It has recently come to my attention that the Board of Health is proposing new regulations on raw pet food, which will transfer the permitting from King County Records and Licensing to the Board of Health —- which will mean that businesses will have to purchase a special permit in order to sell raw pet food. This will affect pet shops, kennels, grooming stations, animal shelters, doggie daycares, and the like. This increased cost is likely to cause many of these establishments to simply stop offering raw pet food. I, for one, am opposed to such a one-sided regulation. I wrote the following letter to the Board and City Council:
Good morning. I am a resident of King County. I wanted to take a minute and express my opinions and experiences in feeding my pets raw food.
I have a Great Dane / Labrador mix dog aged 11 and a half years; I have been feeding raw food for her entire life. My dog, Chloe, is a giant breed, weighing 120 pounds. During her first year of life our veterinarian gave us a lot of advice and quite a few warnings about owning such a large dog. Her expected life span was set at 8-10 years, and the vet recommended a regular course of joint supplements after she matured, to be followed by a regime of heart medications as she got older (apparently, giant breed dogs commonly have heart problems due to their size).
I am a firm believer in “eating close to nature” and am thoroughly disgusted by mass-manufactured dry pet foods. I chose to feed my pet a natural diet, one that her body is uniquely designed to metabolize. Like humans, domestic dogs and cats have not evolved to properly digest and thrive on the heavily processed “food” that manufacturers try to cram down our throats and spend billions of dollars advertising.
Chloe thrived on her raw food diet, progressing through life with plenty of energy and a healthy coat. She never got sick, never got injured; we have three kids that have grown up with her and Chloe is an integral member of our family. She aged gracefully into her golden years and is fast approaching age 12. She continues to enjoy good health: her joints are sound, her coat is still thick, her teeth are healthy. Our vet expressed amazement at her last checkup, that she was, “able to get around so well.” Chloe has never been on any medications or supplements; she gets all she needs from her natural, raw diet of meat, fruits, and vegetables.
We have never, in almost twelve years of feeding raw diets to our pets, experienced any negative impact whatsoever from feeding this raw diet – not on our family, not on our pets. The company that I purchase our raw food from provides a tremendous service for me, allowing me to feel good about what I feed my pets.
I heartily opposed the proposed regulations because they are discriminating against raw pet food retailers, to the point where many will cease to offer raw diets and consumers will be robbed of the option to easily feed a natural diet to their beloved companions. This is a common response to heavy-handed regulations that are not based on sound evidence. Rather than try and wage a war against the regs, retailers will simply pull the product and push more of the mass-produced garbage because of the advertising dollars behind it. Don’t let this become an advertiser’s war. I, for one, won’t buy it.
Pet food should be equally regulated. Dry food should be held to the same exact standards as raw diets. Don’t allow them to use grain fillers (dogs and cats cannot digest corn or rice; those are simply empty fillers designed to bulk up the food so they can scrimp on the nutritional ingredients) or questionable meat sources (rumors of rendering works meat byproducts make my stomach turn when I think about people feeding it to their pets), and update the labeling laws (for example, don’t allow them a ‘grace period’ for ingredients that may or may not be in the food at the time it was made). Commercial pet food is little more than garbage, and I can’t believe that you would support uneven regulations that single out raw diets when they are far superior in nutrition, digestibility, and sustainability. My two pets stand beside me, healthy and in full support of raw diets. Commercial dry foods are, for the most part, about as healthy as Styrofoam peanuts with some chicken stock drizzled on. Please don’t take away my option to provide a better life for my pets, by unfairly pushing raw foods out of the marketplace.
Thank you for your time.