AVMA blasted for new policy on raw diets
Delegates of the American Veterinary Medical Association voted overwhelmingly last week to adopt a policy encouraging people to avoid feeding their dogs a raw meat diet.
They they went on to attend the AVMA’s four-day convention in San Diego, which featured a performance by Smash Mouth and a party on the USS Midway — all sponsored by, among others, makers of dry dog food.
A lot of people are finding that a little fishy.
An AVMA wrap-up of the meeting says the new policy — which it notes has “certainly been a controversial topic” — was approved last Thursday.
After discussion, the AVMA House of Delegates approved a slightly amended version of the proposed policy on feeding raw or undercooked animal-source protein diets to pets. Instead of using the words “never feed,” the proposed policy was amended to read “avoid feeding.”
(My mind sees no distinction between the two, other than the latter sounding slightly less bossy.)
While the AVMA has said scientific research is behind the decision, comments on the AVMA website criticize not just the soundness of the policy, but whether the sole reason for it relates to the funding the AVMA receives from big dog food companies, like Hills and Purina.
Said one commenter: “Please know that I will be having a discussion with my vet about membership in the AVMA, which is voluntary. I will make sure she knows that I have NO respect for an organization that bases it’s recommendations not on sound science (there have been NO studies on raw vs kibble diets from a canine health perspective), but on the all mighty dollar. So I’ll take my dollars to a vet that believes as I do, that the AVMA is not an organization to support.”
Another called the policy “nothing more than a Hail-Mary pass for a PFI desperate to hold onto their profits and using every bit of leverage they can to do so (how pathetic the AVMA allowed themselves to be so used). It will, I believe, make spreading the word about raw feeding more difficult in the short term… but the truth will prevail in the end.”
Another commenter, who likes capitalizing for emphasis, wrote: “Why don’t you just LOOK at who the ‘sponsors’ of the AVMA Convention are? On the FRONT PAGE of your ‘newsletter’ brief on the convention is a 1/8 PAGE ad from – who else? PURINA! You are all NOTHING more than PAID OFF CRIMINALS! I hope the Illinois State Attorney General and the IRS see fit to become involved. You are NOT a Non-Profit Organization, you are a SHILL for Big pet Food manufacturers (Purina and Hills in particular) … The AVMA has ZERO credibility and I will NOT patronize any vet who is a member. If that means I have to travel, then so be it.”
The final outcome of the vote was 90.9% in favor of the amended resolution, the AVMA said.
According to the AVMA website, all delegates in attendance were requested to disclose any potential conflicts of interest, such as connections to dog food companies, before the vote. The AVMA says that is standard procedure in such matters.
“Please keep in mind that this policy is NOT a ban on raw foods for pets,” the website notes, “and it is not a regulation that requires veterinarians (regardless of whether they’re AVMA members or not) to comply, or even agree with it.
“It’s not a debate on the healthiness of or risks associated with raw foods versus other commercial pet foods. Nor is it an attempt to force a ban or restrict pet owners’ rights to feed their pets how and what they want.”
What is it then, one might ask. To point to the risks of one type of dog food and ignore the dangers of another (like the risks of bloating and the nutritional lack of many a dry dog food) might be a good strategy for fundraising, but it’s not good policy when it comes to consumers and dogs.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: american veterinary medical association, animals, association, avma, conflict of interest, consumers, convention, dog food, dogs, feeding, fund raising, house of delegates, influence, meat, non-profit, nonprofit, pets, pfi, policy, public-private, raw, raw diet, san diego, smash mouth, sponsors, undercooked, uss midway, veterinarians, veterinary