If you’ve checked the labels on grocery items lately, you will know that the ingredient list is confusing and doesn’t always spell out the whole truth. The same actually goes for pet food as well!
In words like ‘meat derivatives’ and ‘meat by-products’ lie hidden secrets.
Apart from the dangerous preservatives and chemicals put in pet food to increase their shelf life, there has been news of euthanized dogs and cats also being included in the meat mix.
Rumours of this have been going around for quite some time. And at some times it tends to garner more media attention than others. Through the past decades the FDA in USA has tried to find concrete proof for the claims, while studies have managed to furnish partial evidence of the same.
Usually dog food or food for other pets like cats as well is made in its first stage at rendering plants which collect and process fat and bone trimmings, inedible meat scraps, blood, feathers, and dead animals from meat and poultry slaughterhouses and processors, farms, ranches, feedlots, animal shelters, restaurants, butchers and markets. These rendering plants thus handle different species, which are often mixed and difficult to distinguish.
Diseased animals also go into the mix therefore. In most cases it is only before the entire byproducts are put into the crusher, that one can distinguish the various animals going inside. Once there, it becomes almost impossible to make out.
In a country like India, animals which die on the street like cows and dogs are also put into crushers. There is no check on whether the animal put in the crusher carried any disease or infection. Thus there is no guarantee for safety.
But to study whether dog food is made up of dogs itself, thus imposing forced cannibalism on our pets, the FDA conducted two surveys, two years apart which studied the ingredients of dog food, one in 1998 and one in 2000.
The study found traces of pentobarbital in the food items. This chemical is used to euthanize dogs and cats in animal shelters. Thus the presence of pentobarbital does suggest that pets were used in pet food.
The problem lies in the fact that even though we consider this to be morally wrong, there is no law stating that dogs can make up their own partner’s food.
According to the American Association of Feed Control Officials, meat can come virtually from any mammal. What can we hope the condition to be then?
A Canadian company by the name of Sanimal Inc. was found to be using around 40,000 pounds of dead cats and dogs in pet food. They however discontinued the practice in 2001, according to an article.
Right now the quantity of meat containing dead pets is however not known. But the speculation continues…
Maybe it’s time to pay attention to what you’re feeding your pets. Instead of buying questionable dog-feed from the market, we suggest some healthy homemade meals.
Here are some tasty options:
- Rice+ chicken
- Chicken soup with roti or rice
- Curd with rice/roti
- Paneer with rice/roti
- Throw in some veggies like carrots, raddish along with organic eggs or soybean chunks.