• Petfood and Social Media: What's Trending?

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    Jessica Taylor, managing editor of Petfood Industry, searches Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and the blogosphere for what's being tweeted and talked about. Are your company's products and practices being put on blast? How do you add your voice to the social media conversation?

    The AVMA's recent raw petfood recommendation has consumers in an uproar

    Aug 13, 2012 By Jessica Taylor

    The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently passed a new resolution discouraging the feeding of raw petfood diets to dogs and cats due to human health concerns like Salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria that can easily be transmitted by handling the raw food or through contact with the animal's feces. The AVMA stressed that feeding raw food is especially dangerous in homes with children, elderly people or people with weak immune systems.

    Twitter users quickly picked up on the AVMA's recommendation, flooding the site with links to the policy announcement, as well as links to petitions to have the recommendation reversed. Here are some examples of choice tweets, with choice words:

    • Vets in the pocket of Nestle, P&G, and Hills are trying to ban RawDiet for pets! Tell the AVMA to back off! #pets #p2 
      Tweeted by AndBussiere via web • Aug 07, 2012
    • RT @Collarways: AVMA passed policy against raw food for cats & dogs last week. A real backward step in feeding pets for health 
      Tweeted by Daisysdogdeli via Twitter for iPhone • Aug 07, 2012
    • @ErinLange RT @tuftsvet: Considering the raw food diet? Beware of the downsides, says board-certified pet nutritionist Dr. Lisa Freeman 
      Tweeted by Skelletore via Mobile Web • Aug 09, 2012
    • Newsletter is out! Feature article 'Is Raw Food the Right Choice for Your Pet. Discusses #AMVA policy #doghealth 
      Tweeted by Carna4natural via web • Aug 09, 2012

    Think these sort of tweets are few and far between? Think again. Since August 1st, 2012, the phrase 'raw pet food' has been tweeted 383 times and the hashtag #raw used 50 times. 'AVMA' has been tweeted over 200 times since the beginning of the month, with the #AVMA being used almost 30.

    More startling, I think, is the lack of response from our industry. While @WHOLEDOGJOURNAL, @AVMAVETS and @AVMAJOURNALS have all thrown their 2 cents into the ring, not a mention appears from a single petfood manufacturer, whether raw producer or commercial. This seems like a missed oppurtunity for our industry to stop the spread of misinformation and to educate pet parents on ingredients, safe food-handling and the health of not only their pets, but themselves.

    "The Internet tells [pet owners] raw food is the best thing to feed, and if they love their dog, this is what they should be feeding them, and so I hope people research it more and, you know, make an informed decision if that's what they want to feed," Dr. Asley Hughes of Friendship Hospital for Animals said about the recent resolution. "I think it's about discussing your feeding choices with your veterinarian and working out a system and a way of feeding that works for you and your pet."

    Isn't it our responsibility to make sure the people buying and feeding our products to their animals are informed by more than just Retweeted gossip and a few, social media-savvy bloggers? What's your company's opinion on the AVMA's raw petfood recommendation? It's about time you shared it!


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      You probably haven't heard much from dry dog food manufacturers because this is a coup for them. Eliminate the competition with a higher authority. Its great for them. It really is no suprise that this position was taken by the AVMA. Virtually every vet in the US sells science diet and or royal canine or some other conventionally processed dog food. Only a handful recommend raw because they haven't found a way to profit from it yet. Interesting that dry dog food companies including the veterinary recommended specialty lines and self proclaimed industry nutrition leader, Purina has had more recalls then the raw dog food manufacturers combined and then some. The last recent dog food recall was once again dry dog food and contamination was spread to humans. I could find no such recall related to raw diets. So it is pretty clear that human health is not the impetuous here for the AVMA's decision. The veterinary industry is going to protect its profits and this will help them do that. Handling meat of any kind these days can be a potential threat to sick, elderly and the young. There is more threat from the human food chain. This is so ridiculous that it really doesn't merit a response, but since the general public does tend to listen to their vets, though most have little to no nutritional training, those of us that do advocate a natural species appropriate diet for our beloved dogs need to respond with vigor and with facts. Time to rally the troops and press forward. The blood-letting medical practitioners of the dark ages often shut down any new thoughts, ideas or practices in healing that they felt would undermine their power base and authority. Some things never change. As always, follow the money. This recommendation is purely about money not health. Show me the poor sick humans that have been exposed to contaminated raw dog food bacteria that have led the AMVA to this humanitarian decision? Then show me the list of sick or dead animals (dogs, cats, horses, etc) and humans from the contaminated dry or canned pet food products in the last 10 years. Hummmmmmmmmm!!!!!

      Posted by : (Email) on 08/15/2012

      I'm VERY disappointed to see that Petfood Industry and its managing editor are doing such a sloppy job of reporting. The AVMA is NOT discouraging the feeding of raw diets. It is discouraging the feeding of raw diets that *contain pathogens*. As the makers of the top 5 selling raw diets have advanced pathogen control systems in place, as well as test and hold programs (all batches are tested and none enter distribution until negative test results are returned), these products are perfectly acceptable to the AVMA. There are additional raw diet companies other than the top 5 who also have pathogen-free products in place. There are many other issues to be considered about raw diets, but the industry understands that it can't be the only segment of food products - human or pet - that are allowed to contain pathogens. Kibble that contains pathogens is not acceptable or legal either. So this is all really old news. For an industry leader like Petfood Industry not to recognize and report this important distinction (that it's NOT raw diets at issue, just raw diets that contain pathogens) is, as I said, very disappointing. You are guilty of spreading the same unqualified, misinformation that you lament in your blog. The raw diet industry would appreciate seeing an immediate clarification in the above Petfood Industry blog and in the news stories it has published. Melinda Miller President North American Raw Petfood Association

      Posted by : Melinda Miller (Email) on 08/15/2012

      Jessica: I have shoes older than you and have owned dogs before you were even born. Dogs are carnivores and deserve a proper diet for which they have been designed by nature -- which is not any variation of processed kibble. Jerry.

      Posted by : (Email) on 08/15/2012

      Melinda Miller is wrong. The new AVMA anti-raw policy already is being used by pro-kibble-peddling vets to scare their clients away from even thinking about feeding raw food. If the AVMA seriously was concerned about the healthful feeding of dogs and cats, it would condemn dried-out corn starch kibble like Hill's Science Diet, but that will never happen, because Hill's provides the pet nutrition education at most vet schools. As far as companion animal nutrition goes at vet schools: garbage in, garbage out.

      Posted by : (Email) on 08/18/2012

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