Wednesday, September 2, 2009


You know, I like the idea of raw meat diet for dogs, I really do. I want to believe that it's more 'natural' or more healthy or what not. At the very least, I like reading about different feeding methods for domestic animals (yes, I'm just that exciting). Horses, goats, dogs, cats, whatever. I'm interested in the domestication process in general and different ways that humans keep animals in captivity.

I'm trying to show you where I'm coming from - this is something I'm interested in academically, and also more personally when it comes to dogs (and cats and rats and snakes). So every couple of months, I try to research these things, but when it comes to info on companion animal diets, the amount of bullsh*t I have to wade through every time I go to Google makes me want to hurl. I tried again this morning and yet again came away frustrated.

Yes, yes, I know that any internet research involves donning waders and rubber boots and carrying an industrial sized bottle of hand sanitizer, but for realz, this subject is especially rife with the piles of steaming FAIL. And what's worse, when I ask in dog forums for recommendations, they send me to some of the same gag-worthy places I rejected in the first place!

It's the anti-science, the made up facts, the denial of all risk of THEIR diet and exaggerated risk of THE EVIL KIBBLE, and the "my anecdotes are better than your anecdotes" (changing your dog's diet cured their cancer? Really? And in the very next paragraph you deny all stories of kibble-fed dogs living long, healthy lives?). Like changing the definition of words like "carnivore" to fit their agenda. How is that even relevant? Dogs are related to wolves. They are not wolves. It's helpful to look at wild canines to get an idea of what might be good, but it's not the be-all and end-all. All I want is a few controlled studies in dogs. Is that so much to ask?

It doesn't help at all that these BARF/RAW websites also seem to endorse a lot of tangential woo). Vaccines cause epilepsy in puppies? Pasteurization is evil? Oh, and I should buy your book? I try to avert my eyes, but these things are on the same pages I'm tying to glean information from. I can't avoid them, and it makes me give up that much faster. I feel dirty just clicking on some of these sites.

There are probably a lot of perfectly reasonable people out there (I can think of at least a few), but they are being drowned out by the fluffy-headed, rich white suburbanites with a computer, a starry-eyed Mission, and too much time on their hands.

OK, OK, rant over.


Anonymous said...

You've had the same problems with them that I've had. I love how they call them "death kibbles."

Yuppies ruin everything. Well, at least they aren't shopping at Whole Foods anymore, which I would boycott if one was within 200 miles of my house.

I would like to have some real studies on these diets. I'm interested.

But black heliocopter theories don't help their cause at all.

Now, here's something weird. I've always been into cryptozoology, but I've never "believed" in bigfoot or other creatures like that-- as far as bipedal apes go, we're it. I also cannot stand creationism. And when the two are put together, it really drives me up the wall. Now, I would be much happier with cryptozoology if more people were into creatures that actually might exist and they entirely expunged themselves of he creationist element.

Granted, cryptozoology isn't science in the Sir Karl Popper sense. Good luck falsifying the existence of bigfoot!

Anonymous said...

BTW, when I say dogs are wolves. I am not saying dogs are the moose and caribou hunting wolves we know from nature documentaries. They are no more those wolves than Arabian wolves are.

A dog is a wolf that has evolved to live in the human environment-- just as an Arctic wolf has evolved to live in the High Arctic and an Arabian wolf has evolved to live in the desert. A dog can no more survive without people than an Arctic wolf can survive in the super-hot Arabian desert or an Arabian wolf can live in the frigid conditions of the High Arctic.

To me, all of these animal represent a diverse single species. However, most people miss out on the nuance.

CyborgSuzy said...

Your example of wolf species is a good one. There's enough variation within and among wolves, let alone between wolves and dogs.

Which is a fine academic argument to have over beers, but it does nothing to further an agenda about what to feed our pets.

I understand, I really do. Many of the claims make sense in a general way, but it doesn't change the fact that they're unsubstantiated.

Mostly I don't even care if all they have are anecdotes, either. I just want more honesty.

Jess said...

Good rant. I get more than a little tired of people telling me I'm killing my dogs by feeding them grains (oh noes! cancer!) I usually recommend Monica Segal's books to people who are interested, she has no agenda beyond finding the appropriate diet for that particular dog, be it raw, kibble, or cooked. My dogs are not wolves, and frankly, I think it's stupid to NOT take advantage of studies and research that might help my dogs live longer, healthier lives, in favor of feeding them like they were wolves. Wolves, btw, that only have to live long enough to reproduce, after which Mother Nature gives not a shit about whether they drop dead of cancer when they're five.

CyborgSuzy said...

Thank you, I'll check out that author. I've trolled amazon before, as well, but am always leery of books that have "truth" in the title. :P (Yes, I will go to a physical book store this time so I can actually read before I buy.)

Almost as much as I'm leery of the "natural is Better!" argument. There's plenty of natural conditions that I'm not going to subject my dog to.