In a given year, the CDC estimates that one person in six (or, forty-eight million persons) in the U.S. will become sickened by a food-borne pathogen. Of those, one hundred and twenty-eight thousand will be hospitalized, and three thousand will die.
Doing a search of “pet food” in quotations on the CDC site yields three hundred and fifty-two references, for the most part to commercial kibbles and dog treats. Doing a search of “raw pet food” in quotations yields four references to a single reported instance of dehydrated beef and salmon treats which were implicated in nine confirmed cases of Salmonella in the U.S. and Canada. I might quibble with regarding a dehydrated product as a raw product, but maybe that’s just me. I did find this quote, from an abstract of one of your six citations, interesting: “The increasing popularity of raw food diets for companion animals is another pet-associated source of Salmonella organisms; however, no confirmed cases of salmonellosis have been associated with these diets.” (Human health implications of Salmonella-contaminated natural pet treats and raw pet food by Finley, Reid-Smith, Weese, et al).
So: forty-eight million U.S. human food-borne illnesses per year, and no confirmed cases attributed to the raw feeding of companion animals. And you are hearing a call to action? Really???
That the AVMA even considers the species-appropriate raw feeding of carnivorous pets to be a matter which needs to be addressed at all is suggesting that for every “solution,” a problem must be sought or even invented. On paper, I am sure a theoretician can define a circumstance under which feeding one’s animal a raw diet could result in a possible risk to human health, but to suggest that this is a real risk in the real world is simply not supported by anything, including your own citations.
It is obvious to anyone who thinks that the AVMA, in responding to an inquiry from The Delta Society, is being used to further the agenda of the Nestle-Purina company. What this says about the AVMA is not comfortable for me to contemplate; questions regarding intelligence and character cannot help but be raised. For whatever reason, the AVMA is on the brink of (again!) allowing itself to be used as a tool to further the agenda of the commercial kibble industry.
From the overwhelming and impassioned response you have received to this issue, several things should be abundantly clear. Those of us who provide a species-appropriate diet to our animals do so in the certainty that we are providing for them to the best of our abilities. We have educated ourselves; we actually Know Stuff. Our animals, sometimes after prolonged ill health on commercial kibble diets, are thriving. We are not falling victim to food-borne illness, and neither are our pets (or our friends or our Aunts Tillie). We PASSIONATELY do NOT want bureaucratic interference with the husbandry of our animals! We do not choose to feed cooked food to our animals. We do not choose to feed irradiated food to our animals. We do not choose to have limitations placed on what parts of a food animal we may feed to our animals. We WILL NOT feed kibble to our animals!
Although you have seen a need to clarify that you are not in a position to enact law, we were not confused on this point and this is not our concern. Our concern is that this policy statement, should you be so unwise as to make it, will be waved by the commercial pet food industry at every agency which is in a position to make regulatory changes to the manufacture of the products we choose to buy and use: “Look! Look! It’s scary and dangerous, the AVMA says so! Do something!!!” We will find our options dictated by those who have no understanding of the issues at hand beyond that you have seen fit to present a policy statement; that the policy statement has no justification for having been made will escape them.
We own the patients of your membership, whose health is our concern (as it should be yours!). We are the clients of your membership; we pay them and they work for us. We are consumers who are committed to our choices. I suspect that there are more of us than you know, and I suspect that this is why Nestle-Purina is aiming an opening salvo at the pre-made raw food industry.
To allow yourselves to be used to further the underhanded agenda of Nestle-Purina is to make yourselves out to be chumps of the worst order. To destroy your credibility over this thing – this “issue” that is no issue at all to anyone with a lick of sense – is shortsighted, pointless and ill-conceived. Please take the opportunity to do the right and well-considered thing, here. Please.