I am strict about my animal meat intake. The lines for dairy consumption are more blurred for me. I am a sucker for a really good cheese. A smoked bleu. A sharp white cheddar. The rules I have for my personal diet have always been as strict as I can afford them to be, and that is a very real budgetary guideline. The same is true for the dogs food. I am now, and always have been on a budget and the number of dogs in my house, as well as the number of dollars in my pocket plays into the food that I can justify buying for my dogs to eat.
Not too long ago I made my second group bulk purchase from a company that sells meat for dog food that has been treated with charcoal to mark it as not for human consumption. The first time I purchased from this place I saw the prices and turned a blind eye to the details. What a deal! When I received a flier with my meat purchase proclaiming "We buy downer cows" a sad iconic image (if you have ever watched PETA videos, documentary's on factory farming, or similar topics you have probably seen this image) of a live cow being pushed, no, scraped across a paved cattle lot by a skidloader comes to mind. I immediately got the shivers.
But I fed the food to my dogs.
I keep thinking, downer cows can mean a few things. One thing it can mean is that a cow broke a leg at the farm and had to be taken to slaughter early, this may result in not being able to qualify to be sold for human consumption especially if the cow dies on the way to the slaughter house. The meat that is being sold, marked with charcoal as not for human consumption is undoubtedly the same meat used in kibble. From these thoughts I can draw 2 conclusions in the favor of my decision to buy this meat,....
1. That the raw ground beef (for example) is leaps and bounds above what it would be turned into after being highly processed with other ingredients and preservatives in order to create kibble.
2. That an animal, in this (imaginary) case a cow, that has been bred to eat and broken its leg should not be wasted. One way to look at wasting meat is to look at it as wasting the given up life of an animal.
But beyond those thoughts I keep thinking more of these......like that the way a cow is treated, exposed to trauma or humanely limiting suffering and stress, on the way to and in the slaughter house can change the color of the meat. Also, cows that end up in a bulk meat production warehouse are almost certainly animals from a factory farm. The amount of suffering ongoing in factory farms is comparable to that in puppy mills, were at least some of those animals escape to a humane life as oppose to a humane or inhumane death in the case of beef cattle. Add to that the likely hood of my otherwise healthy cow breaking its leg being a one in a million case while the others may have toxic loads of antibiotics, disease, or other skin crawling reasons for being unfit for human consumption. I have to say that when I think about food in the U.S.A. I am always surprised at how many things ARE approved for human consumption, and consumed regularly. Things that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.I think it is important for all people to have a good idea where their food comes from whether that food is for you or your dog. Better yet, know exactly where that food comes from as often as you can. Still, a lot of work has been done to better the lives and decrease the stress on livestock. The following video can tell you more about humane slaughter practices.
In recent conversations with dog owners I have heard one woman proclaim that "dogs are made to eat protein!" while another reflected that her dog was on a kibble with too high a protein that effected the growth of her dog. All this reminds me that my diet for my dogs (and myself for that matter) is always in flux. I think that is a good thing. Scientific research is always moving us into having more knowledge. Genetic research is now telling us that when dogs made the leap from wolves they evolved a gene giving them the ability to digest a wider variety of foods then their wolfy counter parts. And what a handy gene to have if you plan to be pal-ing around with junk food junkies like us humans.
So, am I right to save some $$ and supplement my dog food buying at the low price bulk store???? I don't know. The answer I've come up with is this, keep doing the best I can with what I've got.
Here are some meals my dogs have eaten in the past month.
|Ground beef with strawberries and blueberries.|
|Ground turkey necks with goat spleen and basil|
|Ground guinea hog with basil, beats and strawberries|
|Supplements I occasionally add. The one on the left is called "pet kelp"|
After 3 pictures in a row of ground meat meals I feel compelled to tell you that tonight, this morning and yesterday the dogs all ate large chunks of meat on bone for meals. Eating meat on the bone, which requires a dog to chew his/her food, keeps teeth clean and is, in my opinion, an important part of a raw diet.
Miles, before and after groom pictures.
And now, I'm exhausted and wishing I had an editor as I am about the
click the publish button with sleepy eyes. Here goes nothing,...CLICK!