: notably high levels of fire
retardants, high levels of plasticizers,
and grease-proofing chemicals
46 chemicals detected - 96% at higher levels
in cats than people"

See the site for the full study.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Centre for Science and the Public Interest White Paper

The Centre for Science and the Public Interest in Washington, DC, has put out a sensible and realistic set of recommendations needed to reform the FDA.

"Building a Modern Food Safety System" discusses five points that need to be addressed for creating an effective food safety system for both human and pet food. It's obvious that the FDA is broken and needs major reforms. According to the authors, this would include:

-- Recalls -- The FDA currently doesn't have the power to issue product recalls (these rights have been left exclusively in the hands of the multinational corporations that make products);
-- Traceback -- The FDA has been unable to find the source of the tainted glutens in the pet food recall -- authority needs to be put into place to allow them to be able to quickly trace the source of contaminants
-- Detention -- If a product doesn't comply with regulations, then it should not enter into the food supply system (sounds obvious but there is no regulation governing this)
--Civil and Criminal Penalties -- Food companies must be subject to swift civil and criminal penalties if they violate food safety laws. Citizens who have suffered harm as a result of any violations should have the power to launch civil actions
--Whistleblower protection -- Federal employees should be able to report violations without the threat of loss of employment or any penalties

Friday, April 11, 2008

GMOs in pet food

Greenpeace Canada has put out a really valuable GMO Guide, available on this link.

So guess which pet food companies are on the list for including genetically modified organisms in pet food?
The list includes:

Colgate Palmolive
Hills Prescription Diet Pet Food
Hills Prescription Diet Pet Food
Science Diet Pet Food

Effem Inc.

Alpo Chomps (dog)
Alpo Snaps (dog)
Dental Diet (cat)
Fancy Feast (cat)
Friskies (cat)
Friskies Alpo (dog)
Friskies Alpo Chew-Eez (dog)
Friskies Alpo for Puppies
Friskies Senior (cat)

Take a look through the list to make sure that you aren't purchasing any other products for your household with GMOs.

If you want to learn more about GMOs, see this film:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Citizens continue with pet food product testing

Even though there have been 160+ class action lawsuits in the United States and more than a dozen in Canada launched since the pet food recalls began last March, 2007, tainted glutens from China are still entering the food supply in the USA in both pet and human food.

This group has started on testing products and posting the results online. As you can see, as of January, 2008, there were still PFI products being tested positive for melamine and cyanuric acid. These glutens were destined for both human AND pet food products. Do you really want to be eating melamine?

How will the tentative settlement with Menu Foods address this issue?

How will the FDA change its regulatory policies to ensure the safety of the food supply for both pets and humans?

If you haven't already submitted your comments to the FDA, I would urge you to do so. This is part of a process that is supposed to result in new regulations within the next two years. Hopefully between the class action lawsuits and regulatory changes we will see unsafe products and ingredients stopped before entering the food chain.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

FDA wants public comments about pet food

After endless months and delayed launch dates, the form is finally ready to receive public comments on the FDA website.

I suggest that you print out these step by step instructions; or open up a separate page of your browser so that you don't get completely lost trying to find the comment form. It took me several hours of trying to find it, over several days.

It's important that we all let the FDA know what we think needs to happen on the regulatory front, since the Pet Food Institute is lobbying hard to keep its self-regulatory powers intact. As we all can see so evidently, self-regulation is NOT working.

Meeting Being Planned to Obtain Public Input for Ensuring the Safety of Pet Food
Docket Number 2007N-0487


In the Comments box type in "pet food"

This page will come up:

Type in the docket number: 2007N-0487

Another page will come up

Click on: "Send a Comment or Submission".

You can type your comments in here. You might want to get them ready in advance and either just send as an attachment, or copy and paste the info.

You will also want to sign up for the "Notification" part so you can keep updated on the submissions of the Pet Food Institute and other corporate multinationals who have taken the position that it's fine to continue to let the industry regulate itself.

Alternatively, you can email your comments to:

Walter Osbourne -- he's the head veterinarian at the FDA in charge of collecting these comments

UPDATE April 8, 2008: Mr. Osbourne has informed me that due to instructions on posting being distributed online and by email, if members of the public want their comments posted they have to notifiy "Dockets" of this.

"My contact at Dockets has explained to me that individual comments from
consumers are not routinely posted for Internet viewing because the
agency has found itself having to remove them once commenters learned
that 'the whole world' can view them via the Internet. So, when
consumers specifically request that their comments be posted, Dockets
will honor that request. This morning, I have asked that your original
comment be posted, per your request. I suspect it should be viewable by
the end of the day."

A public forum for comments? Wasn't that the purpose of this to begin with? And shouldn't members of the public be able to see all these submissions from both individuals and the industry with respect to this important issue?

Friday, April 4, 2008

FDA allows contaminated glutens to enter into USA

See this report:

Are 160+ class action lawsuits not enough? The Pet Food Industry must think that class action lawsuits are cheaper to settle than actually changing the suppliers and ingredient formulations in their pet food; and the FDA is seemingly turning a blind eye.

Wheat Gluten
Rice Gluten
Rice Protein
Rice Protein Concentrate
Corn Gluten
Corn Gluten Meal
Corn By-Products
Soy Protein
Soy Gluten
Soy Meal
Mung Bean Protein

Poisonous or Deleterious Substance
Unfit For Food
Unsafe Food Additive

"Despite its investigation into the matter, FDA has
been unable to determine who, in fact, the actual
manufacturer(s) are."

"As of April 26, 2007, FDA had collected approximately 750
samples of wheat gluten and products made with wheat gluten
and, of those tested thus far, 330 were positive for
melamine and/or melamine related compounds. FDA had also
collected approximately 85 samples of rice protein
concentrate and products made with rice protein concentrate
and, of those tested thus far, 27 were positive for melamine
and/or melamine related compounds. FDA's investigation has
traced all of the positive samples as having been imported
from China."

"The samples of vegetable proteins that have tested
positive for the presence of melamine and melamine
analogs have, thus far, been traced to two Chinese
firms, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development
Co. Ltd. and Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co.
Ltd. Records relating to the importation of these
products indicate that these two firms had
manufactured the ingredients in question. There is
strong evidence, however, that these firms are not the
actual manufacturers. Moreover, despite many weeks of
investigation, it is still unknown who the actual
manufacturer or manufacturers of the contaminated
products imported from China are."

"All of the contaminated wheat gluten has thus far been
traced to Xuzhou Anying. According to the General
Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and
Quarantine (AQSIQ) of the Chinese government, Xuzhou
Anying purchased its wheat gluten from 25 different
manufacturers and Xuzhou Anying may just be a
supplier. Press statements by Xuzhou Anying state
that it did not manufacture the wheat gluten it had
shipped to United States that has been associated with
the outbreak, but that it received that wheat gluten
from other sources not named in the press statements."

One point that hasn't been made in the mainstream media is that although these glutens are imported from China, some of these companies are reputed to be American-owned operations who have set up operations in China. From this report, it's even unclear who are the real manufacturers of the wheat gluten. Where was the wheat or corn grown? In China? or the US? Was it GMO wheat and corn, as has been suggested by some veterinarians critical of the PFI?

Now, do you think that would stop Fox News from blathering on (as they did last year during the recalls) about "communist wheat gluten" if they simultaneously reported that these companies were owned by Americans?

China's contaminated products are an ongoing problem to be sure. But if US companies are going to continue to do business with them by setting up companies in China and importing these contaminated products, the risk to our health, and our pet's health continues unabated.

I'd like to see the list of companies who were waiting to receive these shipments. And how many of them are American-owned.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

How will the US class action settlement with Menu Foods affect the industry?

Press releases and news reports abounded yesterday with the April Fool's Day announcement that Menu Foods had reached a tentative agreement to settle the 116 class action suits in the United States.

According to a press release from the Menu Foods Income Fund:

"The definitive terms of settlement, together with a motion for preliminary approval thereof, are scheduled to be filed with the U.S. District Court on May 1, 2008, with the hearing scheduled to occur at 11:00 a.m. on May 14, 2008. The scheduling for Canadian court approval has not yet been determined, but is expected to occur in a similar time frame.

The settlement amount will be funded by the defendants, including Menu Foods and its product liability insurer. Menu Foods' estimate for recall costs remains unchanged at Cdn.$55 million."

Let's see what further details emerge over the next few weeks, if the negotiated settlement is a joke or if there is any real justice for the thousands of pet owners who were deceived by claims of "healthy and balanced" pet food products. You can see what my kitty Makena thinks of Menu Foods (her pic is above).

Will it result in a change of pet food formulations? Set the stage for changes to FDA regulatory changes involving the listing and inspections of ingredients at pet food company plants? Will it stop the formulating of carbohydrate-laden, species-inappropriate "formulations" that are being pushed by veterinarians so aggressively that have caused so many illnesses in our cats? Or will it merely mean that Menu Foods will be getting their glutens from another supplier?

If you haven't read the third amended legal brief by the Florida law firm that launched the US national class action on the basis of misleading advertising, you can read it here.

Really, as Don Hamilton, DVM and author of "Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs -- Small Doses for Small Animals" says, raw diet is really the "only solution" for feeding safe and healthy food for your beloved pet.

The industry has failed us. Just because they are being forced to pay for the pain, suffering, illnesses and deaths caused to thousands of pets doesn't mean that everything is fine on the pet food front.

If you haven't switched to a good veterinarian that is trained in homeopathy, now is the time to do so. At least you won't have to argue with your vet about feeding a raw meat diet -- homeopaths understand the importance of diet in pet health and longevity, unlike many mainstream vets who unquestioningly believe the biased and untruthful pet food industry propaganda training they received in vet school.