When looking at the label of ingredients in your bag of pet food there will be many items listed which you have no idea what they mean and some which may not sound so bad. When you get to "animal by products", "meat by products" and " animal meal" I don't think any of us would imagine what it really means.
These by products are bits and pieces left over from slaughter animals,but not limited to, that are stripped of their meat to the bone for human consumption. It is pieces and chunks of animal body parts that are deemed unqualified for human consumption. Often this meat is coming from animals that are 4D: dead, dying, deformed, diseased.
It might say beef, chicken, poultry by products, but by products are not even required to contain any actual meat. And "rendered" meat on labels can refer to any "rendered" mammal meat.
It means that they are taking what is left over from other food industries and churning out "pet food". Beaks, hooves, bones, blood, brains, intestines, lungs, chicken heads, and even feathers and practically anything else that's of no real use. When we imagine our companions food we imagine whole chickens, prime cut meats, whole grains, isn't that what was flying across the screen of those cutesy pet food commercials?
These by products often come from sick animals and are high in hormones,pesticides and dangerous even cancerous meat. Our pets food has become a garbage disposal, dumping zone for waste which these companies find fit for consumption by your pets.
When these body parts are labeled unfit for human consumption it is because regulators have found it to be contaminated, diseased, filled with mold, poor quality, and in poor handling conditions. This includes cancer riddled body parts that are dangerous to humans as well as pets but end up in pet food regardless.
These companies take scraps that are beyond being edible by any means, grind it, repackage it, spray it with grease, dye it and mold it to appeal to consumers. Slap the label of "premium" on it and advertise a completely different product then what you are truly getting.
Top pet food production companies have turned waste management into profit. They use their different production plants to gather the garbage they need and put it in pet food.
So what does it boil down to?
When animals used for human consumption are stripped of meat to the bone, what is left, the blood the bones the brains and guts and beaks and heads are ground and end up in your pets food bowl.
We shouldn't even call it "animal " by products or even meat by products because not only are the body parts mostly lacking in any meat but sometimes aren't even part of the animal. There can be plastic from packaging found in this mix, ear tags and what ever else was with the road kill which is often added to the mix.
If they put hooves, beaks and feathers in what else do they put in?
Companies put in:
- Left over restaurant grease, that is unattended and not tested for any quality control
- Hulled grains left over from other production
- Additives, preservatives and unnecessary vitamins that serve no purpose but to act as fillers
This last one may sound healthy but it is actually indigestible for cats and dogs and has been found to lead to bloat which takes the lives of many dogs every year. My 4 year old Bull Mastiff Rex Chex died of bloat and it is a horrible way to die. A death no animal deserves ever.
Corn syrup and corn gluten meal is often on the list of ingredient and several times at that. Yet this binds with water molecules and sticks to the animals intestines causing a blockage. This blockage then over time leads to colon and renal cancer.
Not only is having all this in food disgusting but it hurts our faithful companions. It leads to painful and costly medical conditions, the hormones cause them to grow at an unnatural rate causing muscle and joint problems. All the extra protein that the bag advertises is so cheap and degraded that it does more harm then good the harsh ingredients and improper handling leads to an overload on the kidneys and result in kidney disease.
How can this be on our shelves? It can because it is a multi billion dollar business with lobbyists and strong influences and are marketing geniuses. These pet food companies need only meet the bare minimum requirements set by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). And they have developed many ways to get around these regulations.
The recent pet food recalls really come as no surprise when you take all this into consideration;
In 2010 specific products by Iams and Eukanuba dog and cat food where recalled for "potential for salmonella contamination"
On March 16 2007 Menu Foods announced a nation wide recall of over 40 popular brands of pet food. these included
- Science Diet
Melamine is found in plastics, cleaning products, laminates, foam and fertilizers. The FDA confirmed its presence in wheat gluten samples taken from the contaminated lots. On its own it is not highly toxic but it was found along with another contaminate, Cyanuric acid . When combined they may lead to renal failure in pets, often resulting in death.
You are your pets best protection. It may seem overwhelming but little by little we learn ways to better distinguish the bad stuff from the good. Don't fall for catch phrases and big promises. Read, Read and Read. Read the labels read reviews read blogs like this and understand everyone is trying to sell you something so be cautious on where you trust your pets life .
This is just the tip of the iceberg stay tuned as I continue my quest for quality dog food. And this information may seem overwhelming or even too horrific to be true. And I encourage all of you to do the research for your selves. To take a good hard look at the nutrition label on your pets food and compare to that of others on the shelves. It may seem virtually impossible to find adequate food but there are many companies that are changing the way they prepare your pets food. There are more natural alternatives and plenty more information out there. Happy hunting.