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Veterinary Association Frowns on Raw Food Diets

Posted: Aug. 8, 2012, 3:45 p.m. EDT


The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) approved a resolution that discourages feeding raw or undercooked animal-source proteins to cats or dogs when pathogens have not been eliminated.

The policy, passed by the AVMA’s House of Delegates on Aug. 3, 2012, noted that cooking and pasteurization are the “traditional” methods for eliminating pathogenic organisms and that methods such as irradiation are “being developed and implemented.”

The AVMA acted because of the health risk to pets and people.

“Cats and dogs may develop food-borne illness after being fed animal-source protein contaminated with…organisms if adequate steps are not taken to eliminate pathogens,” the organization reported. “Secondary transmission of these pathogens to humans (e.g., pet owners) has also been reported.”

AVMA discourages dog and cat owners from feeding raw pet food
The stand brought an immediate response from supporters of raw diets.

“It should be noted that the AVMA opinion is just that and should not be misinterpreted as federal or state law or regulation,” said Matthew Koss, president of San Francisco-based Primal Pet Foods.

“Primal implements a stringent testing program to ensure that all of our products are pathogen free prior to being distributed for sale in the marketplace,” Koss added. “Primal Pet Foods adheres to all FDA standards for the manufacturing and marketing of pet food products, and we will continue to maintain our quality and safety standards with the goal of providing quality pet nutrition for dogs and cats.”

The policy does not forbid AVMA-member veterinarians from recommending a raw diet to pet owners, but it encourages owners to feed commercially prepared or home-cooked food to cats and dogs.

The AVMA identified several animal-source proteins of concern, including beef, pork, poultry, fish and other meat from domesticated or wild animals, as well as milk and eggs.

The organization also recommended:
• Restricting cats and dogs’ access to carrion and animal carcasses.
• Disposing of uneaten food at least daily.
• Washing hands before and after feeding cats and dogs, providing treats, cleaning pet dishes and disposing of uneaten food.

The recommendation not to feed unpasteurized milk to animals does not preclude the feeding of unpasteurized same-species milk to unweaned juvenile animals, according to the AVMA.

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I believe this decision has nothing to do with pet food or human health safety because it only speaks to one type of food fed to our pet dogs and cats. It does not address the highest records of pet food transfered illness, which come from cooked kibble. If there was a real concern for human or pet health, the first items put on the recommendation of caution should be kibble.
I believe that was not done because the AVMA is compromised by the corporate influence of the kibble manufacturers.
D'Arcy, Sammamish, WA
Posted: 8/17/2012 5:32:39 PM
If they were to support raw, they would in essence be cutting off their money train. there would be no need for "prescription food" , there wouldnt be dogs with allergies, cats with bladder issues etc. its a shame that veterinary association is more interested in "business" then the health of animals.
christine, sicklerville, NJ
Posted: 8/17/2012 1:17:36 PM
I think it is unfortunate that they would implement this policy. People who prepare raw diets for dogs are generally well informed and aware of precautions needed for sanitary preparation. On the other hand, folks who feed kibble, recently involved in 49 cases of salmonella poisoning in people, probably have NO clue that they may be dealing with dangerous pathogens. As a veterinarian who feeds a varieddiet, that includes raw, to her dogs, I am very disappointed in the AVMA.
Joanne, Goochland, VA
Posted: 8/16/2012 4:07:49 PM
I'm just wondering... how did life on earth manage to get this far without the wisdom of human intervention? Perhaps we should cook food for all animals on the planet. This way they can join the ranks of the victims of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heat disease. Have you ever thought about how much the wildlife on earth spends on healthcare? How many books they've read regarding diet? How many hospitals and doctors they have? Yet, somehow they keep on surviving. If you ask me, the biggest threat to wildlife is human life. Someday, I hope we come to our senses and realize that all life thrives on a raw food diet. Humans should be on a raw vegan diet and carnivores should be on a raw meat diet. Its simple and the way nature (God) had it from the very beginning. Do you think he had it wrong then? Do you think we've made our diet better?
John, Tipp City, OH
Posted: 8/8/2012 3:13:42 PM
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