Friday, July 30, 2021

The Buzz on Insects in Dog Food


The Buzz on Insects in Dog Food

Carlotta Cooper

Do you wonder why it’s so difficult to find a dog food that’s right for your dog? Or why the information you read about dog foods seems to be aimed at other people and not you? Maybe it’s because it is aimed at other people. Maybe we’re reading information put out by public relations groups and it’s not true at all.

I’ve been writing about dog food for over 20 years online, in books, for companies, for blogs, but pet food is always changing. In order to try to stay current with the latest news, I get newsletters from farm groups, the feed industry, regulatory bodies, the pet food industry, pet food processors, and half a dozen other groups involved with getting raw materials made into dog food and ready for people to purchase for their dogs.

Do you know what many of these groups are discussing at the moment? Sustainability and premium packaging. Making pet food packaging more sustainable. How often do you worry about these things when you’re trying to choose a food for your dog? Are they even in your top 10 concerns when you buy a dog food?

I also read lots of articles aimed at trying to convince me that insect protein is the greatest thing since kibble was invented. Who exactly is demanding the use of insects in dog food? Do you know any dog owners or breeders who get up in the morning thinking, “Oh, wow. I hope they hurry up and make that food with the insect protein!”

In January 2021, the Ingredient Definition Committee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) approved black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) as an ingredient in adult maintenance dog food and treats. Full approval is expected by August 2021. Use in cat food is expected to be approved in 2022.

The European Union is already ahead of the U.S. in approving the use of insects in dog foods as a source of protein. Insects have been on the market in other countires in dog foods for several years. Pet food giants such as Nestle Purina and Mars have joined the competition with Purina launching Beyond Nature’s Protein in Switzerland in November 2020. It includes black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) as one of its protein sources. Mars announced the introduction of its food, Lovebug, in the UK in April 2021, also using black soldier fly larvae (BSFL).

(If you are wondering why I continue to spell out black soldier fly larvae along with the initials BSFL, it’s because I want to be completely certain that you recognize this name and the letters if you see them on a package of dog food.)

Along with black soldier flies, crickets and mealworms are also being used as insect proteins in dog foods. At least one company in France that produces mealworms also makes human food ingredients made from mealworms. EnviroFlight, based in the U.S., has announced plans to develop a research and development center in North Carolina in 2022 to develop its production of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL).

In Canada, Enterra has opened a large, commercial-scale black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) research and production facility in British Columbia.

The entry of Nestle Purina into the pet food/insect market has drawn attention to this pet food category but companies have been moving in this direction for years. Why?

Analysts for suggest that the idea of using insect protein is because of its sustainability.

The main reasons for this increasingly [sic] popularity revolve around sustainability, first in the sense of being able to provide sustainable supplies of food, especially proteins, for pets and humans as populations increase globally and demand for protein rises in tandem. In terms of broader sustainability, including impact on the environment, insect production has been shown to use substantially fewer resources in terms of land, water and, to a lesser extent, energy, and also to create much less waste, than traditional livestock production.

But there’s more. Insect excrement, called “frass,” is also a viable product for converting to bio-gas. And insects that are raised for protein can be fed by-products from human food that could otherwise go to waste. For example, a company called Beta Hatch has conducted research that shows mealworms can safely consume grains contaminated with mycotoxins. They can turn materials that would otherwise have to be dumped into a revenue source for farmers and pet food companies.

Many of these companies are banking heavily on consumer acceptance – even demand – for insect protein in pet foods. Where do they get this idea? How many of you would be willing to buy dog food if you know it uses insects as a source of protein? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the public would be happy to buy dog food made from insects. I just seem to know a lot of people who have spent the last few years worrying about feeding their dogs foods with the best ingredients they can find. They worry about how food is made, where it comes from, who handles it, and every single ingredient. Now, suddenly, those same people are going to be willing to feed their dogs black soldier fly larvae (BSFL), crickets, and mealworms instead of lamb, fish, and bison?

Pet food is projected to be the second largest category in terms of consumption of insect protein by 2030 with pets consuming 150,000 metric tons.

At this time, researchers are looking to prove the nutritional benefits of insect protein for dogs and cats. This is part of the regulatory approval process but they will need to do this anyway if they hope to convince people to buy their foods. They are also engaged in consumer research to determine if pet owners in North America and Europe will accept insects as ingredients in pet foods. Perhaps they should have done some of this research before they moved ahead so rapidly.

Before you believe some of the headlines about the success of insect protein in pet food, remember that the researchers are still doing the nutritional research; and the companies are still engaged in consumer research to see if the foods would be accepted.

According to one University of Pennsylvania study, American pet owners said that they would be more willing to consider a pet food that contained an ingredient such as insect flour versus dried whole insects. At the moment, many of the insect proteins being used or studied for pet food are in meal or oil form. All together, some 70 percent of the study participants said they would be “willing to try insects in some form.” Ah, but you know how studies can twist answers.

We found other surveys online that had very different responses. In one survey from 2018 that asked questions of people in 13 countries, people from eight of the 13 countries gave resounding “no” responses (Japan, Russia, Spain, India, Australia, UK, USA, and South Africa). In fact, the responses in those countries were labeled as “disgust” with the idea of eating insects. One country was tempted (Brazil). Four countries were willing to try (China, Thailand, Peru, Mexico). Males were more willing to try insects than females in most countries. The study included a total of 7800 consumers, with 630 participants per country.

One critic suggests that there is a political agenda behind this push to feed our dogs and cats insects.

What's the connection between insect protein, "fake meat" from plants, and lab-engineered "beef and chicken cultures?" The answer is, none of these has any long term data to prove that it's optimal or healthy for canines or felines. It's an example of the attitude that says "they're only dogs and cats, let's try it with them and see how it goes."

If this were only about new frontiers in the science of nutrition for humans and animals, it would seem like a reasonable and necessary exploration. We don't know what the near or far future brings, and science should move the needle forward to discover new food sources as future insurance, both for people and pets. But there is an element of politics on the plate here as well, and mixing politics with nutrition should give us pause.

The political agenda is one that originates from the radical philosophy epitomized by PETA and supported by many other so-called "animal rights"groups. This ideology openly advocates for the eventual elimination of all animal agriculture on planet Earth. After all, the reasoning goes, how can we in good conscience feed meat to our carnivorous companions when the planet is running out of food, and the evil meat industry is right up there with private automobiles as the perpetrator of planetary destruction?

The fact is, there is currently no worldwide "food shortage." Hunger is indeed a serious problem but it's caused by poor worldwide distribution, poverty, and government intervention, not a lack of production ...

Personally, I’m a pet food cynic. Politics may drive some groups. I usually tend to think that companies look at the bottom line. Using insect protein in pet foods must be vastly cheaper for pet food companies than buying meat protein or even peas, legumes, and lentils. Companies can toss around terms like “sustainability” as much as they like but I’m not feeding my dogs insects in order to fatten their bank accounts. I doubt that there is actually much of an outcry for insect protein in pet foods at all. Don’t believe everything you read online.

For the last 15 years or more, pet food marketers convinced many people that they needed to feed their dogs a grain-free diet, whether it was nutritionally appropriate for their dogs or not. Now some owners are facing a backlash with dogs experiencing a dietary form of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) that appears to be due to shunning grains. There was never any research to backup the switch to grain-free diets unless your dog actually had an allergy to a specific ingredient. Grains were needlessly vilified for more than a decade. It turns out that corn, which has been called a garbage ingredient and filler for years, is one of the best ingredients you can have in your dog’s food because it is a source of the amino acid compounds that your dog needs.

Before dog owners rush to embrace insect protein at the expense of more traditional forms of animal protein in their dog’s diet, let’s try to learn from this lesson. Wait for peer-reviewed, unbiased animal studies to prove that insect protein is beneficial for dogs and that it doesn’t come with harmful side effects later. Your dogs depend on you to make wise decisions for them. Their lives depend on you and what you feed them.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Bo Bengston, There You Go Again!

Bo Bengston is at it again. In 2014 we did an extensive report on his two blatant anti-breeder misanthropist opinion pieces printed in Best in Show Daily.*

Now, the malice monger is denigrating greyhound racing; a time-honored tradition and exactly what the dogs are bred for! Mr. Bengston, a long-time whippet breeder, owns the "Sighthound Review" journal and recently posted this opinion on the Facebook page for his magazine (My comments in bold): 

Several fanciers have asked why SR turned down paid advertising on behalf of the racing Greyhound business in Florida, one of the few states in the U.S. to not yet have outlawed it - although a proposition to do so may be put on the November ballot. We did offer to publish the ad provided that only hobby racing was promoted. This offer was rejected, naturally, since the group behind the ad represents the commercial Greyhound racing business.

And What is wrong with a commercial business? That's the American way! How else does one pay for kennel upkeep, dog food and veterinary bills? How does one afford show expenses, if you choose to show? And Hobby racing is OK, but commercial racing isn't? What's the difference? If racing is cruel, surely it's cruel regardless of whether or not money involved? Isn;t the risk of injury just the same? Accidents can happen anyplace or time, they don't happen only if wagering is involved. 

Anyone who knows Greyhounds will be aware that they love to run, even at the risk of serious injuries. We do not doubt that some individuals in the racing business take good care of their dogs, at least as long as they run profitably, although living conditions are often unacceptable. Also, although advances have been made in the re-homing of ex-racers, any activity that discards dogs not yet past half their lifespan can hardly be in it "for the love of the dogs."

How do you know what the living conditions are like in Florida kennels? Have you visited any? Since you live in California, I doubt it. How many who show their dogs re-home them once their show career is finished? Yep, LOTS of them. I suppose they don't love their dogs? What's wrong with giving your dog a great home once it's career is over, whether it's a show career or a racing career? Rehoming signals that the owners cares about the well being of the dog and wants it to have a happy home with love and attention. Oh, the horror!

However, what will ultimately convince anyone who loves Greyhounds that commercial dog racing must end is that the figures do not add up. Greyhound bitches on the average produce 6-8 puppies per litter, and those that do not make the grade as racers are discarded. How many thousands of Greyhounds that have been put to sleep in the past we'll never know, but it's a frightening number.

Proof, please, that puppies are being killed. Anyone can speculate. If they are only interested in money, why would they kill puppies who could be sold for a decent amount of money? And, if puppies go to homes, what's the problem?

I would like to believe that the individuals who submitted the ad were in good faith, naively believing in their own story. However, the abuse heaped upon me and Sighthound Review for refusing to publish the ad makes this difficult to believe.

Sounds to me like you are the one who naively believes a false narrative. How dare you insult others you don't even know! 

If this stance is unpopular and puts us on the same side as a few organizations we do not otherwise support, too bad. Commercial Greyhound racing must end; anyone who disagrees with that cannot honestly say they love dogs.

You,sir, are not the appointed judge or jury of other members of society. Go ahead and team up with HSUS, ASPCA and other groups that would take your own dogs from you in a minute, you would receive poetic justice as your fate. Unfortunately, it's our descendants who will suffer the effects of your foolishness. 

You wouldn't want bull fighting to be legal in the U.S., would you?

What an assinine comment. It doesn't even deserve an answer because it is so insanely stupid, but I'll try. You are equating the intentional infliction of physical injury and death with racing, which of course is a false narrative. Didn't you yourself admit greyhounds love to run? And since that is true, you yourself support "hobby racing" so gee,  maybe you support bullfighting too? Your twisted arguments are insane.

**** all comments, both in support and opposition to this post, are automatically Hidden from public view and deleted once the admin sees them. Anyone using abusive language or threatening statements will be immediately banned from the page and reported to Facebook***

Typical of all autocrats, no dissention or discussion is allowed. I can only hope and pray that your subscriptions dry up, your bank account withers away, and you have to worry about how to support yourself and your dogs. Maybe then you will view puppy sales and income from your dog hobby as most breeders a beneficial way to provide a service to your fellow citizens, and a necessary method to afford to keep your dogs.

*You can read "Best in Sanctimony here.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Waters Lights Fires

Threatens Nation's Dogs on her 80th Birthday
In the wake of public death threats against the nation's dogs, animal right activists were successful this week in persuading Congress to open an investigation into Maxine Waters for animal abuse and terrorist threats against dogs. Waters celebrated her 80th birthday with her supporters, a big cake, and enough candles to burn down the rest of the State of California. The camera was rolling, but bless her heart, she was apparently clueless due to age-related sight and hearing impairment.
When asked what she wished for her birthday, she mused "I think dogs do not deserve to walk our streets; they are racist, they are sexist, they collude with Vladimir Putin. Dogs should be removed. Impound them! Impound them!"
"With this sort of inspiration, I could take these dogs out tonight." Waters exclaimed as she blew out the candles on her birthday cake amid the applause of her half-dozen remaining supporters. "I can't stand these dogs out everywhere you go. No Peace No Sleep! Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. If you see any dog in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere. We're gonna win this battle; God is on our side!
Impound forty five! Impound forty-five! Impound forty five!"
Representatives from PETA, alarmed at this obvious call for killing America's dogs, immediately invoked support of the public, soliciting letters and signature on petitions demanding Waters be investigated for inciting animal cruelty by the public. Only PETA, the Humane Society of the US, and local dog pounds should be allowed to kill dogs, they maintain. Dog Pound Workers Local 666 concurred, stating "This is an egregious attempt to deprive dog pounds of their sole source of income."

Animal Abuse is a felony punishable by jail time. Had Waters' rant been directed simply toward human targets, it would likely have avoided the scrutiny of Congress.
The President responded today in a Tweet "Maxine Waters, the leader of the Democratic Party, is a very low IQ individual. Her brainless senile threats against our great supporters are one thing, but when she threatens the nation's dogs, that absolutely crosses the Red Line. She will Make America Weak Again, Big League!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

We Still Don't Get It!!

I've been absent from this blog for a while, going through some life changes, but still involved in fighting the good fight for protection of animal ownership. I read a couple of articles today about the threats to dog ownership. I have to shake my head in wonderment at how much we DON'T understand about the situation we are facing.

Both articles mention that we need to be on guard against the extremists who want to remove our rights. So far so good, right?

Not really.

The animal rights nuts have constructed a "divide and conquer" strategy for us. They have coined the term "responsible breeder" and pitted the "responsible" against the "irresponsible." And we have happily fallen right into their web.

Now of course, there is no definition of what is "responsible" and what isn't when it comes to dog breeding, and there never could be. 

Health and welfare standards are met? That should arguable be what we are going for, but of course, that's doesn't display our halos properly. We rush to point out that we register dogs, show dogs, health test dogs, breed only purebred dogs with consideration of generations of pedigrees, etc etc. 

That's all fine and dandy, and great for those who want to do it, but who says any of that is necessary to preserve my RIGHT to breed my dog in the way I see fit? Who is anyone to judge who is more "responsible" than anybody else??  

My goodness, we sure want to assure the animal rights folks that we are truly RESPONSIBLE.....although no one can reach that undefined benchmark, particularly when you are dealing with people who hate ALL breeders. The animal extremists will be happy to draw up guidelines to determine which responsible people can own and breed dogs. Aren't they awesome? And hey, we are happy to help put those nails in our own coffins.

But on to specifics of the articles I read. The first was an article in a recent "Dog News". The article starts out in a very accurate manner, talking about the "take no prisoners" attitudes of the animal rights groups; how you cannot negotiate with them, and how animal owners need to band together to tackle the threats head on. But then, the article takes a downhill turn. The author decries dogs in shelters, blaming the "problem" on "puppy mills" and "irresponsible breeders." Her only concern is that these darn IRRESPONSIBLE breeders might outlast those sainted RESPONSIBLE breeders. 

Major Eye Roll.

She then wastes the last half of her article advising the reader about how to answer questions from the media. Has the media ever asked your opinion? No? Mine either. And I've been involved in dog law issues for 12 years now. 

Next, we find a blog praising "responsible dog ownership and responsible breeders." Heck she even has a Facebook group with over 16,000 "likes." A situation in and of itself that tells us how much trouble we are in, if people are gullible enough to think that the "responsible breeders" in this world are anything other than those the Animal Rights crocodile eats last. 

This author recently wrote a blog article asking "Where are Shelter Dogs Coming From?" While admitting that shelter numbers are at an all-time low, she claims this is due  primarily to the beneficial effects of the "adopt don't shop" campaigns. Yikes! Really? What about the fact that breeding has become practically forbidden everywhere? Ya think that might have had an effect? There is a mention of dogs imported for the rescue trade but no acknowledgement that this indicates a SHORTAGE of adoptable dogs. The author then asserts that there is a significant "problem" with dogs entering shelters, and it's caused guessed it....IRRESPONSIBLE BREEDERS who are NOT breeding registered, purebred dogs, and to add to that, we can blame the IRRESPONSIBLE OWNERS of the world.

In case you didn't notice, I'm fed up with articles slinging around the "IRRESPONSIBLE" epithet. Why, there are animals in shelters! Lots of them. Yeah, rescues import them in droves from other countries, but gosh darn it, those "irresponsible" breeders and owners of the world! Why there should be no animals in shelters EVER! We need a world where EVERYONE is RESPONSIBLE!


Dogs get out of yards. They got old or injured and need to be put down. Maybe they just plain don't fit in the family, whatever! That's the JOB of the shelter, to take care of these situations. Not to run around looking for bogeymen and pearl-clutching about this TERRIBLE PROBLEM of animals in shelters. 

The numbers of dogs entering shelters is MINISCULE compared to the human population in this country. This is borne out by the fact that shelters and rescues have to import dogs from other countries to support their sales base!

On another note, for many years public relations programs have been promoting the concept of taking your animal to the shelter, instead of just turning it loose if you find you can't keep your dog. Yes, people used to actually do that, thinking they would be taken in by some kind-hearted person.....and often they were. But more often, they weren't. And you thought that IRRESPONSIBLE people were a recent phenomenon! 

So a public education campaign begged people to be RESPONSIBLE and bring their pet to the shelter where it could be re-homed or euthanized if necessary. And now, the public is being told it is IRRESPONSIBLE to take your dog to the animal shelter. If you doubt that they feel that way, just talk to any shelter worker. They literally FOAM with hatred at anyone who would actually bring them an animal! 

Shelters exist for a reason; we have pets in our lives. We are paying them good money to care for, re-home and euthanize if necessary. The day that we no longer need shelters will be the day we no longer have pets. Is that the ultimate goal? I hope not, but I suspect we in the Dog Fancy will allow the Animal Wrongists of the world to decide that for us. They've gotten a great head start!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Moral Preening in the UK

Having taken a hiatus from the crazy world of dog law, I had just about gotten my mental health and blood pressure under control when a friend forwarded me a link to a Pedigree Dog Defence Forum from the UK on Facebook. Apparently there’s a new law under consideration which would require puppy buyers see the parents of any pup they are considering. Why not, they were remarking. Sales in pet stores are disallowed, and this is the” responsible” way to go. After all, THEY are wonderful breeders who all follow this practice anyway.  

SIGH this attitude  is nothing new to me. I hear these comments all the time from many show dog breeders here in the US.......Thinking their way is morally superior and a willingness to sell others down the river who disagree. 

I USED to breed dogs. I don’t want strangers coming to my house. People have been robbed of their pups and even killed by lookie Loos posing as pet buyers. Not to mention Animal Rights kooks who harass, demean and threaten breeders especially if they know where you live.

Laws in our country are creeping incrementalism towards the elimination of breeding by any means. Pet store sales bans, then elimination of anyone “commercial” because of course they aren’t as saintly as those who lose money breeding dogs. Next, you classify the remaining breeders as “commercial” based on some arbitrary number like bitches owned or litters produced annually. Now the hobby breeder must comply with commercial breeder rules. Who in their right mind would remain a dog breeder, or even consider breeding in the first place, under such conditions? And so, we march down the path toward extinction. Extinction of breeders. Extinction of entire breeds. Extinction of dogs purposely bred to serve man. After all, these breeders believe that breeders should instead serve the dog and eliminate his role as our helpmates. 

“Rescues” get preferential treatment when they import puppies and purebred dogs, sometimes even stolen from their owners yards! I have been to many many municipal hearings, county hearings and even our state capital to try to educate legislators about the hazards of knee-jerk, feel-good laws that actually end up harming dogs and the people who love and breed them. “Reading the comments here is very painful,” I remarked. “People don’t seem to understand or care about the consequences of such matters or their actions in supporting them.” 

So in support of my own good health , I left that group of nutters.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Words MATTER - SHOP! Don't "Adopt!"

Think it's "cute" to say you "adopted" a "rescue" who is now your "furkid?" Well, it's not really "cute" at all if you give it some thought.The words we use matter.

 Did you know that the state of California passed a law a few years ago that removed the word "pound" or "impound" from all prior animal legislation and replaced it with the word "shelter?" Like it or not, words have definite meanings that affect public opinion and form the cultural zeitgeist. Why do you think they legally changed the word "pound" to "shelter?".....even though they maintain the right to capriciously kill in the so-called "shelter?" Because the name you tag something with forms it's public image. Perception becomes reality.

Animal Rights people co-opting the terminology we use is very dangerous, it's not benign, and it's aimed squarely at legally removing our ownership rights. "Rescue" implies animal abuse. "Adopt" infers a status equal to humans. "Guardian" instead of "owner" means the pet has inherent rights that supercede your right to determine his care and destiny. If pets are "fur kids" the state can step in and mandate how you care for them down to minute details. Kiss your pet ownership rights goodbye.

The "Adopt don't Shop' mantra has been very successful at demonizing breeders. it's time to turn it around! Get a great pet....SHOP! Shopping is a good thing. Most shoppers thoughtfully research before they make a purchase. When it comes to a pet, research prior to purchase is important. Avoid those "adopt-a-thons" where impulse buying is encouraged, and you might just end up with a dog who doesn't suit your lifestyle or home situation. SHOP...and get the dog that is right for you to OWN!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Insanity in Santa Paula

The Neuter Nannies are at it again. Santa Paula is the next city in California poised to mandate that owners and their veterinarians inflict unnecessary and harmful surgery on pets in the community. Up on the agenda for the next city council meeting is a delayed vote on a mandatory spay-neuter-microchip ordinance.

At the hearing two days ago, not just one but TWO local veterinarians (they are the experts, right?) testified against mandated neutering of pets. Despite the evidence presented that spay/neuter has adverse effects on health, the city plans to amend and pass their proposal. As long as they toss a few “exemptions” into the pot to remove some objections, they have no qualms about squelching the right of an owner in consultation with his veterinarian to decide what is best for his dog's health.

Kiss nice dogs like this goodbye when the neuter nannies sink their talons into your community

The local shelter, “Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center” boasts of being the nation's first open-admission no-kill shelter. According to the claim on their Facebook page, 99% of the animals who enter their shelter, LIVE. Yet representatives from this group are still not satisfied. Like most animal rights fanatics, they want to spay-neuter pets into oblivion. The SPARC is backing the new ordinance and their representatives spoke in favor of it at Monday night's City Council meeting.

The rescue brigade will continue to cry “overpopulation” until there is not one single animal entering a shelter, anyplace. I hate to break the news to everybody, but that can only happen when there are no more pets left PERIOD. 

And this group also had the temerity to contradict the testimony of the two local veterinarians, who were concerned about the adverse health effects of spay and neuter. Here's a quote from a local newspaper article:

Representatives from the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, meanwhile, urged council to approve the ordinance. Health problems, such as musculoskeletal injuries and cancers, occur in many animals whether they are spayed and neutered or not, they said.

Brilliant! Whoever was quoted here probably has his GED. I'm sure he knows better than two local veterinarians about the health effects of spay-neuter.

This person is so ignorant that he can't discern the difference between INJURIES and DEVELOPMENTAL problems resulting from lack of hormones. He is unaware of (or just plain doesn't care about) the many, many studies in multiple breeds that prove that cancer risks are many times higher for spayed/neutered animals than those who are intact. And, he isn't going to be paying the veterinary bills for the owners whose dogs become lame, hypothyroid, or aflicted with bone cancer or hemangiosarcoma. When the dog becomes more aggressive towards humans (as studies have found to be the effect of spay/neuter) will he be able to rehome the dog or will it have to be killed?

Here's the viewpoint of Santa Paula's esteemed mayor:

Mayor Martin Hernandez said he supported the ordinance, noting that those speaking against it were not from Santa Paula. He said requiring animals to be fixed is good for the community, and regulations are necessary."If laws were for the responsible people we wouldn't have people getting DUI's daily," he said. "Do you think that people are tending to their animals more than they take responsibility for driving under the influence of alcohol? I don't think so."
Well, that settles the debate, then. Ignore your two local veterinarians and the reams of knowledgable dog people from the Ventura County-based Kennel Clubs, who will have to deal with your stupid ordinance. Or maybe, their dog breeders could simply refuse to sell puppies to anyone who lives in Santa Paula. There's a great benefit for your community. No pets.

Good for the community? In which universe, exactly? Where is the evidence? Mandatory spay-neuter has NEVER been proven beneficial to ANY community where it has been enacted. In fact, licensing and rabies vaccination compliance DECREASES. Shelter intakes INCREASE. And FEWER dogs are reclaimed from shelters! Low-income people and seniors will be disproportionately hit with the higher costs. It's expensive to have the unnecessary surgery done, and even more costly when the dog gets cancer and dies an early, expensive death.

And “tending to their animals” is equated with foisting unnecessary, life-sucking surgery on them? How stupid is that? Well, we can't expect genius from someone who draws a parallel between animal ownership and drinking alcohol.

As if all this wasn't ridiculous enough, the ordinance also requires the Animal Services Coordinator, who more than likely has ZERO expertise in dog breeding, to administer a written test on humane breeding practices. If you fail the written test, no breeding permit for you.

Microchips are fine but they can rarely travel in the body, and the insertion process is not without risk. Again, the owner should have the right to decide if he wants to use a chip or if he prefers a collar with tag or a tattoo for ID purposes.

Santa Paula, the latest in the string of Neuter Nanny cities here in our state.

The article is here:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Front Door Dilemma

It's been encouraging to note so much recent shelter success and so many areas where “No Kill” status has been achieved in recent years. Maddie's Fund believes that the entire country can easily achieve No Kill status NOW.*

We have more households owning dogs than ever before, fewer shelter deaths than any time in history, and more people looking to welcome dogs into their homes and treat them as valued clan members.

Hooray, right? Well, maybe not so much.

I've blogged at great length here about the shortage of adoptable dogs and how many shelters and rescues have turned to the importation of dogs from other countries to fill the void.

Despite shelter shortages, despite the importation of hundred of thousands of dogs from outside the US each and every year, despite people who want to adopt puppies being unable to easily find any, today I sit here and feel horribly pessimistic about the future of pets in America.

The general public has been brainwashed over at least four decades to believe that dog breeding is a nefarious activity. Breeding in order to have puppies, maybe even to have some puppies to sell, is an Extremely Politically Incorrect Activity.

The general zeitgeist in this country is a perverse and strong opposition to dog breeding and selling. In fact, if you tell most people you want to breed your dog, he or she will look at you like you have two heads. Planning a litter must surely be some sort of evil plot to produce animals destined for torture and abuse. In fact, some believe that a bitch having a litter is abuse in and of itself.

We continue to see strong forces at work who wish to ban breeding, who insist that there be laws to require sterilization of all pets.

This seems contradictory, because It's clear there is a demand for dogs that grows stronger every day. Where will the dogs of the future come from? Who will fill the market for family pets?

I read a blog named “Out The Front Door” which is No Kill-focused. In a recent post, the author openly admits that a shelter dog shortage is coming. He (or she?) rejoices at the coming shortage of shelter dogs. However, he is worried. Very worried.

People who want dogs might decide to...hold on to your hat.....BUY one from a breeder. Good heavens! We can't have that! Why, OTFD hopes that we will continue to import street dogs from other countries, and even step up the numbers of street dogs brought into the US.

OTFD prays that breeders in America will go the way of the dinosaur.

OTFD and indeed, many many of those involved in shelter and/or rescue would rather force you to get your next dog from the streets of a third world country rather than buy a happy, healthy dog purposely bred by a breeder right here in the USA.

Never mind the risk of RABIES which is still rampant in other countries. Never mind that these street dogs, seemingly destined to be your only option in the pet stores of the future, are bred under unknown welfare conditions and the absence of any standards. Never mind that our own American breeders have good health and temperament uppermost on their priority list and are ready, willing and able to supply the market.

Nope, OTFD and others like them don't care about any of that one whit. They just want you to stop.

Stop breeding.

I ask you, is this not the quintessence of cognitive dissonance? 

It's all well and good to get dogs Out the Front Door of the animal shelter, but who is going to provide the dogs that come In the Front Door of your home? 

What sort of dog lover doesn't like puppies to be born? There can only be one conclusion when this mindset has become so prevalent. These shelter and rescue folks don't actually like dogs. In point of fact, much like Wayne Pacelle, the President of the Humane Society of the US, they would prefer that another dog or cat would never, ever be born!

The rescue brigade love dogs so much that they hope they will all be sterilized and that no one on the planet will ever breed them. Ever. That's their real goal! Pet extinction. They would rather no dogs exist than man breed them.

The mind boggles. I hope the day never arrives when the animal rights fanatics succeed in removing dogs from our lives completely.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Big Lie from ASPCA

The ASPCA sent out a post via email blast this week:
It'll be a cold day in hell when I donate anything to this group.

Imagine this scene: More than 100 dazed and frightened puppies are picked up one-by-one out of filthy, cramped, wire cages and crammed into a windowless van. Missing their mothers, they spend a week hurling across Interstate highways—crying, yelping, barking and suffering—until the van pulls up to deliver them through the back-door entrance of a shopping mall pet store. In the pet store, the cute but likely malnourished, impaired, disease-carrying or emotionally scarred pups are left to do what puppies have always done: look for love in a kind, smiling face. They are bought by an unsuspecting person, and the cycle begins again.
Wow, this sounds horrible! Why, they just described the cycle of abuse perpetrated by Retail Rescue! This is EXACTLY what happens when so-called "rescues" truck dogs across the country, and subject them to thousands-of-miles-long journeys into the US from around the world! These dogs are intended to replace puppies in pet stores sourced from breeders. And yes, predictably, many of these "rescued" dogs are sick and malnourished. Some have even been infected with RABIES! 

Yep, there is no documented history on these animals at all. No way to know what sort of diseases, inherited or acquired, may be lurking. No insight as to inherited temperament. When one of these "rescued" dogs is bought by some big-hearted but dumb, unsuspecting person (like YOU), he is not covered by any "Puppy Lemon Law" protection. That means, when he bites your kid or requires expensive veterinary bills, TOUGH LUCK. You have NO RECOURSE. There is NO GUARANTEE, NO consumer protection, and no financial compensation to you.

But wait! ASPCA doesn't care about any of fact, golly gee gosh! I just realized with a little more reading....they actually aren't talking about Pet Flipping "Rescues" at all.  
This is the tragedy of a puppy mill. Animals bred, born and abused in commercial breeding facilities are the very same animals destined for pet store windows in cities and towns all across America. Scenes like this play out week after week, year after year, but these tragic facilities are usually only brought to light when they are raided by animal welfare groups like the ASPCA.
Whoa! The ASPCA is trying to convince us that dogs bred by licensed and inspected breeders are all abused!  What a crock of manure! If commercial breeders are heavily regulated (and they are), how many do you think need to be "raided"? How many of their puppies are "diseased"? Do they regularly starve and beat their puppies? REALLY??

In fact, pet insurers charge much lower premiums for commercially-bred pet store dogs than they do for dogs from any other source. The reason? Pet store puppies receive more veterinary care in the first weeks of their life than puppies from any other sources, and as a result, the dogs who come from pet store have FEWER INSURANCE CLAIMS. 

Got it, ASPCA?? Commercially bred puppies are HEALTHIER than dogs sourced from small breeders and shelters. How do you like them apples, you lying scumbags? 

But wait! The ASPCA isn't finished just yet! They set the stage with fraudulent lies, and NOW.... the HOOK!!! 
With your support today, we can strengthen our work to advocate against puppy mills. We can assist in raids to expose their cruelties, fight as hard as we can to regulate commercial breeders and, most importantly, find loving homes for every innocent animal. Imagine how much suffering we could stop, and how many dogs, cats and other animals we could save, if we eliminated puppy mills in our country. That is what your gift to the ASPCA can help make possible. Please make a donation right now.

Sorry, you two-faced sheisters at ASPCA,  but when you LIE claiming that commercial breeders are not already heavily regulated, claim that their puppies are sickly and abused, and slander the name of dog breeders in general, you won't get a dime from anyone who has two brain cells to rub together. 

No breeders=no pets. 

The real goal of the ASPCA....PET EXTINCTION. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

AKC CHF Breeder's Symposium

AKC Canine Health Foundation Breeder’s Symposium
College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences
Pomona, California
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I attended this symposium and was amazed at the amount of information presented! After UC Davis, Western University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is the only other veterinary medicine program in the state of California; they have only produced graduates for two years. Their program is the first new college of veterinary medicine in the United States in the past 20 years. As conference attendees, we also had the opportunity to tour the clinical learning center during lunch break.  
The room was filled with approximately 100 dog fanciers and breeders representing a wide cross-section of AKC recognized breeds. In an eight hour time period there were eight speakers scheduled. Each speaker could easily have spent the entire day trying to cover their subject matter and answering all our questions; but, alas, time was limited. Luckily some detailed information was included with the conference, including the book “ABC’s of Breeding” by keynote speaker Claudia Orlandi.
I’d like to try to summarize some of the important points from the seminar for the “Review” readers.
This lecture was my favorite!
“Current Concepts Regarding Canine Hip Dysplasia”
Peter Vogel, DVM, DACVS
Specialist in orthopedic surgery, critical care, microvascular surgery and is certified in stem cell regenerative medicine
From the syllabus:
“Breeders are an important source of information regarding heritable diseases such as canine hip dysplasia. However, much of what is common knowledge is often incorrect of incomplete. Find out the most recent information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of hip dysplasia and get practical recommendations that you can employ in your breeding programs. This talk will help you understand the limitation of OFA certification, the benefits of newer screening techniques, and give an overview of current treatment to help you educate your clients.”
OFA hip testing was initiated in 1966. After 40 years of OFA hip testing, the incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs has not decreased by even 1%. This is because hip dysplasia is a common defect; it is polygenic (multiple genes involved) and can also be exacerbated by environmental factors such as trauma and diet. Almost all lines of dogs have genes for hip dysplasia. This is probably due to the fact that the majority of dogs are descended from common original ancestors, who were themselves likely genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia. Greyhounds are rarely affected; sighthounds in general have a lower incidence than other races. Standard poodles are one of the very few breeds that are not commonly affected with hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia typically displays some symptoms by age 4-6 months. Symptoms can include pain/stiffness, pop or click of the joint, bunny hopping gait, and “lazy dog” syndrome. The dog will appear to the owner to be lazy, when in reality it does not wish to move because movement is painful. At age 12-15 months, signs and symptoms will disappear, only to reappear later in life when arthritic changes have set in. By then treatment methods are limited and expensive.
The OFA hip screening is the least predictive method for hip dysplasia. It does not rule out hip dysplasia. The OFA technique is outdated 1960’s methodology. The OFA screening xray is limited due to the positioning technique used; it is also subjective depending on those interpreting the film. A better method is the Dislocation Index (DI) which is also known as Penn Hip. Another newer and even more accurate method is the dorsolateral subluxation radiograph (or DLS) which is highly diagnostic for hip dysplasia. This technique positions the dog with weight on the knees and measures actual real laxity of the hip socket.
Fully 50% of dog who score OFA “excellent” hips will be found to be dysplastic using DI and/or DLS. 67% of those who score OFA “good” are actually dysplastic, and 100%  of dogs who score OFA “fair” are dysplastic.
DI technique has some breed-dependent factors (those factors were not discussed).
Another problem with OFA is waiting until the dog is two years old for their final evaluation. Hip dysplasia can and should be diagnosed by age 14-16 weeks and NO LATER THAN age 20 weeks, so that intervention can be done to prevent future painful arthritic changes.
If a puppy is diagnosed with hip dysplasia a simple procedure known as a Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis can be done. The growth plate of the pubis is cauterized to destroy the growing cells of this part of the pelvis. This results in a change in the angle of the pelvis and is 95% successful in preventing progression of the arthritis resulting from hip laxity. This should be done no later than age 5 months. It can be done at the same time as a spay.
A triple pelvic osteotomy can be done to reshape the pelvis; again this must be done before the age of one year and is very effectdive in preventing the progression of hip dysplasia.
OFA hip screening may not even be attempted in most cases until age two years (when it is too late to do any preventive orthopedic surgery), and it will miss most cases of hip dysplasia entirely.  Penn hip or DLS should be done on puppies no later than age 20 weeks for the most accurate diagnosis and early treatment of hip dysplasia.
Other ways to control the progression of hip dysplasia are weight control, proper exercise and diet. Medications such as NSAIDS and adequan have a proven track record. The benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin have not been clinically proven but those supplements can’t hurt. Stem cell therapy is in its infancy but may also prove beneficial.
In conclusion, the Dr. emphasized that if you are a dog breeder, sooner or later you WILL produce dogs with hip dysplasia. Don’t blame yourself! Even two dogs with perfect hips can produce dysplastic puppies. The genes for hip dysplasia are widespread through most every breed!
Common Household Toxins
John H Tegzes, MA, VMD, DABVT
An excellent overview of this topic. The ASPCA poison control number should be readily available in everyone’s home” 888-426-4435
Also, the National Poison Control hotline may be of use: 800-222-1222
Review of the many common toxins found in the home. Activated charcoal should be kept on hand and should be given to your dog if he ingests something toxic (use after consulting with poison control or your vet).
The lecturer told of a case they had where a dog ate snail bait and came in seizuring. They kept the dog alive on a ventilator and after 11 days of touch-and-go status in intensive care, he was sent home. The next day he was brought in again seizuring from eating snail bait. The owner didn’t pick up the bait because she figured the dog had “learned its lesson” and wouldn’t eat snail bait again!
The toxicity of raisins and grapes is very real and serious. Not all dogs are affected. The exact toxic substance within the grapes has not yet been discovered. Nor is it known if this may be a new genetic predisposition in dogs?
Walnuts are often contaminated with penitrem A, a fungal toxin.
Macadamia nuts have a neurologic sedating effect
A new dangerous toxic plant is broomfeldsia or the “yesterday, today and tomorrow” plant.
One of the attendees said her dog was poisoned by eating the inner stalk of the hibiscus flower. She had to search through 20 references on toxic plants before she found one that did list the hibiscus flower as toxic.
Canine Reproduction; Managing the Dog and Bitch to Optimize Success
Dana Bleifer DVM, DACT
Owner, Warner Pet Center, Rose City Veterinary Hospital, and owner/operator of CLONE West canine semen bank. Chesapeake Bay Retriever breeder.
Preparation of the dog and bitch is essential to breeding success. Avoid flaxseed and soy in food as it may in theory affect hormonal balance.
Thyroid test should be done on every bitch prior to breeding. TGAA (thyroglobulin autoantibodies) positive indicates autoimmune thyroiditis which is an inherited condition; in addition, thyroid autoantibodies can pass into the puppies from the mothers milk and attack their thyroid gland.
Brucellosis testing should be done periodically on all breeding stock, not just bitches.
Teeth should be clean as the bitch uses her teeth to sever the umbilical cord and can transmit bacteria to the puppy if her mouth is infected. Vaginal cultures are sometimes done but are not very useful because the vaginal tract is full of many different varieties of bacteria naturally. Sometimes you can find Klebsiella or mycoplasma with a vaginal culture; these would need treatment. However, if there is a suspected problem with infection it is better to bring the bitch in at the start of her season for a uterine culture. This is done with the aid of a fiberoptic scope. Routine use of antibiotics during the breeding cycle is not wise as you upset the natural balance of flora in the body. Antibiotics should be reserved for an infectious problem which has been demonstrated by a culture.   
A variety of insemination options were discussed, including the use of fresh, chilled or frozen semen. Ovulation timing using progesterone and LH levels was reviewed. Stud dog management should include a periodic semen evaluation, as well as regular prostate and testicular exams.
“The Canine Genome Decoded: An Introduction for Dog Breeders”
Christopher Irizarry, PhD
A presentation related to “bioinformatics”: the science of decoding the biological information contained within genes and genomes. The canine genome shares many similarities with other mammalian species, and differs from them just by a few small percentage points.
Dr. Irizarry explained how some genetic research is conducted. His team worked with mice and “knocked out” or removed one certain gene from the genome. The chromosome was then replaced into the breeding animal and offspring were tested to see if they were missing the gene. Then if they had two animals who both were missing the particular gene being studied, they bred those together to try to get offspring that were “doubled up” for the missing gene, then they would observe what effect this had. The found a gene that limited growth of muscle tissue (“myostatin”), which, when “knocked out” of the genome and “doubled up” offspring were completely missing this gene, the animals were extremely overmuscled. There were examples pictured of this effect in both mice and cattle.
“On Breed Identification: Visual and DNA”
Victoria Voith, DVM, PhD, DACVB
An interactive session comprised of a breed identification quiz. Photos of shelter dogs were taken, shelter workers were surveyed for each dog. They were asked  if the dog was purebred or a mixed breed, and if mixed, what were the primary and secondary breeds. The dogs’ actual breed composition was identified by DNA analysis and compared with the answers given by the shelter workers.
We seminar participants also took this breed identification survey. Results seemed to indicate that identification of breed makeup based on appearance is not reliably accurate.
“ABC’s of Dog Breeding”
Claudia Waller Orlandi, PhD
This was the keynote speaker, and all participants received a copy of her book, which is a wonderful explanation of dog breeding presented in a fun and easy to understand format.
Genetics, selection, breeding systems, pedigree analysis, canine anatomy, genetic defects and kennel blindness were all discussed, using an interesting slideshow. The book we received is a wealth of information! You can buy it from the website:
Some key points: The pedigree is not more important to consider than the dog itself. Also, linebreeding beyond the fourth generation will have little impact on a litter. No one part of the anatomy of a dog is more important than the whole dog.
In the seminar, discussion of inbreeding/linebreeding did briefly touch on inbreeding depression, and the hazards of doubling up on harmful recessive genes.
Popular sire syndrome is not mentioned.
The harmful effects of homozygosity on the immune system were never mentioned.
In fact, the speaker stated that we would all like to have dogs that are homozygous for all “good” genes. The evidence is available that genetic homozygosity is not beneficial except for being useful to produce some predictability in breeding results.
Inbreeding has been necessary to form some breeds but it has had the side effect of setting in defects into almost every breed. Further culling in attempt to remove those defects results in lack of genetic diversity which is essential for health.
Narrow breed standards and judging for the extreme “stand out” specimens who are extreme in type promotes unhealthy extreme animals.
Yes, we want to produce predictable type and soundness; but our dogs also need some genetic variability. Heterozygosity in general produces healthier animals, with improved vigor and stronger immune systems. This will promote vigor, longevity and strong immune systems for our breeds to remain viable into the future.
“Grooming from the Inside”
Deborah A. Greco, DVM, PhD
The speaker is a senior research scientist with Nestle Purina Petcare. Good quality skin and hair coat can be maintained through a well-balanced diet. Her contention is that commercial pet foods are the easiest choice when available for maintaining skin and coat condition in healthy animals. She further believes that caution and care should be used when prescribing supplements or homemade diets to ensure proper nutrient balance. “Food is the least expensive and most important grooming tool available to the modern day breeder.”
There was no mention made of melamine toxicity, aflatoxicosis, or the many problems associated with the overprocessed ingredients used in most all commercial pet foods.
Erika Werne gave a comprehensive overview of AKC’s CHIC program.
I’d like to thank AKC for this very interesting and valuable symposium; I hope that another will be presented in our area in the near future.