I saw on Twitter this week a lot of talk about the “Pedigree Adoption Drive”; if you take a dog (“Ripley”) for a “virtual walk”, Pedigree will donate £1 to the “adoption drive” – a pot of money which is held by the PetPlan Charitable Trust, and is donated to rescues that are members of the Association of Dogs & Cats Homes.
Let me say this right now: it is a good cause. Rescue organisations always need money, or volunteers, or both, so I do not dislike the idea – especially when money can be raised so easily.
So, what is my problem? Pedigree is!
For a number of years now, I haven’t eaten Mars chocolate bars, or indeed any of the Mars brands.
The reason for this is that Mars carry out what I think are needless and inexcusably cruel experiments on animals. As an animal lover I cannot abide this, and refuse to give them my hard-earned money when I can spend it on confectionery which is much less morally questionable.
The experiment that particularly sticks out in my mind is this: –
Mars funded a deadly experiment on mice that was published in a 2007 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience in which mice were fed flavanols (phytochemicals that are found in chocolate) and forced to swim in a pool of water mixed with white paint to hide a submerged platform, which the mice had to find in order to avoid drowning, only to be killed and dissected later on.
Pedigree Masterfoods is a Mars inc. brand, so giving them your money is akin to buying Mars chocolate, your hard-earned money got to Mars inc. and funds more animal experiments. Additionally Pedigree is not something that could be classed as a “high-quality” pet food.
For one it is readily available at the supermarket, for two, take a look at the ingredients list. I did just this evening when I was was doing my weekly shop; I looked at the back of a six-pack of tinned “complete” food, looking at the food “with chicken”. we can see that it is 36% meat and animal derivatives, with a measly 4% chicken and 4% fresh meat. An “animal derivative” can be sourced from any animal – that means it may be chicken, or it could be horse, rabbit, or even dog meat; and even if it is more than 4% chicken, it is quite likely that the protein is coming from the undesirable areas of the animal, head, feet, innards, etc.
At that point I stopped, Inka gets fed a high-quality dry food, it uses the same types of protein sources that you & I eat; and it really upsets me that there are pet food manufacturers who claim to care about our dogs, or love them as much as we do; and yet they are having pet owners feed their animals sub-par food every day, food which may at best contribute to skin conditions, and at worst shorten the life-span of our companion animals.
Perhaps I will dedicate a future post to nutrition, but if you are concerned about what you are feeding your own dog(s), please investigate the company, the ingredients in the food, and speak to somebody who has knowledge, or a qualification, in canine nutrition (being aware that vets are often paid to promote a certain brand of food over others).
In the mean time, what am I doing about the Pedigree Adoption Drive? Well, I’m not walking “Ripley”, that’s for certain. I spent most of the spring & summer months helping to train dogs at a local rescue kennels, however as it is an outdoor facility, that becomes a struggle in the winter; so I am donating, hi-visibility collars, blankets, toys, and high-quality food – and I suggest you all do the same. It may cost you more than £1, but *your* local shelter will benefit, and it wont involve a company that I personally feel dubious about, and I know other dog owners feel the same as I.