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Wolves eat the stomach contents of their prey:
This claim is repeated over and over as evidence that wolves and therefore dogs are omnivores. However, this assumption is just that--an assumption. It is not supported by the evidence available to us, and is therefore false!
Wolves do NOT eat the stomach contents of their prey. Only if the prey is small enough (like the size of a rabbit) will they eat the stomach contents, which just happen to get consumed along with the entire animal. Otherwise, wolves will shake out the stomach contents of their large herbivorous prey before sometimes eating the stomach wall. The following quotations are taken from L. David Mech's 2003 book Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation. Mech (and the others who contributed to this book) is considered the world's leading wolf biologist, and this book is a compilation of 350 collective years of research, experiments, and careful field observations. These quotes are taken from chapter 4, The Wolf as a Carnivore.
"Wolves usually tear into the body cavity of large prey and...consume the larger internal organs, such as lungs, heart, and liver. The large rumen [, which is one of the main stomach chambers in large ruminant herbivores,]...is usually punctured during removal and its contents spilled. The vegetation in the intestinal tract is of no interest to the wolves, but the stomach lining and intestinal wall are consumed, and their contents further strewn about the kill site." (pg.123, emphasis added)
"To grow and maintain their own bodies, wolves need to ingest all the major parts of their herbivorous prey, except the plants in the digestive system." (pg.124, emphasis added).
This next quote can be found on the Hunting and Meals page at Kerwood Wildlife Education Center.
"The wolf's diet consists mostly of muscle meat and fatty tissue from various animals. Heart, lung, liver, and other internal organs are eaten. Bones are crushed to get at the marrow, and bone fragments are eaten as well. Even hair and skin are sometimes consumed. The only part consistently ignored is the stomach and its contents. Although some vegetable matter is taken separately, particularly berries, Canis lupus doesn't seem to digest them very well."
From the mouths of the wolf experts themselves, who have observed countless numbers of kills: wolves do NOT eat the stomach contents of their large prey, and are carnivorous animals. Additionally, Neville Buck from the Howletts and Port Lympne Zoological Parks in Kent, England, notes that virtually no small carnivore (which includes varieties of cats, wolves, wild dogs) eat the intestinal contents of their large prey. The contents are spilled in the enclosures and are often rolled in by the animals, but very little is eaten (if any is eaten at all). His observations can be found in Appendix B of Raw Meaty Bones.
Dogs aren't wolves, and dogs have been changed too much to eat a raw diet:
This is MOSTLY false. The only truth found in this statement is that humans have changed dogs. BUT, we have only changed their external appearance and temperament, NOT their internal anatomy and physiology. The claim that dogs cannot handle a raw diet because they are so domesticated is only true in that we have been feeding them commercial diets for so long that a dog's system is not running up to par. The result of feeding dogs a highly processed, grain-based food is a suppressed immune system and the underproduction of the enzymes necessary to thoroughly digest raw meaty bones (Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones). This does NOT mean, however, that the dog does not "have" those enzymes. Those enzymes are present, and once the dog is taken off the grain-based, plant matter-filled food those enzymes quickly return to the proper working level that allows for optimal digestion of raw meaty bones.
Dogs are so much like wolves physiologically that they are frequently used in wolf studies as a physiological model for wolf body processes (Mech, L.D. 2003. Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation). Additionally, dogs and wolves share 99.8% of their mitochondrial DNA (Wayne, R.K. Molecular Evolution of the Dog Family). This next quote is from Robert K. Wayne, Ph.D., and his discussion on canine genetics (taken from http://www.fiu.edu/~milesk/Genetics.html).
"The domestic dog is an extremely close relative of the gray wolf, differing from it by at most 0.2% of mDNA sequence..."
Dogs and wolves can freely interbreed and produce fertile offspring—even little dogs like Westies and Chihuahuas are capable of this! This is a dramatic indication that dogs and wolves are very closely related and are compatible in terms of genetics (incompatible animals do not produce viable, fertile offspring, such as donkeys and horses. Their offspring—the mule—is a sterile animal.). The genes for different coat colors, lengths, conformations, and structural differences are present in the wolf population to a certain degree (otherwise wolves would not have been able to give rise to the different dogs we have today. In order for a phenotypic change to occur, there has to be a genetic basis off which to work. If the genes are not there, then the phenotypic change is not going to "magically" occur), but are selected against by nature because they are not advantageous to wolf survival. Humans are the ones that manipulated the breedings to "create" smaller dogs and dogs of varying colors, shapes, and sizes.
Additionally, dogs that are left to their own devices in the wild will form packs and hunt other animals, exhibiting a similar range of behaviors like those seen in wolves. Phenotypic differences like size, ears, etc. will often return to a more "wolf-like" state as the animals outcross and breed freely (for example, Chihuahuas will increase in size if left to breed without specific human selection for size); breed characteristics have been specifically selected according to human whim, and in order to retain those characteristics like dogs must be continually bred to like dogs until the genes for those characteristics are sufficiently 'fixed' within that population of dogs (which is how we came upon the different dog breeds today). One can rightfully question what dogs would end up looking like if they just bred for generations without human interference. Would they gradually look more and more like their ancestral predecessors?
Lastly, dogs have recently been reclassified as Canis lupus familiaris by the Smithsonian Institute (Wayne, R.K. "What is a Wolfdog?" http://www.fiu.edu/~milesk/Genetics.htm), placing it in the same species as the gray wolf, Canis lupus. The dog is, by all scientific standards and by evolutionary history, a domesticated wolf (Feldhamer, G.A. 1999. Mammology: Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. McGraw-Hill. pg 472.). Those who insist dogs did not descend from wolves must disprove the litany of scientific evidence that concludes wolves are the ancestors of dogs. And, as we have already established, the wolf is a carnivore. Since a dog's internal physiology does not differ from a wolf, dogs have the same physiological and nutritional needs as those carnivorous predators, which, remember, "need to ingest all the major parts of their herbivorous prey, except the plants in the digestive system" to "grow and maintain their own bodies" (Mech, L.D. 2003. Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation.). The next myth will discuss a dog's "changed needs" to cooked food more fully.
What about the argument that dogs may have weaker digestive enzymes than wolves? Some argue that dogs may not be as efficient as wolves in digesting raw meat and bones. This argument has been recognized by wolf researchers (Mech, L.D. 2003. Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation.) but is generally not considered in their dog model studies. Why? From mouth to anus, dog and wolf physiology and basic anatomy are almost precisely the same. What is the significance of this? This means dogs should still be fed a carnivorous diet to meet their needs. What does it matter if they don't have the same digestive capabilities as a wolf? How does that justify feeding them an even harder-to-digest meal of commercial pet food or cooked food? How does that justify feeding them any differently from a prey model diet that has been proven by nature to be completely sufficient?
Let us forget the wolf-dog relations for a moment. Let us just look at the dog itself and listen to what its body can tell us about its diet. The dog has the anatomy and physiology of a predatory carnivore, of a hunter designed to subsist on other animals. It has the skull and jaw design of a carnivore: a deep and C-shaped mandibular fossa that prevents lateral movement of the jaw (lateral movement is necessary for eating plant matter). The jaw muscles are designed for crushing grips and powerful bites, with a jaw that hinges open widely to help gulp chunks of meat and bone. The teeth of the dog are pointed and specialized for ripping, tearing, shearing, and crushing meat and bone. Their saliva lacks amylase, the enzyme responsible for beginning carbohydrate breakdown; instead, they have lysozyme in their saliva, an enzyme that destroys pathogenic bacteria. They have highly elastic stomachs designed to stretch to capacity with ingested meat and bone, complete with incredibly powerful and acidic stomach acid (pH of 1). Their intestines are short and smooth, designed to push meat through quickly so that it does not sit and putrefy in the gut. Their external anatomy also shows development as a hunter. They have eyes situated in the front of their skulls rather than to the side like an herbivore. The body (prior to man-made manipulation of things like size and angulation) is built for chasing down prey, and its senses are acutely developed to help locate prey. By all accounts, this is an animal designed to eat other animals.
Dogs still are carnivores. They still need meat, bones, and organs. They still cannot utilize vegetables as efficiently as meat. Their nutritional needs have not changed much over their years of domestication. Do they need supplemental enzymes, then? The small amount of stool coming out the other end of a raw fed dog clearly indicates that there is no need for extra enzymes (medical conditions requiring extra enzymes not included here). The best, most highly digestible diet for our domesticated carnivores is a prey model diet based on a variety of raw meaty bones and whole carcasses.
Dogs have been domesticated for so long that they have adapted to cooked diets:
This is false! Yes, dogs were domesticated from wolves thousands of years ago, and then selectively bred by humans for desired sizes, shapes, and characteristics. However, they have NOT adapted to a cooked food diet, as evidenced by the millions of pets sitting in the waiting rooms of veterinary clinics with periodontal disease, skin diseases, cancers, organ diseases, diabetes, obesity—diseases that have strong connections to cooked and processed foods. No, a cooked diet has not been kind to our animals.
Kibbled foods (which are cooked and highly processed) have only been around for the last 100 years. Evolutionary adaptations require much more time than this. The evolutionary changes—from gross anatomy down to the molecular level—that would be required for the development of such different digestive capabilities would take MUCH longer than the time that wolves have been living with humans.
So what were pets eating before the advent of cooked, processed, kibbled pet diets? They received hardly any cooked food, as food was a precious commodity that very few people would waste on something like a dog (remember, dogs have not always enjoyed the same social status they enjoy now). Instead, they received the human "waste food"—things people would not use or eat, which may have included a small portion of table scraps. By and large, however, the dogs foraged and scavenged on their own, or hunted small prey animals to supplement what little food they received at home.
And before this? Wolf-dogs hunted with their masters and hung around the camps, knowing they would receive whatever raw meat, bones, and offal were left over (Feldhamer, G.A. 1999. Mammology: Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. McGraw-Hill. pg 472.). Thousands of years ago, people did not cook for their pets. Why should they? The animals were fully capable of obtaining their own food and moreover were a good "disposal" for unused parts of animals. The dogs ate what they were designed to eat, and until the 1950s (some argue as late as the 1980s and 1990s), dogs were recognized as the carnivores they are.
For more about why home-made, cooked food diets are not a completely viable alternative to raw, please read the Cooked Food myth
Wolves don't live as long in the wild because of what they eat, so why feed it to dogs?:
The assumption of this claim is that the diet of wolves shortens their lifespan and that we therefore should not feed this diet to dogs. However, this is another example of faulty reasoning and false logic. Yes, wolves do not live as long in the wild as their domestic counterparts, but this is NOT because of the food they eat. Why would nature design an animal to be sustained on a diet that inevitably kills it? How could eating what it was designed and has evolved to eat decrease a wolf's lifespan? Its diet is what keeps a wolf alive! If it did not eat, how would it live? These questions aside, we must look at how absurd it is to link wolf longevity solely to diet.
Living in the wild is a tough job. Wild wolves face the brunt of nature and must deal with the bitter elements every single day—heat, cold, rain, storms, blizzards, ice storms, etc. They also must deal with the high energetic costs associated with bringing down huge herbivores like elk, deer, and moose. They also encounter intraspecific competition for food among other wolves in addition to interspecific competition with bears, cougars, and humans. They face predation, habitat loss, and prey loss by humans as well as a decreasing environmental quality in habitat and food. They also must deal with parasites (every wild animal has them and usually coexists quite peacefully with them), with foreign toxic pollutants, with wolf-wolf altercations, with wolf-prey altercations, with wolf-other carnivore or scavenger altercations, and with increasing encroachment and habitat destruction by humans. They face a sporadic prey supply and starvation routinely and may go several weeks without food. In spite of all this they can still thrive well enough to expend precious energy in reproductive forays, producing litters of healthy pups and creating an increased demand for food. These are the reasons a wolf's lifespan in the wild is shorter, NOT because of its diet. It is precisely their diet and genetic hardiness that keeps them alive, even in the face of disease. It is not that their food is somehow lacking and incapable of sustaining them, but that they cannot always get enough of that food to meet all their metabolic requirements. It is that very food that fills, heals, and sustains them. Hopefully you can now see how ludicrous it is to assume diet is the reason for a decreased lifespan in the wild.
When we look at our domesticated wolf companions—our dogs—this lifespan issue becomes a moot point. Our dogs do not live in the wild and therefore do not face most of the energetically costly factors wolves face. Our dogs live comfortably in our homes where they should always receive enough food and care, and where the raw food they need can be obtained from parasite-free sources. Just look at the example set by Jerry, the 27-year-old raw-fed Australian cattle dog-bull terrier mix of the Australian Outback (Outback Mongrel Could Be Oldest Dog. USA Today. 7-13-2004.). To see the full text story, please click here (if this link does not work, please tell me; it may mean the story has moved elsewhere).
Bones are dangerous and have no nutritional value:
Cooked bones are quite dangerous. Cooking changes the structure of the bone, making it indigestible and easily splinterable. Raw bones rarely splinter and are fully digestible, even the collagen proteins that some people claim are "indigestible." It is mostly the byproducts of the digested bone that form the bulk of a raw-fed animal's feces. Dogs and cats do not need the fiber from grains and vegetables, and feeding such foods only results in the big, soft, malodorous stools everyone complains about.
Let me repeat this for good measure: raw bones are completely digestible and are not dangerous for your animal. They are no more dangerous than kibble, and the only reasons they are made out to be dangerous are a) people misunderstand that raw bones are fully digestible while cooked are not, b) people want to scare you into thinking you are going to kill your dog if you give them bones, and c) bone-induced problems are blown way out of proportion in an effort to maintain the status quo of feeding kibble. What these people forget to tell you about are the 60,000 dogs suffering from bloat each year—of which nearly 20,000 die (Burrows, C.F. and L.A. Ignaszewski. 1990. Canine gastric dilatation-volvulus. Journal of Small Animal Practice. 35:295-298. In Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones. pg 117)—or the number of dogs dying from choking on kibble—which is a more common occurrence than one hears of! They also forget to mention the numbers of dogs that choked on or swallowed tennis balls, rocks, sticks, and a variety of other objects. These incidences FAR outweigh the numbers of dogs that have problems with raw bones. Just take a survey of veterinarians in your area and see what the most common blockage or choking culprits are in their specific practices. Do not forget to ask how many dogs they have treated (successfully and unsuccessfully) for bloat.
Yes, problems can occur with raw bones, just as problems can occur with feeding the "safer" kibble (bloat, choking, telescoping bowel, aspirated kibble leading to pneumonia, etc.). These problems typically occur in dogs that gulp their food or are fed small things like chicken wings and necks (the prime suspects of choking incidences on raw). Other culprits are the large weight-bearing bones of herbivores, things like knuckle bones, femurs, etc. These, ironically, are the kinds of bones pet food manufacturers and some vets recommend dogs receive regularly to help keep teeth clean! These bones chip or break teeth and can have pieces of bone flake off.
If you are concerned about choking or about bones getting stuck or about broken teeth, here are some things you can do:
Feed appropriately sized pieces. Do not be feeding a dog the size of a Rottweiler a little chicken neck or wing! Feed that dog a whole chicken. Bigger pieces force the dog to slow down and chew. Also, stay away from cut bones; this includes things like cut up neck bones (where they are cut into individual vertebrae), cut ox-tail bones, and cut knuckle bones. The smaller size encourages inappropriate gulping, not to mention the rather sharp edges left over from the saw blade! Feed large MEATY bones that are in as whole condition as possible.
Feed raw meaty bones frozen or partially frozen. The dog will have to work at it much harder and will be forced to slow down.
Do not feed the big weight-bearing bones of large herbivores. These are well-known for chipping and cracking teeth! These include the ever popular "recreational bones" like cow femurs and soup bones. They are incredibly dense and hard, and can result in slab fractures and cracked carnassial teeth. Avoid them if you can and stick to MEATY bones that are edible.
Feed MEATY bones that are surrounded by and wrapped up in plenty of meat. Do not feed bare bones or bones that have hardly any meat on them. Too much bone can lead to constipation, so feeding very bony parts like beef knuckle bones, chicken wings, and even some rib bones can result in some very hard "concrete-like" poops. If you do feed a bony meal like whole neck bones or a slab of beef ribs, supplement with some raw "meaty meat" on the side to compensate for the high bone content.
If you are still worried, learn the doggie heimelich maneuver and monitor the dog while it eats (which should be done anyway, regardless of what the dog is fed!). And always remember: more dogs die from bloat or from choking on kibble and tennis balls than from choking on raw bones.
As for bones not being nutritious:
"Bones from prey are required by wolves as the major source of calcium and phosphorus for the maintenance of their own skeletons. Bones, in fact, are a surprisingly well-balanced food for canids" (Mech, L.D. 2003. Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation. pg125).
There is no scientific research to back a raw diet:
"You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering."
— Dr. Who
The implication here is that because there is "no scientific research" performed by institutions like the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), raw diets should not be fed. This 'no scientific research' declaration is a cop-out claim that has been used to "debunk" raw diets and suppress the truth. But one must realize that there is NO evidence whatsoever to prove that kibbled, processed foods are good for your pets. The only research that has been done into processed foods was performed to see a) if dogs could be fed a grain-based food, b) if dogs could survive acceptably on these processed foods for a short period of time, c) if X brand of food can do such-and-such for the dog (help with kidney disease, help with diabetes, help with obesity), and d) if X brand of food is "better" (more palatable, better liked, less total stool volume, etc.) than Y brand of food. No research has been done to determine the long-term effects of feeding kibble, nor to determine if it is actually healthy for your dog (it is just assumed healthy because it has passed a 6 month feeding trial, and then manufacturers falsely advertise their product as healthy.).
But as for raw diets: one million years of evolution apparently is not enough evidence for those citing lack of research and lack of studies in scientific literature. Neither the anatomical and physiological evidence of dogs, nor mtDNA evidence, nor circumstantial and statistical evidence of diseases in processed food-fed pets, nor anecdotal evidence are enough from those becrying the lack of "studies" and "research". Anecdotal, eyewitness evidence is dismissed because it is scientifically "unfounded" and anecdotal, even when the evidence is standing right before their eyes in easily seen, wonderful health (It is interesting to note that eyewitness evidence is enough to help condemn a man in a court of law, but is not enough for the "scientific" community composed of pet food manufacturers and their affiliates—which include vet universities and most vets.). People then expect raw feeders to take their anecdotal and eyewitness evidence as truth when they have already dismissed the evidence offered by the raw feeder as anecdotal. "I've seen so many dogs come into my clinic with nutritional problems because of raw diets!" (What about all the sick commercially fed pets that come into your office?) "Bones are going to kill your dog" (Oh yeah? Says who? Prove it!). This distinct bias has been used in veterinary literature to "prove" raw diets are not as good as commercial:
"Although there are numerous claims to the health benefits of raw food diets, all are anecdotal...The raw bones included in many of these diets carry risks, and although the actual incidence of complications resulting from ingestion of raw bones is unknown, there are reports of intestinal obstruction, gastrointestinal perforation, gastroenteritis, and fractured teeth..." pg 706, emphasis added (Freeman, L.M. and K.E. Michel. Evaluation of raw food diets for dogs. JAVMA. 218(5): 705-709)
The claims of raw food diets are dismissed as anecdotal, and then the readers are later asked to consider the similarly anecdotal, undocumented "reports" against raw food diets! This is nothing but a head-in-the-sand approach that attempts to maintain the status quo.
There is a lack of "scientific" evidence in the form of research studies on raw diets. Why? Well, who is going to pay for an extensive research study on raw diets when the evidence may be damning? People point to all the studies done by commercial pet food companies and cite the lack of similar studies done on raw diets as evidence that raw diets are bad and inferior. But let us look at how studies actually come about.
First, you must come up with a hypothesis and a purpose. What are you studying? Why are you studying it? What do you expect to prove? After you figure this out you design your study, including methods, control groups, and variables. You draw out everything in great detail, and then you incorporate this into a grant; after all, you need a large amount of money to run your study. So where do you get the money? You look at individuals, corporations, and companies that might be interested in your project. Some of the bigger companies and corporations already have pre-existing grant monies for which you can apply. Other times you have to present the grant to a company and ask for funds that have not already been set aside into a specific grant. How do you ensure the receipt of this money? You appeal to people who will have a great interest in what you are doing. You appeal to the companies that in some way have a financial interest in what you are studying (for example, a biomedical company that wishes to branch out from artificial joints into artificial menisci and artificial vertebral discs—which happen to be what you are studying!), and will therefore fund your project so as to find out more; it just might pay off for them in some way. That is the key: you are approaching companies that may offer you money because there will be something in it for them.
But what happens if the results actually reflect unfavorably upon the product you are testing or the method you are studying, and therefore reflect unfavorably upon the company that makes said product or endorses said method? It depends on how much is at stake. If there was very little at stake initially—perhaps it was a small pilot study with the company looking to see if artificial menisci might even be worth their time—then there should not be a problem. It tells them what they wanted to know and it was not a big loss (Some would argue that perhaps pet food companies did this with raw diets. But if that was the case, they would have all the facts and figures reflecting negatively on raw food readily available; they could simply parade out the results of that study to prove once and for all that raw diets are worthless. But, they do not do this. Why? Because they do not have these results.). But what if billions of dollars and an entire existing superstructure were at stake? What will happen to the results? In human medicine, this has led to the suppression of information, such as the suppression of information regarding the dangers of Vioxx (To read more about how this happens in industry, visit Mercola.com.).
Now let us apply this to the pet food manufacturers and to studies into raw diets. Almost every single study performed on commercial pet foods has been partially or fully funded by pet food companies. An example would be Purina's own study on extending the life of your pet; they discovered that by feeding smaller amounts of their Purina dog food and thus keeping the dog from getting fat, you could extend the life of your dog by two years. This, of course, supports the already well-known thought that keeping your pets trim is better for their health (once again, scientific "studies" being used to prove what is common sense.). But by using only their food in the study, they can then insinuate that it is Purina dog food that extends the life of your pet—and the little asterisk on the ad or the fine print on the TV tells you that this is only if you feed less than the recommended amount on the bag, thereby keeping your pet trim and not fat. But who reads the fine print?
Let us look at raw diets. Who would support a good, solid study into raw diets? What would happen if the results reflect negatively on commercial diets and positively on raw diets? Think of how much they have to lose!! Personally, I feel the lack of studies and the lack of willingness to do studies on raw diets indicates a desire to hide something, to cover something up that people do not want to be found. And I know of no pet food company that will pay for a raw diet research study. None of their control groups in their own studies are even fed a raw diet! The studies are performed under false assumptions that dogs are omnivores and can be maintained healthfully on grain-based, processed diets. Interestingly enough, it was the scientific research of the pet food companies that helped prove that dogs have no need for carbohydrates. The research in their own files (and in the Waltham Book of Dog and Cat Nutrition) demonstrates perfectly well that they know dogs are carnivorous animals. And yet they continue to mislead the public, the veterinarians, and the vets-to-be.
There have been "studies" done on bacterial content, nutritional analysis (according to AAFCO standards), and parasites in raw meat (using only the old, pre-existing literature on what kind of parasites could possibly be found in raw meat), but there are no studies that go in depth and objectively study the health effects of raw diets. Why would there be? This would involve a long, intense study requiring collaboration of vets nationwide and of multiple pet owners, or undue suffering to hundreds of "test" dogs who must be fed improper raw diets in the name of "scientific objectivity" (and there is the possibility that these poor results would then be used to show that ALL raw diets are bad). Indeed, funding is a huge issue as well, but I feel there are underlying issues: a fear of what may be found, that raw diets will indeed be proven better, that commercial diets will be proven unhealthy. This drastically cuts against the status quo and would destroy pet food companies and the veterinarians who depend on them to provide a clientele.
If raw diets were proven better and commercial diets were proven harmful, there would be a tremendous backlash against the pet food industries and the veterinary profession that is so entrenched with it. Legal rammifications would be a highly probable option: people suing vets for recommending a product that harms their pets; people suing the pet food companies for creating a harmful product without warning consumers of its dangers, for falsely advertising that product as healthy, and for lying and covering up the information that indicated otherwise; and vets suing the universities for providing an inadequate, faulty education. Thousands of people would be laid off, a multi-billion dollar industry would crumble, hundreds of veterinarians would find themselves jobless, and society would no longer have an 'acceptable' outlet for disposing of its dead, dying, and diseased meat, its grain waste, and the some 40% of euthanized pets that find their way into rendering plants and kibble, barbituates and all (Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones.; Martin, A. Foods Pets Die For.). All of this is what they have to lose if the results of a raw diet study reflect unfavorably on commercial foods. Can one see the incentive in never performing or publishing a proper study that objectively looks at raw diets and their effects on the overall health of the dog? Note: if you are a pet owner, veterinarian, or veterinary student who feels wronged by the pet food companies or their close ties to veterinary universities, please visit the Raw Meaty Bones website to get information on your legal options (click on the "Legal Remedies" link). Additionally, in the UK an organization known as UKRMB has helped spearhead an Early Day Motion against the alliance between pet food companies and the veterinary profession. To read about it, please click here.
This is not the only consideration when it comes to raw food research. To perform an adequate study that would satisfy all the critics, hundreds of dogs would need to suffer needlessly on improperly prepared raw diets, because in the name of 'science' all the major variations of the diets would be tested. That means dogs will be fed all meat diets, all chicken-back and neck diets, veggie glop and some meat and mostly bone diets, all beef-heart diets, etc. when all the researchers need to do is look to nature, who got it right a million years ago. It is just needless suffering. Next time someone bemoans the lack of scientific studies about raw, ask them if they would like to volunteer their dog for the study.
Instead of pushing for, funding, and advocating an unbiased study (which is a good thing in the sense it spares animals from unnecessary suffering in the name of science), vets and other "scientifically minded" people point out the lack of studies and retreat behind that facade in an effort to save face while ignoring a million years' worth of scientific studies performed in nature's laboratory. But there are some cruelty-free studies that could be performed; for example, researchers could start looking at the incidence of periodontal disease in raw-fed and commercially-fed pets. However, even something this simple-sounding can be a difficult thing to do correctly, as there are many variables that must either be minimized/weaned out of the study or that will have to be included. Plus, it requires a large sample size and great collaboration among pet owners, the vets, and the researchers. Once again, though, we come to the main impetus behind the study: who will pay for it, and why?
I don't know enough to feed my dog a raw diet:
"I did then what I knew then, and when I knew better, I did better."
You are fully capable of feeding your pet. True, you may not know all there is to know about canine nutrition or feeding a raw diet, but this does not mean you cannot learn! And you do not need to know all there is about canine nutrition; there is no need for this. All you have to do is have an open mind and be able to look to the model nature has designed for our canines: whole prey animals in the raw.
The pet food industry and some vets and other professionals want you to believe you are incapable of feeding your own pets and should therefore leave it to the experts. This is an insult. These "experts" have received only a little more nutritional training than you have, and in all likelihood have not even considered the excellent model nature has set for our canines. They may know all the biochemistry behind the body and how it digest food, but their education has short-changed them immensely when it comes to designing a proper diet for pets. You are fully capable of feeding yourself, so why should you not be able to feed your dog?
There is no reason to remain uneducated about feeding dogs and cats species appropriate raw diets (well, only if you are selling kibble and want to make sure you have a returning source of revenue). Research the raw diet. Look to nature as your ultimate instructor. What diet has nature created for dogs? One consisting of whole animals, raw meaty bones, and organs. We do not necessarily need to know how it works; all we need to know is that it does work, and has worked for a million years. The raw foods contain the exact nutrition your dog or cat needs. You do not need to be an expert, just a critically-thinking, common sense-wielding, concerned pet owner. You will be the kind of pet owner veterinarians talk about in their professional publications, the pet owner who is educating him/herself about pet nutrition and is learning how to properly take care of his/her own pets without needing to depend on the advice of a veterinarian, the kind of pet owner they refer to as a "potential problem" because you no longer depend on them for all your pet's needs. I encourage you to be that well-informed pet owner. Join the Yahoo! Raw feeding group and browse the archives and ask questions (please note: the Rawfeeding list promotes a prey-model raw diet based on a variety of raw meaty bones and organs, not a BARF diet that includes veggies and supplements.). Borrow or pick up a copy of Tom Lonsdale's Raw Meaty Bones book; it is an investment that is well worth it. Visit the Raw Learning website and read more about the raw diet. Check out the Feeding a Raw Diet page for answers to common raw feeding questions, and read through the Switching Your Dog to a Raw Diet page. The key is to get involved for your pets' health. They will thank you for it.
Bron: http://www.rawfed.com. Toestemming gevraagd om de artikelen te morgen overnemen in november 2006