AVA Election 1998

Tom Lonsdale and Breck Muir are candidates for positons on the board of the Australian Veterinary Association. The 1998 elections will be the sixth elections that they have contested. For background information please consult Tom Lonsdale's Home Page or the Raw Meaty Bones Campaign page.

Nomination for position of President Elect of the AVA for Dr Tom Lonsdale 1998

Tom Lonsdale has researched and campaigned against the artificial diet induced diseases affecting the majority of the world's companion animals. His analysis reveals the multi-national pet food $ at work at all levels of our profession. (Details at: www.rawmeatybones.com) The veterinary establishment seeks to deny the message and harass the messenger.

Now is the time to unite the profession in rejection of the pet food $. A vote for Tom is a vote for pet health and a revitalised Australian veterinary profession. The AVA needs Tom's innovative principled leadership.

Alan Bennet.

1998 AVA Elections . Manifesto of Drs Lonsdale and Muir.

As you know there is a ban on discussion, within the pages of the Australian Veterinary Journal, of diet affecting 100% of our small animal patients and periodontal disease affecting 85%. Similarly censorship and suppression extends to criticism or comment on the performance of the AVA Board. Simultaneously, in our opinion, AVA members are fed a steady diet of false and misleading propaganda via the advertisements of trans-national corporations and the pseudo science of 'researchers'. However at election time an opportunity for comment arises. Now seven years into the campaign to change the damaging artificial pet food culture of the AVA we believe that it is time for a brief review.

Back in December 1991 we published articles pointing to the devastating effects of diet and periodontal disease on the health of domestic pets. The AVA and the Pet Food Manufacturers Association attempted to quell the discussion but soon the AVA News letters column became a place of spirited debate. The matter was placed before the 1993 AGM where members voted to set up a $7000 "Diet and Disease Committee" to investigate some of the allegations. The February 1994 AVA News advised that veterinarians, "need to be concerned about the relationship between diet and disease". and that, "Periodontal disease is arguably the most common disease condition seen in small animal practice and its effects on the gums and the teeth can significantly affect the a health and well -being of affected animals. This is sufficient in itself to give reason for concern. Proof of additional systemic effects is not necessary to justify further action." The December 1995 edition of the Journal of Small Animal Practice carried an article on additional diet induced systemic effects akin to an 'AIDS like' condition'.

We in the Raw Meaty Bone Lobby are proud of our record. As a result of our efforts in print and on TV and radio we have done much to overcome the propaganda of the artificial pet food industry and their veterinary advisors. At the same time we have highlighted the medical and dental professions' promotion of healthy natural food and clean teeth. In turn the medical and dental professions have leant us support with their discovery that periodontal disease is a prime risk factor for heart disease, premature and still births and overall mortality.

It is worth putting on the record some of the activities of some of the AVA Board members. The President Roger Clarke has published several internet messages extolling the benefits of artificial pet food and was even seen in the pages of a pet food company magazine. Dr Jill Maddison, consultant to Friskies, appeared in a TV programme in which she promoted artificial pet food and denied the existence of a diet induced 'AIDS like'condition. She also appeared in an MBF article along with Board member Jonica Newby in which it was alleged that pet ownership is worth huge savings to the Australian health bill. This claim was central to the Newby book but as two objective research projects have since shown the savings are not 1.5 billion but in fact zero. Mr Stuart Littlemore QC was most unhappy with the Newby incognito performance on the ABC. He said that she should not have been on the ABC at all. Ian Denney the director of the Western Plains Zoo presides over the feeding of liquid pet food to cheetahs, an endangered species, as part of a sponsorship arrangement with a pet food company. Garth McGilvray AVA spokesman on the Channel 9 Money Programme said, "The AVA would consider the best diet consists of 80% dry food and 20% perhaps of raw bones."

The latest scheme to change the Cancellation of Membership provisions seems to be a none too clever attempt at regimenting members' opinions. Members would be well to consider that wealthy trans-national companies have their representatives on the AVA board. Although the Board appears to act in accordance with those companies wishes it is necessary to bear in mind that it is AVA members who pay for all actions of the Board and the subsequent reactions (whether through the courts or otherwise) by aggrieved persons. For the sake of the wider membership we must hope that the AVA Board do not sneak their amendments past those attending the 1998 AGM.

Putting the last seven years in review it appears that the AVA has been more a part of the problem than its solution. How then to unite the profession and reverse the process? Fortunately we believe the answer is simple and involves letting the animals decide what's best. Please, we urge you, try feeding your own domestic carnivores on a 'raw meaty bone' based diet, monitoring objective or subjective signs as you see fit. When you have made your own assessment of the health and vitality of your pets, with the clear implications for pets and the profession in general, then please cast your vote.

When elected to the AVA Board we shall straight away initiate steps to discontinue the arrangements with the pet food company sponsors. In 1992 legal advice was published indicating that vets and by extension the AVA could be held legally responsible for promoting dietary substances which give rise to periodontal and other diseases. At an early stage we would take steps to minimise that risk to the Association. As a basis for further action we would use the motion put before the 1994 Canberra AGM which states:

a. Initiating and/or encouraging prospective studies.

b. Providing support programmes for the membership during the transition period from widespread processed food feeding to the adoption of more natural feeding practices.

c. Liaison with various bodies in order to minimise the harm done by processed food feeding.

d. Encouraging and overseeing the growth of an Australian natural food industry which minimises harmful effects on animal health, the national economy and environment.

e. Communication to the broader community of these major AVA animal welfare initiatives.

In other areas the AVA will need to continue much as usual. In the first year of service we shall aim to familiarise ourselves with the workings of the organisation whilst bringing a welcome new perspective. In the Presidential year we expect to sustain a major effort. We look forward to working with the employed staff, the SIGs and the branches.