12 January 2004
RCVS Manifesto 2004
Processed pet foods harm pets in broadly three different ways:
i.) Foods that fail to provide physical cleaning of teeth and gums — the normal cleaning process for wild carnivores — permit build up of plaque bacteria. Plaque interacts with the body’s defences to give rise to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, the most common disease of domestic carnivores, injures health in a number of ways.
ii) Inappropriate chemicals, for instance cooked grains and chemical additives, are absorbed through the bowel wall and transported to other organs with a range of injurious effects.
ii.) Foods which are neither physically nor chemically suitable provide nutrients for a large population of colonic bacteria. Those bacteria produce toxic products, liquid and gaseous, that exert adverse effects on the bowel wall and systemic organs.
If these are the facts then we could reasonably expect:
· Veterinary researchers would control for artificial diets and oral disease in their experiments.
· Veterinary schools would caution their students against recommending and selling processed pet foods
· Veterinary surgeons would caution their clients against feeding processed pet foods.
But reality tells us otherwise. The veterinary profession has squandered its integrity, glossed over inconvenient facts and climbed into bed with the pet food manufacturers.
Peddling products that are neither suitable nor safe for the intended purpose cannot be condoned. That some animals, forced to live on artificial offerings, become savage and attack their owners is another consequence of the processed pet food cult.
Despite the gravity of the allegations, the Council of the RCVS has refused to take appropriate action.
If in this important matter the RCVS fails in its regulatory role then what hope? I ask, for other areas of veterinary life. With 90% control by veterinary surgeons of the RCVS Council, Lord Acton’s dictum surely applies: ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’
Now, with the impending modernisation of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, we have a chance to put our house in order — to demonstrate that we wish for a strong, democratic veterinary profession serving the interests of pets, pet owners and the wider community.
I believe we have nothing to fear and much to gain by an open-handed approach, by surrendering absolute power on the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Let us signal to the Government, under the terms of the new Veterinary Surgeons Act, that we shall be happy with 50% of the seats on the RCVS Council.
Let us signal to the RCVS Council that they must seek to salvage some honour; they must establish an independent enquiry into the promotion and sale of processed pet foods.
Please use your vote to help restore meaning to the RCVS motto: ‘Promoting and sustaining public confidence in veterinary medicine’.
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