The following is from the Raw Meaty Bones newsletter, volume 4:2, released on
Monday, April 12, 2004. For subscription information and to read the newsletter
in its entirely, go to
Bones Newsletter. This newsletter is published by the
Australian veterinarian Dr. Tom Lonsdale who wrote the book
Meaty Bones Promote Health. This book, which is full of scientific
references, explains how commercial pet foods damage our pets' health and how
our dogs and cats are designed biologically to thrive on a diet of raw meaty
bones. Dr. Lonsdale has been unsuccessful in getting the veterinary profession
to stop promoting commercial pet foods so he wrote this book to inform the
public of the health risks of commercial pet foods. For more information, see
For those of you who think your veterinarian is knowledgeable about nutrition
because they studied it in veterinary school, the following description of a
nutrition course by a current veterinary student may be illuminating:
A FIRST YEAR VETERINARY STUDENT COMMENTS
OK, we just started Nutrition on Monday and it's already absolutely unbearable.
I guess I am just hopelessly naive, but I'm not sure I actually believed until I
got there, that they could think it was worth anyone's time to devote a whole
class to pouring dog or cat food out of a bag and into a bowl. And that a woman
who spent seventeen years of post-high school education in veterinary nutrition
studies could honestly think that commercial food is the only viable option to
feed pets. She's not even making an attempt to teach us anything except how to
evaluate dry foods, how to read dry food ingredient lists, how to do all these
ridiculous calculations about Kcal, resting energy requirement, etc.
We had two hours of it today, once at eight and once at four. I didn't go to the
eight o-clock class, because every time I go, it literally ruins the rest of my
day. But, two friends, one raw-feeding and the other doing her research to
start, spoke to the professor at the end of the class about some things she said
that they questioned or didn't agree with. They tried to pose their questions
politely, but apparently the conversation degenerated pretty quickly.
One of the things they asked about was her mantra, which she regularly asks the
class to _chant_, "pets need nutrients, not ingredients", meaning, of course,
that it doesn't matter what's in the food as long as the companies guarantee
certain nutritional content. My friends brought up some non-species-specific
ingredients, like corn, soy, wheat, etc. and asked if she didn't see a problem
with that. Her reply was that corn gets a bad rap, that it's a perfect healthy
ingredient, and that Native Americans survived on it well enough, so why not
dogs? (I'm not joking). She also told them that high cooking temps/extrusion
doesn't have any affect on the health of the food at all. When they mentioned
raw and some good results they'd seen with it, she said that George Burns smoked
and drank every day and lived to be 100, but that didn't mean those were healthy
things to do.
She also said that raw is dangerous because of food borne pathogens, referencing
an E coli. 01:57 outbreak at a Jack In the Box as proof, even though that deals
with _humans_ eating _cooked_ meat?!? She then told them that they're just being
influenced by fad diets on the Internet with no science behind them, and that
she shouldn't just believe everything
they hear or read. When they tried to stand up for themselves, she fell back on
the "I'm one of only 50 certified veterinary nutritionists in the country" as if
that ended the argument. They were both so furious they could hardly speak when
I got there.
Then, for our second hour this afternoon, she taught us the nine steps she uses
to evaluate a commercial food if a client wants her opinion. See what you think
1. The bag, box, or can should contain the phrase "complete and balanced".
2. Products that contain this claim must also follow with one of two AAFCO
statements, i.e. the product was tested through feeding trials or the
3. The label should contain a toll free phone # so you can ask the company
questions if necessary.
4. The product should have a digestibility of at least 80% (you may have to call
the company to get this figure).
5. If you are feeding a dry product, it should contain a preservative (all of
which are completely safe according to her).
6. Reputation of the company.
8. Animals require nutrients not ingredient (this one has about three paragraphs
explaining why corn, soy and other ingredients are perfectly suitable for dogs).
9. How is the pet doing while consuming the product?
That's it. Nothing about what the ingredients are, ingredient sources. As long
as it fits the above criteria, it's fine in her book. The really ridiculous
thing is, she keeps contradicting herself. She told us about the experiment
where they made a food out of leather boots, old tires, peanut hulls, whatever,
that met the pet food companies nutrient requirements, but then she stressed
that she thought Purina is a really quality brand of food that has an
unjustified poor reputation (she's
basing this on the fact that they claim their digestibility is 84%, which is
supposed to be good, I guess). She also talked about ingredient splitting and
how bad it is, but then showed us several labels of acceptable (to her) pet
foods that had five or six split fractions of one ingredient.
I could go on with this forever, but I think this letter's long enough already
:) I just need to blow off some steam; I think I'm going to have a sneer
permanently affixed to my face after a couple months of that class.
According to the
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) there
are 32 veterinary medical colleges in the United States and Canada. Our
sampling of nine veterinary school undergraduate curriculum requirements
found only 5/9 schools required 3 credits in animal nutrition
while 4/9 schools required 0
credits in animal nutrition to graduate. Total credits to
graduate varied from 46-79 per school. Source:
We realize the rigorous course work to become a veterinarian are very
demanding. But in order to holistically understand what is going on in
an animals body, we wish veterinary schools would put more emphasis on
animal nutrition to better serve our clients.