AVMA to vote to take a stand against raw feeding

otto

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http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/very-bad-news-for-raw-feeders.html



This is horrible.

the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine will vote to create a policy to "discourage the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans."
I agree with Susan Thixton's assessment of the reasons behind this. She has included ways to contact this board, to support raw feeding and let them know why this should not happen.
 

carolina

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Ok.... yes... I do agree to some point that's bad.... but as a raw feeder.... not really..... Honestly.... Why?
How is that going to change anything? There is this mentality already in place..... Vets already advice against anyways :dk: I don't see that as any news :dk:
I am SO used to it.... :nod:
All my vets are pro-raw, and I doubt very much tha is going to change. One has been feeing raw to his own pets since 84, the other has been in practice since 87, has never had serious problems with raw..... so..... why now because a board told them? I don't think so :nod:
Besides..... I would care less - I would still buy my meat at the market, and feed my pets all the same, no matter what vets told me - the majority will tell you to feed Hills....... Is that the best? Not really MHO
 
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catsallaround

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Forget Hills, back in late 90's Our vet told us that the grocery store brand was fine to use and wet was not needed.
 

mschauer

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I thought the AVMA had already taken a stand against raw feeding?

We'll have to see how it plays out. Commercial raw foods might the affected if some jurisdiction uses it as a reason to ban the sale of raw pet foods but I don't see how it would affect me feeding my homemade raw. It's not like they can do anything to stop me.
 

sugarcatmom

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I thought they already had an anti-raw policy? Certainly the CVMA here in Canada does: http://canadianveterinarians.net/ShowText.aspx?ResourceID=554

I like this article from Dogs Naturally Magazine exposing the ridiculousness of such statements: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/vets-on-board-with-delta-society-in-misguided-raw-policy/
Vets must think we pet owners are idiots; it appears they don’t believe we have the mental capacity to handle raw meats.  Well, we’ve got news for the vets:  most of us, except strict vegans, handle raw meats every day, regardless of what we feed our pets.  Do you think we don’t know that meats contain bacteria?  Do you think we don’t know to wash our hands and counter tops after handling raw meats?  If kibble is so safe, then why do vets advocate washing hands before and after feeding pets, cleaning their dishes and disposing of uneaten food.
As for avoiding bacteria, your dog or cat might not be the bacteria laden reservoir vets think them to be, relatively speaking.  Here are some interesting germophobic facts:
  • Each time that it’s flushed, your toilet propels invisible bacterial and viral aerosols into the air that can float for up to 2 hours contaminating everything from hand towels to toothbrushes.
  • Microbiologists at the University of Arizona Environmental Research Laboratory found 21% of shopping carts tested to contain bodily fluids. The handles can harbor staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, E coli and other bacteria from meat and poultry.
  • The University of Arizona found that almost a third of the railings in public transportation-on buses or subways-were infected with the same bacteria that is found in feces and that 25% of the seats in movie theatres were infected with E.coli bacteria, which is bacteria from feces. Another study by U.S. Air Force doctors in Ohio found that money harbors bacteria which can make both immuno-suppressed and healthy people very sick.
  • Bacteria from food, the body or other sources can survive a wash cycle and spread via our hands to other surfaces. Among them are staphylococcus aureus and klebsiella pneumoniae and E coli.
  • 95 percent of people say they wash their hands after using a public bathroom, but only 67 percent actually wash their hands. Only 33 percent of those who do wash their hands use soap. And only 16 percent really wash their hands long enough.
 

fair2middling

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I thought the AVMA had already taken a stand against raw feeding?

We'll have to see how it plays out. Commercial raw foods might the affected if some jurisdiction uses it as a reason to ban the sale of raw pet foods but I don't see how it would affect me feeding my homemade raw. It's not like they can do anything to stop me.
I agree, although I am not a raw feeder, I support the right for freedom to choose, & if commercial raw has to undergo some type of treatment for it to be declared " safe " who the heck is gonna stop me from making my own. On the flip side, I can see that the presumed " health risks " would steer potential raw feeders away. 
 
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otto

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They want to make this an official policy. It will change attitudes. It will allow vets who speak out against raw diet to gain more leverage with their clients who may want to feed raw. That's a lot of potential raw feeders out there who will be turned away from ever trying it. Yes, some vets already speak against it. But now they will have "back up"

It may change the availability of commercial raw products. Some of us rely heavily on them, and may always do so.

It's another way for PFI to push their worst foods.

It's a backwards step in the progress of pet nutrition.
 
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otto

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I do not mean this in an offensive way. But I don't understand your responses. Your posts translate to me as: "you already feed a prey model raw diet, the heck with everyone else who hasn't gotten there yet, and may wish for the support of vets and commercial product availability". Surely you don't mean to sound that way. Can you explain what you mean?
 
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mschauer

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I do not mean this in an offensive way. But I don't understand your responses. Your posts translate to me as: "you already feed a prey model raw diet, the heck with everyone else who hasn't gotten there yet, and may wish for the support of vets and commercial product availability". Surely you don't mean to sound that way. Can you explain what you mean?
Frankly, in my opinion, Sue Trixton can be counted on to exaggerate the importance of such things. If she says something is worthy of concern my typical response is to yawn.

As far as commercial raw food availability goes, what the policy text apparently says is :
"discourage the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans
There are already commercial raw foods available that use HPP to kill pathogens. So maybe they will all be required to. Is that so terrible?
 
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carolina

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I do not mean this in an offensive way. But I don't understand your responses. Your posts translate to me as: "you already feed a prey model raw diet, the heck with everyone else who hasn't gotten there yet, and may wish for the support of vets and commercial product availability". Surely you don't mean to sound that way. Can you explain what you mean?
I personally mean, vets already to have that stance. Nothing new to me. That is what I personally mean..... Can't speak for anyone else.....
Note: Discourage is not prohibit.
They already discourage.
 
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emilymaywilcha

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I agree, although I am not a raw feeder, I support the right for freedom to choose, & if commercial raw has to undergo some type of treatment for it to be declared " safe " who the heck is gonna stop me from making my own. On the flip side, I can see that the presumed " health risks " would steer potential raw feeders away. 
This line of thought is exactly what onychectomy supporters say when they get their cats declawed. There will always be people who think the AVMA has no business telling us what we can't do whether it is declawing, alternative treatments, or raw feeding. That does not mean it's bad to feed raw when you do it correctly as long as the cat is healthy. You just have to know what you are doing.
 
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ldg

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Hunh. I'm not sure what to make of this. The AAFCO isn't a regulatory body (yet, see below). Yes, an official position against raw means something. I'm just not sure what.

The FDA is the regulatory authority (currently) when it comes to pet food and animal feed: http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/products/animalfoodfeeds/petfood/default.htm

And the FDA issued guidance on the manufacturing and labeling of raw pet food in 2004: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/animalveterinary/guidancecomplianceenforcement/guidanceforindustry/ucm052662.pdf

To my knowledge, neither the FDA or the AAFCO have positions against raw.

All I'd been able to find was safe handling instruction: http://www.petfood.aafco.org/ProductHandlingSafety.aspx

The FDA, on the other hand, has this to say about raw feeding: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm048030.htm

FDA does not believe raw meat foods for animals are consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks, particularly when such products are brought into the home and/or used to feed domestic pets; however, we understand that some people prefer to feed these types of diets to their pets. For the protection of both you and your pet, the FDA recommends the following when handling or using raw meat, poultry or seafood, for use in a pet’s diet:
Now, all of that said...

The timing of this vote by the AAFCO is VERY interesting. According to this article http://www.petfoodindustry.com/Columns/Petfood_Insights/Petfood_ingredient_definitions__a_new_role_for_AAFCO_.html

Bold stuff, my emphasis

A memorandum of understanding between the Association of American Feed Control Officials and the US Food and Drug Administration pertaining to the former’s feed ingredient definition process is due to expire in September 2012. FDA has indicated it does not intend to continue its participation in the process when the agreement expires. There is the possibility of a “legislative fix” that may avert FDA’s departure from its current involvement. However, if FDA does bow out of any further contribution to this effort, it may dramatically affect AAFCO’s function in the establishment of new ingredient definitions in the future.

FDA and AAFCO have successfully cooperated in the establishment of new and amended animal feed ingredient definitions for decades. FDA’s Compliance Policy Guide Sec. 665.100 (first issued in 1980) recognizes AAFCO definitions as constituting the common or usual names for animal feed ingredients, including those for use in petfood, as contemplated by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for purposes of proper label declaration. In turn, FDA has assisted AAFCO by providing scientific support in assessment of the safety and utility of proposed ingredients. In 2007, both organizations agreed to a set of conditions by which this cooperative effort could continue.

However, FDA’s concern now is whether an AAFCO feed ingredient definition by itself can be considered a “legal home” for that ingredient. Unlike a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) determination or a food additive petition, AAFCO definitions are established using informal procedures, whereby FDA’s lack of objection to an ingredient that has gone through the process is based on enforcement discretion.

As I understand it, FDA’s general counsel has advised the agency that these discretionary policies need to be curtailed, and all new ingredients must be subject to more formal review and acceptance procedures. In fact, there is an indication that eventually all ingredients, even those already defined by AAFCO and used for many years, would be subject to be reevaluation under this new FDA paradigm.

Frankly, it would be very difficult for AAFCO to continue its ingredient definition process as currently conducted without FDA’s participation and scientific input. Also, there is a strong desire to avoid two lists, one from AAFCO and one from FDA.

Anticipating this likely turn of events, a presentation at the AAFCO meeting in January suggested a revision of AAFCO’s function. Rather than acting as a means to simply define ingredient names and terms to allow for consistent use in the market, it is envisioned that AAFCO would become a standard-setting body, constructing a monograph for each ingredient similar to those published in the Food Chemical Codex for food ingredients.

The contents of a feed ingredient monograph would greatly expand on the AAFCO definitions, covering aspects not currently addressed such as description of non-proprietary processing methods, identification of potential contaminants and analytical methods (see sidebar). Most important to note is that monographs would be written only after the ingredient was determined to be GRAS or approved as a food additive. Also, FDA would not intimately participate in the monograph process, though it would assign a liaison to AAFCO to observe and advise.

There are a lot of aspects to be considered before this proposal becomes a reality, however. Issues such as liability, potential conflicts of interest, the monies needed to support the process and protection of copyright and proprietary information must be addressed. Also of concern is the likely length of time needed to write a monograph and whose expertise (besides FDA’s) would be involved in the process.

A feed industry organization has requested a one-year extension of the memorandum of understanding while it attempts a legislative initiative to amend existing federal law. If successful, it would embed formal recognition of AAFCO feed ingredient definitions directly into the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The intended effect would be to eliminate the present concerns regarding discretionary enforcement and essentially keep the current AAFCO definition process intact.

As far as I am aware, neither FDA nor AAFCO has indicated publicly whether an extension will be granted. Whether the US Congress will abide with this requested amendment also is up in the air at this time.
So at a time when the AAFCO's contract with the FDA is almost up, and the AAFCO and animal feed industry is lobbying to basically make the AAFCO a regulatory authority... the AAFCO wants to start taking official positions on things like raw food.

I very much doubt it would be possible to make feeding raw illegal. I also do not think they can impose something like High Pressure Processing on all pet raw food manufacturers. They already HAVE guidelines in place (reference FDA 2004 manufacturing/labeling guidelines above). And there is a North American Raw Pet Food Association (though clearly not as well funded as the "Pet Food Industry" lobby. :lol3: The pet food industry in the U.S. was a $10 billion industry in 2010 - commercial raw is approximately 3% of that), I have to think they're not sitting idly by...

But I don't want to be complacent, either. I, for one, will send an email. And I will physically mail letters to the addresses provided by Susan Thixton.
 

ldg

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This line of thought is exactly what onychectomy supporters say when they get their cats declawed. There will always be people who think the AVMA has no business telling us what we can't do...
Emily, you are so offbase with this analogy, I can't let it go. I don't want to derail this thread, but comparing the discussion to the right to mutilate a cat vs. feeding a species-appropriate diet is just wrong.

And the AVMA does not SUPPORT declawing, and their official position SHOULD lead vets to discourage it and provide education as to alternatives.

In THIS instance, an AAFCO official position against raw feeding would lead vets to continue to discourage raw feeding, and give them "ammunition" that sounds "official."

**************************

IMO, ultimately this is likely just one more fence to jump in helping people overcome their fears about feeding raw.

No, what scares me is what is going to happen with the AAFCO and the FDA, and the AAFCO potentially having more actual potential regulatory authority.
 

ldg

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mschauer

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Hunh. I'm not sure what to make of this. The AAFCO isn't a regulatory body (yet, see below). Yes, an official position against raw means something. I'm just not sure what.
 
Laurie, it's the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) not the AAFCO.
 

fair2middling

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This line of thought is exactly what onychectomy supporters say when they get their cats declawed. There will always be people who think the AVMA has no business telling us what we can't do whether it is declawing, alternative treatments, or raw feeding. That does not mean it's bad to feed raw when you do it correctly as long as the cat is healthy. You just have to know what you are doing.
Sheath your claws, mutilating a cat & choosing to feed raw, dry, canned or something in between is not cruel or inhumane, choosing to neglect feeding your cat now that would be cruel & inhumane.I also support a persons right to free speech, as tiring and confounding as that is.
 

ldg

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:doh3:

Ah, well... then ignore pretty much everything I posted. :lol3:

I'll still send the email and the letters, but I'm seriously blown away. Totally beyond my comprehension that they'd consider doing this. I think it has no real potential impact other than to support vets who are clueless anyway.... and still represents just one more fence to jump in helping people overcome their fears of raw feeding.

But I don't see how an AVMA position would translate into any kind of potential law. :dk:
 
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