Food Pets Die For Excerpt

‘”Splitting” in Labeling

Corn and wheat are usually the first ingredients listed on both dry dog and cat food labels. However, some pet food companies list the product  ingredients in such a way that the number one ingredient is a protein product. In one well-known dry cat food the ingredients on the label are listed in this order: poultry by-product meal, ground yellow corn, whet, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, brewers rice, etc.

Most people reading this label might assume that the “poultry by-product meal” is the prime ingredient providing an ample source of protein. However, this is not so. Grains in fact are the prime ingredient in the product. In the industry this labeling is called “splitting“. If corn is listed in only one form, then it might be the prime ingredient in the food instead of the  poultry meal and would have to be listed first on the label. To make it appear that a protein source is the number one ingredient in the pet food, the company splits the corn up into two categories; ground yellow corn and corn gluten meal.

This can be problematic for consumers who believe a dry food is sufficient for their animal companions, especially cats. Cats are carnivores and require a good source of meat in their diets. So pet owners who think it is ok to just feed their cats a dry food are not providing a healthy diet. Grains will not provide the cat with sufficient amounts of taurine, arachidonic acid, vitamin A or vitamin B-12.’

“Rendering Pets in the United States

The rendering of companion pets is legal in the United States. There are no laws determining how veterinarians or shelters must dispose of pets. It is up to the owner, veterinarian, or shelter. For large animals, such as cattle, horses, and pigs, there is the “Dead Animal Disposal Act”, which states they must  be dispose of within twenty-four to forty-eight hours, depending on the state, and either be buried, cremated, or sent to rendering. But no similar disposal act exists for companion animals.

In 1994 I contacted the Food and Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA/CVM) and posed this question: Are government agencies aware that euthanized pets are being used in commercial pet foods? The reply I received from Christine Richmond, spokesperson for the FDA, Division of Animal Feeds, reads in part, “In recognizing the need for disposal of a large number of unwated pets in this country, CVM has not acted to specifically prohibit the rendering of pets. However, that is not to say that the practice of using this material in pet food is condoned by CVM.” even though the FDA/CVM does not condone the use of euthanized pets in pet food, it has not taken any steps to eliminate or restrict this practice.

“Rendering Pets in Canada

In Canada, it is legal to use euthanized pets in pet food product produced by rendering plants. However, rendering of companion animals in Canada is on a much smaller scale the the practice in the United States. But nonetheless, the practice is legal in Canada too.

In Ontario, the province where I reside, a dead-stock removal collector picks up any dead livestock that have died or been killed in the field. Different municipalities also contract with a stock removal collector to pick up any large animals along the roadside as well as companion animals euthanized at veterinary clinics and some shelters. The collector then delivers the dead stock to a rendering plant. [...]“