CANBERRA, Aug 19 2001 AAP -

Pet cats and dogs are suffering and dying from health conditions caused by convenience food foisted on the community by the multinational pet food industry with the connivance of many vets, a new book claims.
The book Raw Meaty Bones Promote Health by maverick vet Tom Lonsdale, argues that carnivores are ill-suited to a diet of processed meat and cereal which produces dental disease and a wide variety of other health ailments.
That includes what he terms as diet-induced AIDS in which the animal's immune system is depressed, leading to a variety of health problems.
What pets really need, he says, is a diet of fresh water, table scraps and raw meaty bones including fish, chicken necks and wings, animals carcasses and offal.
Dr Lonsdale's views have won him no popularity from the pet food industry and even from his own profession.
He points to linkages between pet food manufacturers and vets. In what appears to be a marketing triumph, pet food companies have won the endorsement of vets who recommend the use of premium pet foods to new pet owners.
"What we are saying is so dramatic in its implications for the health of animals that they (the vets) can't in all honesty or justification simply wipe their hands of it and say we are not interested," Dr Lonsdale told AAP.
"The pet food industry got under way in the 1860s and has been gathering momentum ever since. If something so woefully inadequate or harmful can gain momentum over that period, then there is something seriously wrong with the gatekeepers who are supposed to be protecting the community from harm from these sort of things."
Dr Lonsdale said a diet of raw meaty bones produced another benefit besides the better health of pets - an end to messy dog poo all over backyards, paths and parks.
The output from pets fed with meaty bones turns white and crumbles away.
Dr Lonsdale said he expects the pet food industry will respond with the usual public relations spin.
"It is all about conditioning the consumer into believing that in order to be a thoroughly sophisticated consumer you feed your pet out of a can, at the same time obscuring the downside of these products," he said.
"They will get their spin doctors working overtime. The Veterinary Association will lament that they have rebels in the ranks. They have tried to bring actions against me. Fortunately that has finally come to nought."

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