Sunday, January 31, 2010

Daily Mail slams pet food manufacturers

Hurrah! The national press are turning the heat up on pet food manufacturers. In last week’s Daily Mail there was a long, well-researched and highly critical feature article attacking the industry. After giving a couple of examples the author, Alison Smith Squire, got down to business. ‘Few people,’ she pointed out, ‘are aware of the little-publicised concerns about processed pet foods - and that includes wet (i.e. tinned and packet) foods as well.’ She went on to emphasise that part of the problem is that ‘much of the veterinary industry is inextricably linked to the pet-food manufacturers.’

I always feel that it is poor form to lump the whole veterinary profession in together just because a number of diehard reactionaries refuse to acknowledge that they have made a mistake. Nevertheless, there is some truth in what Ms. Smith Squire went on to say:

‘Research into pet food is carried out by the pet-food companies but, more surprisingly, the training of vets at some universities is also funded by pet-food manufacturers. Crucially, lectures on nutrition at a number of vet schools, and for veterinary nurses at individual practices, are also often paid for - and even taught - by these huge corporations, giving them the ideal platform to promote their products. One could argue that given this information, it's hardly in vets' interests to promote a more natural diet for pets.’

Nor did the fact that many vets earn a substantial income from pet food escape the newspaper’s notice:

‘The pet-food manufacturers appear to be promoting their brands with the help of veterinary practices, sponsoring food displays in surgeries which help to generate business for vets (via commission and the fact that some specialist food can only be bought at veterinary surgeries). Hills Science Plan, a pet-food brand owned by Colgate-Palmolive, boasts that: 'More vets feed Hills than any other pet food.' Last year, Hills sponsored the British Veterinary Association's 2009 Congress (the biggest meeting on the veterinary calendar). It also signed a partnership with the British Veterinary Dental Association to sponsor tooth care in animals. Royal Canin Foods (owned by Mars/Masterfoods) boasts on its website of 'its partnerships with leading veterinary schools and universities'. It runs Pet Health Counsellor Courses, training veterinary nurses in diet, and says stocking its food in veterinary practices can 'increase practice turnover'.The message from the company is clear: sell our pet food, and your business will profit.’

Thank you and well done, Alison Squire Smith! Meanwhile, if you are interested the whole article is available online just click here.

1 comment:

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