Monday, February 15, 2010

HSUS Promoting Imported Dog Food



Where do you start with this one?

You could start with what we learned with the toxic dog food fiasco: you do not want your dog food coming from a nameless, faceless company that has no real market share in the U.S., and which has nothing to lose when it cuts corners to save pennies (i.e. any dog food company that was not around when you were a little kid).

You could start with the fact that the Humane Society of the U.S. is a direct mail mill where more than 75% of any donation you make will be used to send out more direct mail, and where none of the money raised will go to help local shelters actually helping to rehome dogs.

Instead, I will simply give you the facts about the product at hand.

It seems the Humane Society of the U.S. is now marketing a new vegetarian dog food that is not made in the U.S.A.

It's made in Uruguay, and will be sold at Petco, Whole Foods and other stores.

A vegetarian dog food? For a carnivore with canine teeth?

Yes, that's right.

And the dog food is being made in Uruguay?

Yes, that's right. The capitol of Uruguay is Montevideo. See if you can find it on a map.

And what does HSUS President Wayne Pacelle, the President of the Humane Society of the U.S., have to say about this? He tells us:

"Americans are concerned about the food we eat, and it just makes sense that we'd be concerned about the food we provide to our pets. Humane Choice is a nutritious, environmentally friendly and ethically responsible food for our best friends.


Right.

We are so concerned about the food we feed our pets that we are (supposedly) going to feed them food from a company that has no name, and which is made in a country we cannot find on a map.

Quick Quiz: Name one food that you ate this month that was grown in Uruguay? Name one thing you have ever bought that was made in Uruguay? What is the money of Uruguay? What is the form of Government? Name something that Uruguay is famous for?

And we are so concerned about the environment that we are (supposedly) going to feed our dogs a dog food that was imported from 5,000 miles away? Hmmmm.....

How much oil was used to truck, ship and fly that stuff to the U.S? Did the energy consumed, and the CO2 produced, outweigh the product itself?

And what do I mean when I say this company has no name? Just that. Go to the web site of this dog food brand and tell me the name of the company making this stuff. No company or factory is named. No farm is named. There is no address, or even city named. Why is that?

If you look at the bottom of the web page, you find that this product has something to do with "G&B Marketing"

It turns out that G&B Marketing is an outfit located at 1485 Poinsettia Ave., Suite #109, in Vista, California. The address appears to be that of an industrial office park, where you can also find Fineline T Shirts, North County Garage Door, Kelso Design Studio, Glasswall Systems, AlphaStudio Design Group, BlueSky Medical Group, and the like.

G&B Marketing clearly does not make dog food, and they appear to be little more than a middleman for some nameless, faceless company in Uruguay that makes dog food.

So who really makes this dog food? I will bet cash money it is Wenaewe, a Uruguayan maker of a type of organic vegetarian dog food.

Do I think Wenaewe is some quaint "family farm" operation, as suggested by HSUS? Nope. Not for a second. Nor do I think they are particularly anti-meat. After all, Wenaewe manufactures a lot of dog food made from left over cattle bits -- same as every other dog food maker on the planet.

So why is the Humane Society of the U.S. endorsing this particular brand of dog food?

It's not because dogs are doing poorly with what is on the shelf now, and it's not because there is an absence of U.S.-made vegetarian dog food.

Natural Balance, AvoDerm, Dick Van Patten, and Natural Life all make vegetarian dog food.

Nope, it's not that.

It's simpler than that: Profit.

Some dog food company in Uruguay is willing to pay a kickback to the Humane Society of the U.S. to have their name put on a bag of their no-better-than-anything-else product.

Apparently they don't know that for a lot of pet owners, HSUS's name is a liability not an endorsement. Shhhhh! Don't tell them different!

How much of a kickback is HSUS getting? They're pocketing a 6 percent kickback from the wholesale price of each 6.6-pound bag of dog food sold, and that's money that comes straight out of the pocket of anyone buying this dog food.

What? The dog food is being sold in a 6.6-pound bag?

Yes, that's what the HSUS press release says.

Apparently you can never have too much packaging in an "environmentally friendly and ethically responsible" dog food!

Of course at the price this dog food is going for -- $18 for a 6.6 pound bag -- no one would even think of buying a 20- or 40-pound bag of the stuff.

And what about freshness?

Well, I can assure you that this dog food will be about as fresh as any dog food can be after it bounces from warehouse to warehouse for 5,000 miles across the steaming-hot equator.

And what is this dog food made of?

The first five ingredients are ground canola seed, brown rice, soybean meal, buckwheat, and flaxseed.

Eh? That's not dog food, that chicken food!

Well yes, but the dog probably won't die from eating it. You see, this fine mix of grains has been "certified" by the Uruguay Agricultural Services General Direction of the M.G.A.P. (whatever that is), and it has been "certified organic" by the Organizacion Internacional Agropecuraria (whatever that is).

And NO, HSUS did not bother to have this food undergo an actual feed trial under the auspices of the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Instead, they went for the lowest standard established by AAFCO -- a "nutrient profile".

In short, in theory, your dog will be fine.

And, for the record, I am sure it will be.

And what about a puppy formula?

Nope.

This high cost, minimally certified, imported dog food maker from an unknown manufacturer did not bother to crank out a puppy formula. The web site advises to not feed this dog food to a puppy!

Oh, and by the way, just because this dog food is "vegetarian" does not mean it is actually free of animal products.

Yes, that's right, it turns out some of the vitamins that go into this dog food (such as B-12) comes from "animal sources".

What's that mean? It means there's a little bit of death, bone, marrow and blood in every bag.

And you know why?

Because dogs are not pure vegetarians by nature and will get sick and die without vitamin B-12.

And vitamin B-12 is not made by plants it is made by flesh-and-blood animals.

In this case, the vitamin B-12 is probably derived from rendered animal carcasses (i.e. downer cows and cooked bones and bits from healthy cows).

All of this is perfectly safe, by the way.

HSUS can brag that no animals were killed expressly to make this pet food.

But of course, that's true of all dog food isn't it?

So what is it that we are supposed to paying for again?

Apparently, for the privilege of buying an over-priced, low-standard dog food that is made in some un-named foreign factory, and which is wastefully packaged and shipped vast distances across the equator while burning up tons of fossil fuel on the journey.

What an offer!

A final thought ....

You want to be natural? You want to respect the environment??

Then accept nature for what it is, red in tooth and claw, and entirely unsentimental.

Mother Nature gave us the robin eating the worm, the hawk eating the sparrow, the fox eating the mouse, the shark eating the fish, and the polar bear eating the seal.

Mother Nature believes in locally grown, locally lived, and locally employed.

She does not believe in $3 a pound, wastefully packaged vegetables for canines, imported from 5,000 miles away, and marketed by way of kickbacks.

Mother Nature does not believe in "Humane Choice" dog food.


25 comments:

YesBiscuit! said...

I've seen canola oil but the seed from which it's extracted? - never. I honestly didn't know the seed was edible, much less a qualified candidate to be the main ingredient in a dog food.

Gina said...

This, from an outfit that could barely be roused to care a jot when thousands of pets were made sick or killed from toxic ingredients in 2007.

Pass.

HTTrainer said...

I've seen veggies dog treats but food? It's time to nip this one in the bud.

Retrieverman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

I am thinking the "rationale" is vegetables don't scream when "killed." *rolling my eyes*

panavia999 said...

"Humane Choice" sounds like dog food containing no human byproducts. If you don't want your pet eating what comes naturally to its species, ie, dogs are natural scavengers and cats eat almost 100% meat, then don't have pets! Once again, it's not about what's best for the pet, but what makes the pet owner feel good about himself. Did anyone watch "The Goodes" TV show during it's short run last summer? The Goodes only fed their dog a vegan dog food made from flax called "Good Dog!" The slogan was "For dogs who want to do good." The dog was desparate for meat and ate the neighborhood pets. Very cute show.

HTTrainer said...

FWIW: Uruguay also has a certain notoriety (like Argentina) of harboring former citizens of the 3rd Reich.

PBurns said...

Oh, I know! I used to have a boss from Uruguay. I used to say he himself was not a Nazi, but the Nazi'staught him everything he knew. About right too!

P.

Jemima/Black Retriever X Rescue said...

Vitamin B-12 can be grown in the lab as a bacterium so not necessarily not-vegetarian.
Jemima

PBurns said...

Yes, as the link notes, all B12 comes from bacteria, but in practice it all comes from bacteria growing in the gut of animals.

"Can" be grown in a lab does not mean that it actually is, and in this instance the dog food maker is quite clear that it comes from animal sources (as do several other vitamins used in this dog food).

In fact, all B12 we use in food (even the foods "fortified" with B12 for vegans) comes from bacteria lining the stomach of animals or from animal products (milk, rendered animals)-- there is no other economical way to produce it for human food (or for dog food). Being a vegan is really just a lie. So too is being a vegetarian. I am not being critical here, just being factual -- the human body (and the canine body) needs B12 to live and that B12 comes from animals not from bacteria colonies in a laboratory. "Fortified with B12" should read "Fortified with B12 cooked out of a sheep or cow stomach after we killed the animal and sold it for chops and steaks."

Patrick

Jonzie said...

I have to disagree here, why being vegetarian would be a lie? animal products are contemplated in a vegeterian diet (dairy and egs). Also it's not true that all B12 is coming from animal product. From the same page you cited:

Industrial production of B12 is through fermentation of selected microorganisms. Streptomyces griseus, a bacterium once thought to be a yeast, was the commercial source of vitamin B12 for many years. The species Pseudomonas denitrificans and Propionibacterium shermanii are more commonly used today. These are frequently grown under special conditions to enhance yield, and at least one company, Rhône-Poulenc of France, at one point used genetically engineered versions of one or both of these species. It is not clear whether Sanofi-Aventis, the company which the pharmaceutical division of Rhône-Poulenc merged into, has continued the use of genetically modified organisms.

You do not necessarily have to feed animal product to feed these bacteria. Also, the extraction of B12 from animal products is way more expensive than obtaining it through bacterial growth.

I still agree with you on the fact that this specific food is not vegetarian.

PBurns said...

For all the crap I gave Mattew Watkinson for his book on Darwin (or whatever it was supposed to be about!), he did note (correctly) how odd it is for vegetarians to act as if eggs and milk (and fish very often) are vegetables. They are not vegetables, and they are not blood-free.

What do you think happens to chickens after that first year of laying? They are killed and sold for dog food or soup. They do not die of old age in a pet home! By eating eggs you support the process of killing billions of chickens a year.

There is no blood-free egg.

And, of course, there is no blood-free milk, either.

Milk is a byproduct of calving, and the calves are taken away for veal or be raised on feed lots. If you drink milk and eat cheese, you are part of the machine that kills hundreds of thousands -- millions -- of cattle a year. The simple fact is that the modern dairy cow lasts 5-7 years before it is banged on the head and sold for burgers. It does not die a natural death in a pet home!

That is what I mean by vegetarianism being a lie (or perhaps a delusion is the better word?)

And let's not even start with fish!

As for B12, there is no cultured source for accessible B12 that I can find. I cannot say how it was produced in WWII, but I can tell you that it IS produced from animals today. In fact, if you go to the vegan and vegetarian web sites, they carefully note that plants do not produce it, that animals do in the bacteria in their guts, and then THEY NAME NO SOURE other than "Fortified" cereals and yeasts. Yes, a company in France seems to be growing some bio-engineered stuff, but good luck finding it anywhere. It is NOT the source of the "fortified" B12 in your cereals, I can assure you.

The bottom line is that all those fortified cereals and yeasts folks are eating are fortified with an OUTSIDE source of B12 -- an animal source for this vitamin. This is the economics and reality of the vitamin B12 world today.

RedStar sells a yeast they CLAIM is a source for B12 but I would note that the European Food Safety Authority has noted that their claims are just claims -- they have supplied no science or data to support their claims. See >> http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/doc/ans_ej1126_VitaminB12enrichedyeast_st_en,0.pdf?ssbinary=true In fact, dietary supplements are generally not regulated (at least in the U.S.) and a lot of the stuff that is said to have B12 (such as eggs) does not have accessible B12 and is not a dietary source for that reason. And so we circle back around to what is used in fortified foods >> stomachs of animals and rendered animals.

And, to recap: the DOG FOOD that is the topic of this post rather clearly states that the B12 is sources from ANIMAL PRODUCTS.

P.

YesBiscuit! said...

Having been a vegetarian since age 13, I consider myself neither a liar nor delusional. I make my choices, the same as everyone else, and stand by them. They are choices *I* feel are right for me. No lies, no delusions.

PBurns said...

Good on ya then -- you clearly know that a vegetarian diet kills MILLIONS of living things.

Say it loud and say it proud!

The worms are killed, the fields are sprayed, the forests are chopped down, and the wildlife loses its habitat.

The eggs come from chickens that are sold off to make soup or Slim Jims or dog food, the milk comes from cows that will be banged on the head to be carted off to the knackers to feed McDonalds and the Steak House and the school lunch program.

And of course, the fish will come from clear-cutting the sea, with 7 pounds or more of "by catch" for every pound put on the table, or else it will be raised in feces and antibiotic-strewn tanks and then banged on the head to be put on the table.

Is a vegetarian diet healthy? Sure. All for it. A good health choice.

But is it free of blood, guts, screams of pain, misery and animal and habitat destruction? Not a bit. And neither is a vegan diet, for that matter.

And yes, anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional. But since you are not, then you know this. Say it loud and say it proud: A vegetarian diet kills MILLIONS of living things.

Acceptance of that is Step One.

Step Two is acceptance that a purely plant-based diet will kill you. That is why humans need B12 which, in the real world, comes fron eating (at least a little) animal and animal products.

All for choice. And all for a vegetarian diet. But cows and chickens are not vegetables, and B12 (a vitamin necessary for human life) does not come from tofu, beans, wheat, corn or squash. It comes from animals. We are all connected after all....

P.

Jonzie said...

You are very wrong. Animals do not produce B12. Only bacteria and yeast do. They do it in the guts of animals or in the soil. Even animals that have a vegeterian diet.
B12 IS produced industrially by fermentation of selected bacteria and the substrate can be anything, not necessarily meat. Just google it and you'll find lots of scientific publication on the matter.
Secondly, there is plenty of vegeterians who are so not for ethical reasons but because they simply think a meatless diet is better for several reasons.
Thirdly i must remind you that you can find ethically and locally produced eggs and dairy products.
Finally, you must agree on the fact that even if eggs and dairy are part of the system and are produced by animals that will die, a vegetarian consumer causes the death of a much smaller number of animals compared to a non vegetarian and has an effect on the food industry by non consuming meat.

I agree with your thoughts about the vegan diet

YesBiscuit! said...

Cows and chickens are not vegetables? I knew if I stuck around this place long enough, I'd learn me something.

Jonzie said...

Check also this:
http://www.vitaminb12production.ch/
In this case for example the substrate is molasses

PBurns said...

Jonzie, why not READ MY COMMENTS?

If you had read my comments, you would see that I say that bacteria is what creates B12 -- bacteria that is found in animal guts. I say in twice. In short, animals produce B12. Corn, soybeans, and broccoli do not.

Also, if you had read my comments, and gone to the link provided, you would see that the B12 grown on molasses has NOT been approved by the European Food Safety Authority because the company has NOT supplied any science or data to support their claims that the B12 is actually absorbed. Absorbtion is a big problem with B12 -- do the research and you will see I am right. Because of that, foods that are fortified with B12 are fortified with animal-dervied B12, as is the case in this brand of dog food.

See >> http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/doc/ans_ej1126_VitaminB12enrichedyeast_st_en,0.pdf?ssbinary=true

As to "ethically produced" eggs and milk, I have no idea what that means and neither do you.

Egg chickens and milk cows are not kept as pets after their brief production lives. A milk cow will live more than 20 years if you let it, but it is banged on the head by age 7 (at most) in modern milk facilities. Chickens will live for many years if you let them, but an egg-laying chicken is dead after 18 months and used for soup, dog food, or mechanically separated for lunch meats and Slim Jims when its maximum egg laying abilties are over.

After chickens stop laying at least four eggs a week, and after a cow stops producing maximumum milk, they are killed ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE TIME. Sorry if you want to believe something different, but if you do you are simply kidding yourself and have not spent too much time on a farm.

Is a vegetarian diet (however it is variously defined) healthy? Generally, yes.

Does it result in fewer large animals dying? That is not clear, and it certainly depends on how much meat a person eats and whether the vegetarian eats eggs and drinks milk. Egg and cheese-eating vegetarians boost the need for cows and chickens. All a vegetarian is doing is saying he will not eat the animal at the end of its life -- an insult to the animal after fully participating in the system that created it and ensured its premature death and destruction.

In fact, a vegetarian diet probably results in more total animals being killed than a grass-fed cow diet does. And no, not all of those lives are insects and bugs -- birds, snakes, and mammals also perish under the plow, the combine, the sprayer and the chainsaw. There is almost nothing alive in a soy field, a corn field, or a vegetable field. Walk them and you will see I am right. There is life in a pasture, but not in a soy field.

P.

louisvilledoglaw said...

Did some checking on the info you put on your blog spot regarding [In]-Humane Choice dog food. First, I found it veddy inter-estink that G & B Marketing, Inc. is NOT registered with the state of Calif. (http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/cbs.aspx). They claim to have been in business since 1999, but they're not a CA corp. That's certainly not illegal, but I've searched in several other states (NV, AZ, DE, MD, DC, FL, CT) and can't figure out where they are incorporated, or who they really are.

They're listed on many incoming cargo manifests as importing pet-related items from China and elsewhere around the world, so somebody's got some dough behind this.

However, one good link came up on the Wenawee site. If you poke around, it mentions "Erro" being involved in Wenawee. Doing a little more searching, one comes up with Ramon Erro, President of "Corporacion Global"--the largest exporter of grains in Urugay. Just the sort of fellow Wayne would love to do business with.

Rob said...

Aw, Montevideo is allus gettin' blowed up by robots. You dinnint want stuff from there anyway.

PBurns said...

I hate it when the robots attack!

P

Seahorse said...

The robots hate our freedom. (It was cool when they transformed into their own little buildings.)

Seahorse

Rob said...

@louisvilledoglaw: not sure what you mean. A search on the website link you provided for "g&b marketing" yielded a Nevada corp with a CA ID of C3095874. The Nevada corporation website (I don't trust the link because it looks like a cached, expiring link designed to foil crawlers, so try this and enter the same search string) shows them as a corporate services company on 723 S. Casino Center Blvd in Las Vegas. Jennifer Barrelli (treasurer), Chad Gibson (president), and Curt E. Gibson (director and secretary) are all listed as officers. The Nevada corporation ID is NV19981144239.

Buoyant Dog said...

Nice article. The HSUS is really starting to annoy the crap out of me......so are vegan dog foods.

jeff hays said...

All you need is to say HSUS and I am out the door already. Asinine moronic thought processes don't bode well for the dog food they support.

Purina is fine, although I have a problem with their animal testing procedures. I just TODAY bought two big bags of kibble, natural no grain single ingredient YADA YADA YADA with Wolves on the package at the local pet supply because they had it outside on a skid as damaged goods for ten bucks a bag, not because it's Blue anything or the Wolves on the package. It was ten bucks for a $40 bag of kibble, that's why.
My dog gets the best!