Harrison’s Bird Foods, a family of certified organic, non-GMO formulated diets created by top avian veterinarians and nutritionists, spread the word about the importance of whole, organic food for optimal bird health while exhibiting at ExoticsCon this month in Atlanta, GA. ExoticsCon is the leading educational gathering of avian, exotic small mammal, reptilian, and amphibian and fish veterinary professionals.
As a special feature of the five-day conference, Harrison’s Bird Foods and the Avian and Wildlife Lab at the University of Miami sponsored and hosted a free movie night featuring Toad People, a documentary about communities in British Columbia that are taking action to stand up for at-risk species including Western toads, barn owls, mountain caribou, Oregon spotted frogs, and more. The documentary was produced by the Wilderness Committee, a grassroots environmental nonprofit organization with more than 60,000 members and supporters working to preserve wilderness and wildlife across Canada. To see a trailer of the film, visit http://toadpeople.org/trailer/.
“We’re excited to bring our message to leading veterinary professionals and other animal care providers that, just like in human health, whole animal health can be achieved only through whole, intact foods grown without the use of toxic, synthetic pesticides,” said Greg Harrison, DVM. Harrison, a certified avian specialist who created Harrison’s Bird Foods, the world’s first commercially available certified organic, non-GMO pet food, added, “Today, people understand what a difference organic, non-GMO, nutrient-dense food can make in their own health and well-being, and naturally they want that for their family pets, as well.”
A fierce proponent for organic agriculture in the Midwest, Harrison’s Bird Foods – along with its consumer-facing brand of premium certified organic bird seed blends for wild and backyard birds, Wild Wings – works closely with Grain Place Foods, a pioneering, 350-acre certified organic farm in eastern Nebraska, and other producers to source organically grown whole grains and seeds for formulations.
Conventional pet foods are often made with genetically modified ingredients and many if not most conventional pet foods contain residues of glyphosate, a widely used synthetic herbicide that has been linked to cancer, Harrison notes. More and more pet owners are seeking alternatives, he says, because they understand that high-quality, organic foods are effective preventive health care.
Natural pet food sales reached $8.2 billion in 2016 and now make up 25 percent of the pet food market in the United States, according to Packaged Facts. Another report, The U.S. Market for Natural Pet Products, predicts the industry will grow by 11 percent to reach $14 billion by 2021. Packaged Facts found that 72 percent of pet owners buy natural and organic pet food because they believe the nutritional quality is better.
“We want all veterinarians and pet parents to understand what a difference proper nutrition and clean food can make, and events like ExoticsCon are perfect for that conversation,” Harrison said.
Pet owners want a lot from their pet food brands. They want primary proteins that suit what they believe is best for their animal. They want grains or they don't. They want something customized, but it has to be easy to understand.
Constraints and crises, like those experienced in 2020, help drive innovation and sustainability offers context.