Stop Prematurely Killing Cats and Dogs With Tainted Pet Food

Target: Robert M. Califf, Commissioner of Food and Drugs

Goal: Enforce stricter regulations on pet food to curb pet obesity and premature death.

Pet obesity in the United States has reached an all time high. More than half of all dogs and cats across the nation are classified as overweight by their veterinary healthcare provider. Obesity might not have the same social stigma and emotional repercussions that it does in humans, but tends to affect companion animals in other ways. Obese dogs and cats typically live much shorter lives than do their non-obese counterparts, and are at an increased risk for serious health complications, such as most types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and osteoarthritis.

While there are many factors contributing to pet obesity, one of the main issues is that many traditional dog and cat foods do not have the proper nutrients and calories–especially as per the animal’s breed and level of activity–required to sustain a healthy weight and overall lifestyle. Although pet food is technically regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), there is no standard procedure for regulation.

The FDA doesn’t typically provide pre-market approval for any pet food–they do not set some “high-standard” for what is to be considered acceptable pet food– but rather inspects pet food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers to make sure that production is safe and sanitary. The FDA will also respond to complaints about certain brands or manufacturers, though pet food inspections are typically infrequent and rules only weakly enforced. The AAFCO, on the other hand, is in charge of setting regulations for pet and other animal feeds. However, these regulations only apply to nutritional adequacy labeling of pet food and do not pertain to the sourcing of ingredients used. After all, the AAFCO makes it very clear on their website that they only endorse pet foods, and that there is no such thing as AAFCO approved pet food.

There are many loopholes in labeling requirements for pet foods, and many manufacturers take advantage of this. While pet foods might be marketed as including fresh, natural ingredients, most pet food is highly processed, containing questionable–and oftentimes, unhealthy–ingredients. There is little to no regulation about what, exactly, goes into our pet’s food. The government has found all types of waste products in animal foods, from animal excreta to pesticides and drug residues. They have even found that euthanized pets can make their way into animal kibble, having discovered pentobarbital–the toxic drug used in euthanasia procedures–in over 30 different brands of pet food.

Sign this petition to ensure that dog and cat food is subject to the same levels of scrutiny and high level standards as human food is.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Commissioner Califf,

Pet obesity has become a major problem throughout the United States, with more than half of all companion cats and dogs classified as overweight by trusted veterinary healthcare providers. Obesity in pets leads to a series of health complications, including most types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, as well as an overall shorter life expectancy. One of the main factors contributing to this epidemic is that traditional pet foods do not contain the proper nutrients and calories required to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

The reality of the pet food manufacturing industry is rather bleak. While both the FDA and the AAFCO are tasked with regulating dog and cat food, regulations are often weakly enforced and only really pertain to the nutritional adequacy labeling of pet food and not to the sourcing of ingredients used. In fact, pet foods have been discovered to contain a whole slew of disturbing ingredients, from bird and roach excreta, to toxic pesticides and the matter of euthanized dogs and cats. Still, the many loopholes that exist in pet food labeling requirements allow manufacturers to market their products as supremely “healthy” and “all-natural.” Pet foods, as they currently exist, are extremely misleading and falsely lead owners to believe that they are helping their pets when, in reality, they are only hurting them.

We are asking you, Mr. Califf, to please enforce stricter regulations for pet food and make sure the same high-level standards used in the production of human food are applied to pet food. After all, our pets are our family.

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Galawebdesign


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  • Sumeet Walia
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