Pet Friendly Pet Food
June 12, 2006 1:36 PM   Subscribe

I am sure that we are way behind the times but, my wife just read about Iams and the alleged animal cruelty which they either actively participate in or overlook in their suppliers / labs. That, of course, prompted a couple of questions. 1) does anyone know the validity of the claims by PETA et. al.? 2) if they are valid claims, what options are out there for us pet owners who want to use healthy, not terribly expensive and readily available food (large dogs in this case)?

For those who wish to read more:
iamscruelty
uncaged.co.uk
iamskills

and iams response:
iamstruth
posted by GrumpyMonkey to Pets & Animals (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
PETA is the Ann Coulter of the animal world. They can safely be ignored.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:43 PM on June 12, 2006


It's really funny that you bring this up, because I was reading about this about five minutes ago.

I can't vouch for the validity of their claims against Iams, but it, but PETA's site does have a list of other pet food manufacturers who do not conduct cruel tests.

Unfortunately, my cat is on a prescription food that is only available from Hill's, which is not on the list.
posted by tastybrains at 1:45 PM on June 12, 2006


Whoops, ignore the "but it," not sure what I was trying to type there.
posted by tastybrains at 1:46 PM on June 12, 2006


I swear by EaglePack, holistic food.
look it up, my lab does fantastic on it.

If you are in the Montreal area, Little Bear on the corner of st-catherine street and Green are the most knowledgable and carry an imressive selection of great dog food for all budgets.
posted by sandrapbrady at 1:52 PM on June 12, 2006


My problem is that buying specialty animal food is a bit of a hassle. I live in a small apartment and I don't have room for multiple bags of cat and dog food. When we see the cat or dog food getting low, we have to buy the next bag a day or 2 before the old bag runs out. As such, buying Iams at any grocery store is the easiest thing to do. I wish that I could buy better stuff, but since I can't buy it in bulk, I don't know what to do.
posted by k8t at 1:56 PM on June 12, 2006


The National Animal Interest Alliance awarded Iams “Hero of the year” a couple years back.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:57 PM on June 12, 2006


My guess (only a guess) is that PETA is singling out Iams because the brand is owned by Procter & Gamble, which (perhaps due to size alone) has been implicated in some questionable testing.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:17 PM on June 12, 2006


We feed our large dog BillJack dog food, which appears to be a national brand (it's carried by PetSmart, where we shop). I can't find anything on Google related to BillJack + animal cruelty, so I think you're pretty safe, there.
posted by thanotopsis at 2:19 PM on June 12, 2006


IMHO, the biggest problem with Iams (and most other major brands) is the ingredients. One of the primary ingredients is chicken-by-product, otherwise known as beaks & feet. We use Nutro brand, which you can get at Petsmart. I've also found that when you serve your dog healthier foods, they digest and use more internally- resulting in less poop to deal with in the yard or on walks.
posted by COD at 2:21 PM on June 12, 2006


Sadly it doesn't meet many of your requirements (that is, inexpensive and readily available) but my cat and dog are thriving on Newman's Own food. Until recently I could only get it over the internet and getting it that way was very handy, since it just showed up at my door; now I can buy it locally for a bit less. Since it's the only thing my animals eat, I'm willing to go to the trouble and expense, but they're small. I'd be hard pressed if they were larger. Like COD, I am very concerned about the "by products," which NO addresses quite nicely.
posted by redheadeb at 2:36 PM on June 12, 2006


It's interesting to compare the PETA site with iamstruth.com, their refutation site. They seem to dismiss alot of the PETA claims with:

"That's a pre-1998 study, we don't do those anymore, oh how pathetic these guys are for using 5 year old studies to slam us"
posted by nomisxid at 2:38 PM on June 12, 2006


I don't know about the cruelty thing, but, I've got a large cat that we fed Iam's Weight Control Formula to for years. Our new vet told us that their weight control formula was fattier than other brands normal food. We switched the cat over to science diet and he immediately started dropping the fat.
posted by trbrts at 2:41 PM on June 12, 2006


IMHO, the biggest problem with Iams (and most other major brands) is the ingredients.

This tends to be an issue with 'lower quality' lines from food producers, according to my vet. For example, Purnia has lower quality foods (such as Friskies, or 9 Lives), and higher quality (such as Pro Plan).

I think the best thing would be to just call your vet and get their opinion on what to feed your dogs.
posted by triolus at 2:56 PM on June 12, 2006


On the validity question, here's my question for you --
Has Iams outright denied the claims? and
Which organization has more of an incentive to lie?

As someone who's done a lot of nonprofit work, we always triple-checked our facts because it was hard enough getting people to care about stuff that was true.
posted by salvia at 3:03 PM on June 12, 2006


Okay, I don't know about your local Kroger [which I am assuming you have because your location coordinates indicate near ATL], but I am pretty sure mine has their own cheap brand of pet food. I can't remember details, but it seems like they have a generic. This might not be good enough for you, but this is the official response I got today from Kroger when I contacted them about whether or not their generic products are tested on animals:

"Animal welfare is an important issue to our Company, our customers and our associates. This is why Kroger is a proud supporter of the Food Marketing Institute's (FMI) industry-leading animal welfare program. We believe this collaborative approach, which brings together processors, producers, retailers and animal welfare experts, will raise the standards in the meat and poultry industries. Working together, we can ensure that animals are raised, transported and processed in a humane manner.

We manufacture over 6,000 products, both food and non-food, in our 42 facilities nationwide. We have never used animals in our analytical or product development labs (understandably, we do use dogs to taste test our dog food). Other manufacturers supply many of our Private Label products to us. While they do not use animals to test our products, we have no control over whether or not animal testing is involved in the development of their products. However, we know that in recent years more and more manufacturers have developed alternative methods for
testing products for safety and effectiveness."

You can find more information about their animal welfare program at their official website.

Now, about how healthy it is, I don't have a clue...
posted by starbaby at 3:19 PM on June 12, 2006


I wont say that it is cheap... but- I feel like Innova has the best ingredients. I had a dal with allergy issues and i have a VERY active and healthy lab that thrives on it and likes it. People always comment on what an incredibly shiny coat he has (and i bath him about once a year)


http://www.naturapet.com/display.php?d=comp-wiz

Chk out this little comparison guide-- lets you compare to other products.


(first dozen or so ingredients

Turkey
Chicken
Chicken Meal
Ground Barley
Ground Brown Rice
Potatoes
Ground White Rice
Chicken Fat
Natural Flavors
Flaxseed Meal
Herring Oil
Sunflower Oil
Apples
Carrots
Cottage Cheese).

And i really dont know about Innova's practices.

IAMS claims--

FACT: Posing as an animal lover, an activist "undercover investigator" was hired for an Iams-funded role in the contract facility. She had responsibility for the socialization and enrichment of the dogs participating in Iams' feeding studies, and was paid to develop and implement a program to ensure that these dogs were well cared for. Rather than focusing on her assignment she captured video not of the scenes of the socialization and enrichment activities she was being paid to develop and deliver, but of dogs and cats that were housed in the same facility but not a part of Iams studies.

FACT: Iams takes full responsibility for the destiny of each and every dog and cat participating in our feeding studies, a program established as of July, 2003. Dogs and cats are adopted into loving homes after they stop working with Iams or they retire with Iams.

It seems like these dogs were apart of their feeding program.
posted by beccaj at 7:23 PM on June 12, 2006


Some info on ingredients from a Raw Food manufacturer.

And, speaking as a vegetarian of 16 years and a dog owner of 9, PETA are fucking idiots. This isn't to say what they're saying about IAMS is false, but, as someone said above, they're the Ann Coulter of the animal rights world.
posted by dobbs at 7:16 AM on June 13, 2006


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