Saturday, April 26, 2008

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).

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