Dog World - 24 December 2004
AN EARLY Day Motion (EDM) has been presented to the House of Commons concerning the endorsement by vets of processed pet food.
It voices the concerns of campaigning group UK Raw Meaty Bones (UKRMB) which alleges that feeding processed food can cause periodontal disease and associated diseases of various organs.
David Taylor’s EDM reads:
“This House deeply regrets the professional endorsement of processed food for domestic dogs, cats and ferrets by some members of the veterinary profession; is concerned at the level of incidence of malodorous gum disease and associated diseases of the kidneys, liver and other organs among the domestic pet population; recognises that their health and welfare is best served by foods, such as raw meaty bones, which reflect the full range of nutritional need; applauds and recommends the work of veterinary surgeon Tom Lonsdale and others in this field; also recognises that vets in the UK are trusted and independent advisors on the health of our pets and, as such, is concerned by the nature of the relationship between some vets and producers of foods which cause illnesses in pets; and calls upon the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to make a definitive statement on the active endorsement and promotion of processed pet foods by vets.”
UKRMB secretary Debbie Wickham said her group had many concerns over the feeding of artificial, processed foods to dogs and cats and the way such food is promoted and recommended by the majority of the veterinary profession.
“The connection between processed foods and periodontal disease has already been made with regard to human health,” she said. “We are trying to get the authorities to accept the same connection with regard to dogs and cats.
“We have been attempting to get this matter investigated and to date have written to more than 400 MPs, both before and after the EDM. The next stage is for MPs to sign the EDM; the more that sign the better the chance of a debate on this issue. Our aim is for a full public enquiry. We have also written to the RCVS, the British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.
“This issue is not new; the vet Dr Tom Lonsdale published a book in 2001, called Raw Meaty Bones. He has been campaigning for 15 years on this subject. However, the problem is that the multi-billion pound pet food companies are very powerful, and their influences spread far and wide.”
The RCVS said it was aware of different views within the veterinary profession concerning the feeding of processed pet foods to companion animals.
“However, as the regulatory body for the veterinary profession, the RCVS does not exist to represent the views of vets and is not in a position to provide authoritative scientific comment on the nutritional benefits of pet foods.
“Vets are not expected to endorse products without due justification or if they might compromise the clinical care of animals. The RCVS does, however, expect vets to make clinical decisions according to their professional judgment and based on the best available evidence at the time.
“We understand that there is currently an abundance of scientific evidence available to support the use of processed pet foods for everyday feeding of companion animals, together with medicated or ‘science’ diets to provide advanced nutrition for animals that may be unwell, nutritionally deficient or at a certain stage in life.
“Mr Lonsdale has stood in the RCVS council elections for the past eight years in order to promote his concerns. Each time he has secured the least number of votes, which would imply there is little support for his views within the veterinary profession, in which there are currently over 21,000 registered RCVS members.
“We have discussed Mr Lonsdale’s concerns with him on a number of occasions and have urged him to submit scientific evidence to support his claims and to publish this material in peer-reviewed (veterinary) scientific journals. We understand that Mr Lonsdale has not yet accomplished this but we would encourage him to do so.”
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It has been confirmed by the RCVS that their comments published in the above article were "based on scientific papers and evidence documented by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association".
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