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.
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?
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.
- Related Links:
** No Evidence One Dog Food Is Better Than Another
** Humane Society: Continuing to Rip off the Rubes
** Treat Me Like a Human
** Feed Me Like a Wolf
** A Brief History of Dog Food
** Get Over It: Bagged Dog Food is Fine for Fido
** What the Hell is Corn Gluten Meal?
** Dog Food: Let's Try Science
** Dog Food Secrets "They" Don't Want You To Know
** PETA, Pet Food and Wheat Gluten
** Murder by Can Opener
** Canned Beaver as Dog Food?
** What is the Work of Dogs in this Country?
** You Make an Iditarod Winner with Good Dog Food
** "Trencher Fed" Was Mostly Garbage Dog Food
** Wysong the Crackpot Dog Food Maker
** Are You Killing Your Dog With Salt?