The Los Angeles City Board of Animal Services Commissioners received a proposal to feed only vegan dog food in the city’s six dog shelters, and voted to conduct a feasibility study.
The proposal stated that the dog food currently being fed to the dogs, Canidae Life Stages Multi-Protein, and other meat-based dog foods include ingredients that can be harmful to dogs’ health. However, Canidae disagrees with this assertion.
“Up to 50 percent of commercially available meat-based dog foods, including what these shelter dogs are currently being fed, are comprised of ‘meat meal’ and ‘byproducts,” Armaiti May, a veterinarian and part of the group proposing the change to vegan dog food, stated in the proposal to the commissioners. “These include various body parts (such as beaks, brain, spinal cord tissue, bones, lungs, intestinal tracts), slaughterhouse wastes, 4-D meat (from dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals), supermarket rejects.”
She noted that the Canidae dog food currently being used, contains chicken meal, turkey meal and lamb meal.
Canidae’s response to meat meal claim
“Our response to the comment that our food contains ‘meat meal’ and ‘by-products’ is that Canidae products, including the Canidae All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula currently being fed at the LA County Animal Shelters, do not contain ‘meat meal’ or ‘by-products,’” Erin Hannon, marketing manager for Canidae.
“Our Multi-Protein Formula contains chicken meal, turkey meal and lamb meal, which are different than meat meal or by-products,” said Hannon. “All of these ingredients are clearly defined by AAFCO, the regulatory body for pet food in the United States. When the protein source is named, as in the case with chicken meal, turkey meal or lamb meal, this protein is the only protein allowed to be included in the ingredients. It cannot be a category meal like meat meal (i.e. chicken meal cannot contain by-products or any animal protein other than chicken).
“While chicken meal, turkey meal and lamb meal are pet food ingredients and not human food ingredients, they do originate from animals that are processed for human consumption and are USDA inspected,” said Hannon.
“We here at Canidae, as well as many veterinarians, believe that an animal protein-based dry food provides a complete and balanced diet for dogs and cats,” she said. “While we understand that not everyone is obligated to hold the same beliefs as far as what, exactly, is best to feed their pet, it is important to note that Canidae cares deeply about the quality of the ingredients we use.”
Los Angeles Animal Services’ response to vegan dog food proposal
“The Board of Animal Services Commissioners voted in favor of a feasibility study regarding plant-based and meat-based dog food,” Brenda Barnette, general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services, told Petfood Industry. “I support our Chief Veterinarian's opinion that dogs enter our shelters in a variety of conditions [and] need meat-based food. The idea of feeding dogs a plant-based diet is certainly intriguing, but I will want to see the scientific reports that we are preparing for the Commissioners to be able to make an informed decision. The cost analysis will be part of the feasibility study and we will also need to see how that would fit in the City's procurement process.”