The Case AGAINST Raw Frozen Pet Foods—Dr. R. Wysong (the original article)
For some 25 years I have alerted the public to the dangers of exclusively feeding heat processed foods. Companion animal feeding has progressed - actually digressed - from table scraps and real foods the family could spare to today's "100 % complete" processed foods in primarily kibble form, with some canned and semi-moist also available. The foods appear to be scientific and improved, but they're far worse for the animals. Not only is nutrient value diminished by heat, but a spectrum of toxins is created. Additionally, the singular feeding of processed food has led to the spurious "100% complete and balanced" claim that is both logically and scientifically flawed.
SRF Response – For the last 25 years hasn’t Dr Wysong has been selling heat processed dry food?? We agree that the labeling as complete and balanced according to AAFCO regulations is flawed because there is much more involved with nutritional content than simply measuring protein, fat and fiber content. We believe this because protein and caloric content can evolve from ingredients that are not from sources beneficial or readily bio-available to pets. Historically commercial pet foods have been developed from human food bi-products. This is why, up until recently, most pet food companies were owned by human cereal food processors like Nabisco, Standard Brands, Nestle, Ralston and many others. A smart guy said” why don’t we run that waste back through the extruder and make a kibble for dogs to eat”. Dogs wouldn’t eat it because they didn’t want to eat corn and wheat so they coated it with yellow grease, tallow and rendered digest and dogs ate it growing obese and loosing immune system properties. No wonder most all dogs life span started to shorten after WW2 when commercial dry and canned pet foods became popular.
We do not deny the apparent Wysong contradiction. We have long taught that if people follow Dr. Wysong’s advice perfectly, they need not feed any commercial pet food—even Wysong’s. However, our world is not ideal. People are not about to turn their pets loose into the wild to seek their most natural food. Nor are most people going to home prepare raw foods mimicking prey. Most are going to seek convenient packaged products. Thus, part of Wysong’s activities is to produce the least compromised foods possible, including raw diets. Wysong does not just produce heat processed foods as SRF implies. In fact, it is Dr. Wysong who introduced the concept of raw food feeding to the pet food industry…and to SRF. Therefore, most of the arguments made in the SRF rebuttal do not apply to Wysong.
This rebuttal is not to suggest that processed pet foods are the ideal diet, it is to give balance and perspective regarding SRF’s incorrect and exaggerated claims about pet foods other than theirs in order to promote their own commercial interests.
For example, pet foods other than theirs are not, as SRF claims, made of “waste” and “by-products,” in the sense the public would normally interpret these terms: useless and harmful junk fit only for a toxic waste dump or land fill.
Most pet foods are comprised of highly nutritious ingredients and, although not “human grade,” are far superior to most human foods. Humans would consider much of the natural diet of carnivores—the entire carcass of their prey—waste and by-product, yet this is the most healthful diet of all. White flour, white sugar, white salt, and white oils may seem pure, clean, and wholesome for human consumption, but they are nutrient impoverished. White flour and white rice with the by-product brans removed can create serious diseases that have killed thousands, such as Beri Beri. The “waste” bran had all the important nutrients and vitamins. Other discards from the human food industry can also be highly nutritious. For example, chicken by products—bones, organs, entrails, meat trimmings, digests—are far more nutritious than a “human grade” white chicken breast (or “human grade” twinkies, wieners, Fruit Loops, etc.), and a lot less costly too.
Pet foods other than SRF are not made of corn and wheat coated with “grease” and other unspeakables. Not only is this not true, as anyone can discern by reading the label of modern quality pet foods, but SRF’s undocumented claim of decreased life span of pets since WW2 is untrue as well. Carnivores in the wild, given a sufficient supply of prey, have the most robust and long-lived health. That was not the state of pets prior to WW2. If anything, canning, baking, and extruding pet foods afforded most pets with a better opportunity for adequate (not to be confused with ideal) nutrition and longer life. Many people have used Wysong heat processed foods through generations of animals (contrary to our advice, but done because of ease and economy) and have had remarkable success with health (see testimonials).
Grains and food processing are, in fact, responsible for the burgeoning human population around the world. Although the best human diet is that which we could find in the wild, as the wild has run out, and agriculture (corn, wheat, etc.) took over, there has been an increased average life span. Although food abundance and heat processing is in large part responsible for this, such foods are, admittedly, not ideal. But neither are they the devil as SRF implies.
The reality of our world is that the grain food supply has taken population beyond the earth’s natural carrying capacity. To sustain the present population of people and pets requires aggressive agriculture and prudent use of all food materials (including highly nutritious human food “waste” and “by-products”) until a real solution for sustainability is found and enacted. Not only that, it is unethical and inhumane to raise animals for food and harvest only those parts that are cosmetically pleasing to us and discard the rest. It’s like fishermen killing sharks, cutting off their fins for soup, and then throwing the body back in the ocean.
Expensive, high energy consuming SRF-type frozen pet foods made only of cosmetically sounding ingredients do not address these realities and ethical concerns.
Entrepreneurs have seized upon this information to create a spate of raw frozen (RF) foods to capture a market niche and to fill the demand from consumers wanting a raw alternative to standard heat processed canned, semi-moist and dried pet foods. This market trend, as with most others, may begin with some truth (raw food is the best food) but gets distorted, if not perverted, once economic opportunity enters the picture. This paper will examine the rationale of these products, their economics and dangers. A more intelligent and healthy alternative will be proposed.