Thursday, October 23, 2008

FOI Request - Terms of Reference

Here are two documents that are part of an Freedom of Information request I filed.

It's really a travesty that publicly funded institution would have such an incestuous relatioship with a major multinational. Royal Canin is owned by candy bar giant Mars, a fact that the corporation has made great efforts to conceal from the public. They don't want candy bars associated with pet food in the public's mind.

It truly is pitiful that the government allows the universities to sell out our educational institutions and professional associations to multinational corporations in order to get funding for nutritional research and continuing education.

If all research funding monies went to a central independent or government controlled nutritional research funding body and this group included non-industry influenced academics and people with real nutritional knowledge to review research grant proposals, the process would not be tainted as it is now.

There would also be money for continuing educational programmes as well.

What a unique concept -- the government controlling the multinational's distribution of research and professional
association monies. The government acting in the public interest, instead of being at the behest of the multinational corporations. The multinationals could contribute but in a hands off manner -- their contributions could be recognized but
they would not be allowed any control over how the monies were spent or to influence research towards their own product lines.

In these documents there are also a gushing emails with a handwritten note on an April 15, 2008 letter to the RC CEO Xavier Unkovic from Joanne Shoveller, Vice President of Alumni Affairs. "We are delighted to be moving forward with this new Chair. Thank you for your support and vision."

Vision? And exactly what kind of vision would that be? The production and false marketing of massive amounts of species-inappropriate prescription diet kibble products?

Note in Appendix B how they refer to certain illnesses in cats as "naturally occurring", such as diabetes. Diabetes is not a "naturally occurring disease" in either humans or cats. See Dr. Hodgkins article: where she states, quite clearly and eloquently, that FD is the result of the highly processed kibble products currently inundating the pet food market.

Take a look at these documents. Feel free to email me if you need to see originals and I can photocopy and mail them to you.

This agreement has nothing to do with feline health or correct nutrition for obligate carnivores and everything to do with massively obscene profits for Royal Canin. Any academic associated with this should be ashamed of themselves for selling out their academic integrity and ethics if they agree to be part of this in any way.

Office of the Dean

Terms of Reference

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Endowed Chair in Canine and Feline Clinical Nutrition at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph.

1. The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Chair in Canine and Feline Clinical Nutrition was established through a gift endowment of $2,500,000 (“Endowment”) made to the University of Guelph (“UofG”) by Royal Canin Canada Company (“Royal Canin”).

2. It is agreed that the purpose of this Endowment is as follows:

To establish the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Endowed Chair in Canine and Feline Clinical Nutrition (the “Chair”). The Chair will be filled by a canine and feline clinical nutritionist, who will be hired as a regular full time tenure track faculty member at the Ontario Veterinary College (“OVC”), for the purpose of veterinary and graduate student teaching and research in canine and feline clinical nutrition.

3. The expendable income from the Endowment should be sufficient to pay the appointee’s full initial term and prospective reappointment salary and benefits. The expendable income is determined in accordance with the UofG’s policy, “General Endowment Fund Management Policy” (see Appendix 1), as may be amended from time to time. If available, additional expendable income could be used as an expense allowance for research and appointment-related travel costs.

4. From time to time, Royal Canin will provide additional support to the Chair including research grant support (students and program funding). This research and student support will be considered as part of the overall package available to the appointee.

5. The UofG, OVC, and Royal Canin will collaborate with each other for their mutual benefit and the benefit of the stakeholders. This will include, but not be limited to, discussion on the needs for nutrition education and research and ways to meet those needs.

6. An Advisory Committee will be created to support the Chair and to assure that the canine and feline clinical nutritional educational and research programs and activities align with the mission mandate of the UofG and Royal Canin. The members will be approved by both parties and will include 2 representatives from the UofG and 2 from Royal Canin. Terms of reference will be developed by this Committee for approval by the UofG and Royal Canin.

7. The appointees will be hired as regular full time tenure track faculty member by UofG and be subject to its policies and procedures. It is acknowledged that as a tenure-track faculty member, the appointee has the academic freedom to pursue interests in addition to the mission and mandate of the Chair. The Chair will not participate in any outside consultation or media activities that create a conflict of interest with the UofG or with Royal Canin.

8. Research carried out through the Chair will be consistent with Royal Canin’s Research Policy (see Appendix B). If in future, a conflict arises between UofG’s policies and procedures and Royal Canin’s Research Policy, the conflict will be referred to the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will provide advice to UofG and to Royal Canin on possible resolution of the conflict.

9. The Chair will be expected to establish a successful teaching program in canine and feline clinical nutrition for veterinary students and graduate students. The Chair might also participate in undergraduate education as time permits. The Chair will maintain a superior program of research (as evidenced by publications and external grant support), and will play a leadership role in facilitating world-class research in feline and canine clinical research.

10. The home department for the Chair will be the Department of Clinical Studies. The Chair will have an appointment in the OVC Teaching Hospital (OVCTH) in canine and feline clinical nutrition. The Chair will provide learning opportunities for veterinary students, interns and graduate students in the OVCTH and will provide nutritional consultation for clinicians from other clinical services within the OVCTH (e.g. critical care, internal medicine, oncology).

11. The professional rank of the appointee may be at the assistant, associate, or full professor level depending on the available funding from the Endowment for salary and benefits and the qualifications of prospective candidates. The first appointee, based on available funding, will be recruited as an assistant professor.

12. Faculty searches follow normal procedures for the UofG. Designates from Royal Canin will have an opportunity to meet with the candidates during their interviews and will be invited to the candidates’ interview presentations.

13. In the event that the appointee leaves the UofG, UofG will fill the position as quickly as possible.

14. If the expendable income is insufficient to meet continuing appointment and expense costs, the Dean will consult with the Advisory Committee, the Provost, the OVC Director of Advancement and Royal Canin. A decision may be made to leave the position vacant intermittently, supplement the income from other sources, and secure additional investment or some combination of these measures.

15. During the period when the Chair is not permanently occupied such as when a candiate search is in progresss, after consultation with the Department Chair, the Advisory Committee, and the Provost will use the Endowment’s income to maintain the continuity of the research and teaching programs in canine and feline nutrition.

16. The capital gifts contributed to this Endowment shall be held in perpetuity.

17. This document may be amended by mutual consent in writing by UofG and Royal Canin.

Signed by the parties hereto this 22nd day of April, 2008.

Dr. Alastair J.S. Summerlee
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Guelph

Xavier Unkovic
Chief Executive Officer
Royal Canin Canada Company

Appendix B
MediCal/Royal Canin (MCRC) Veterinary Diet Research Policy

Excellent nutrition contributes to the quality and longevity of a companion animal’s life. To maintain excellence, ongoing research is necessary in the field of veterinary nutrition. It is our mission to continue to evolve in the acquisition of knowledge in this field as it pertains to wellness and disease prevention in dogs and cats.

To this end: MCRC is governed by the following guiding principles:

1. Dogs and cats are important members of the family and they will be treated with respect and humaneness at all times.
2. There will be no involvement in studies requiring and resulting in the euthanasia of dogs or cats.
3. There will be no involvement in studies requiring creation of disease by inducing organ manipulation or damage.
4. All clinical studies will investigate diet efficacy in naturally occuring disease (for example, diabetes, osteoarthritis, urolithiasis, food allergies, obesity).
5. Studies will only be conducted to prove efficacy if existing research cannot answer the hypotheses generated from the research and development team.
6. The result of research trials must contribute to the health and well being of dogs and cats.
7. Clinical trials will be performed, if at all possible, on client-owned dogs and cats. The pets are kept in the home environment under the care of their owners. The client’s veterinary clinic of choice will be involved in the clinical trial to provide ongoing monitoring and care of the pet as required. A veterinary internist (ACVJM diplomate) will be available through MCRC for consultation on any aspect of the clinical trial.
8. The collection of blood, urine and feces and the obtaining of radiographs will be carried out in a humane fashion, meeting or exceeding the standards established by animal welfare guidelines.