Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fred-The cat

Fred the cat, 12, relaxes on his favorite couch in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania in this May 27, 2011 photo. This white feline weighs 19 pounds and is actually as soft as a bunny and is afraid of the dark. He loves lumbering around, hanging with his sister Charlie, and sliding on the hard wood floors. (Courtesy of Pat Hagler)


Meow-The cat

Cat in New Mexico Weighs In at Nearly 40 Pounds

Meow the cat will be placed on a special diet to lose at least 10 pounds.

Santa Fe Animal Shelter veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Steketee holds Meow, a 2-year-old tabby at the shelter in Santa Fe, N.M. Meow, arrived at the shelter weighing in at over 39 pounds, after his elderly owner could no longer care for the feline. The shelter plans to put the cat on a special diet so he can lose weight gradually. Adult cats typically weigh between 7 and 12 pounds. (Santa Fe Animal Shelter, Ben Swan/AP Photo)

Orphaned Squirrel

Squirrel Finds Home With Kittens

The orphaned Squirrel not only gains a new home but a new family.

The family cat has adopted an injured squirrel that was found by Bailee Schultz, 8, near his grandparent's house in Bangor Township, Mich., and has been nursing it as one of her own. (Yfat Yossifor, The Bay City Times/AP Photo)


Monday, May 28, 2012

Horrors of pet food

The true horrors of pet food revealed: Prepare to be shocked by what goes into dog food and cat food

If you check the labels on grocery store foods, you've probably already begun to see that the list of ingredients doesn't always tell the whole truth about what's in your food. The same goes for your pets' food. Behind innocent-sounding words like "meat byproducts" and "meat meal" are horrific manufacturing practices that would turn your stomach. The nutritional considerations of pet foods go beyond the sources of meat in them. Pet food manufacturers add dangerous preservatives and vitamin fortifications that actually make your pets' food lesshealthy.

What mysterious "meatbyproducts" really are

Let's start with what usually appears as theproteinsource and the primary ingredient inpet food: Meat byproducts or meat meal. Both are euphemisms for the parts ofanimalsthat wouldn't be considered meat by any smart consumer. The well-known phrase "meat byproducts" is a misnomer since these byproducts contain little, if any, meat. These are the parts of the animal left over after the meat has been stripped away from thebone. "Chicken by-products include head, feet, entrails,lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain,liver, stomach, bones, blood,intestines, and any other part of the carcass not fit for humanconsumption," writes Henry Pasternak inHealing Animals with Nature's Cures.Meat meal can contain the boiled down flesh of animals we would find unacceptable for consumption. This can include zoo animals, road kill, and 4-D (dead, diseased, disabled, dying)livestock. Most shockingly, this also can includedogsand cats. That's right,yourpetscould be cannibals.Fast Food Nationauthor Eric Schlosser writes, "Although leading American manufacturers promise never to put rendered pets into their petfood, it is still legal to do so. A Canadian company, Sanimal Inc., was putting 40,000 pounds of dead dogs and dead cats into its dog andcat foodevery week, until discontinuing the practice in June 2001. "This food is healthy and good," said the company's vice president of procurement, responding to critics, ''but some people don't like to see meat meal that contains any pets."

How roadkill ends up in Fido's food bowl

The process that turns these animals and animal parts into pet food is also disgusting. After all, it takes a lot to turn roadkill into something owners feel good about pouring into their pets' bowls. Ann M. Martin describes the process inFood Pets Die For: "At the rendering plant a machine slowly grinds the entire mess in huge vats. Then this product is cooked at temperatures between 220 degrees Fahrenheit and 270 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes to one hour. The mixture is centrifuged (spun at a high speed) and the grease (or tallow) rises to the top and it is removed from the mixture. The grease becomes the source of animal fat in most petfoods. Oftentimes, when you open a standard can ofdog food, you will see a top layer offat. The centrifuged product is the source of that fat, which is meant to entice a hungrydogor cat. After the grease is removed in the rendering process, the remaining material is dried. Meat meal, and meat and bone meal are the end product of this process. This dried material is usually found in dry pet food."

Chemical dangers lurk in commercial pet food

Rendering practices aren't just gross; they're also dangerous for your pets. Thechemicalsused to euthanize zoo animals, dogs and cats can survive thecookingprocess, which means these chemicals end up in pet food, and ultimately, in your pet. Martin writes, "Euthanized cats and dogs often end up in rendering vats along with other questionable material to make meat meal, and meat and bone meal. This can be problematic becausesodiumpentobarbital can withstand the heat from rendering. For years, someveterinariansand animal advocates have known about the potentialdangerof sodium pentobarbital residue in commercial pet food, yet the danger has not been alleviated." In short, that meansthe poisons designed to kill pets are the same ones being fed to them.Now that you know petfood manufacturerswill seemingly go to any length to fill their foods with the cheapest sources of protein they can find, you probably won't be surprised to find out that the otheringredientsin pet foods aren't much better. Cheap grain fillers, cellulose to bulk up the food, preservatives and poorly monitored vitamin and mineral supplements round out the recipe. InHealing Pets with Nature's Miracle Cures, Henry Pasternak writes, "Remember, pet foods are primarily processed, grain-based diets. These foods are 'fortified' with synthetic B vitamins, which can cause a subclinical B vitamindeficiency." Martin mentions inFood Pets Die Forthat one bag of dog food was overloaded with so muchzincthat she had to take her dog to the vet because he became ill. She took the bag of food to an independent lab to verify that the zinc content of the food was 20 times the recommended daily allowance for dogs.
Preservatives in dog and cat foods keep the foods seemingly fresh for long periods of time: "Unfortunately, harmful chemical preservatives and other artificial additives are the norm in most pet foods. Some are intentionally added by the manufacturer, while others come from the herbicides,insecticides, and pesticides used byfarmersto boost crop yields," Pasternak writes. While some petfood companieshave decided to use less harmful preservatives andnaturalpreservatives, most pet foodcompaniesdon't find these ingredients to be cost effective.
So what should you do with thisinformation? Many pet owners are discovering there are more natural alternatives to commercial pet food. Naturalhealthfood stores usually stock a few varieties of organic or all-natural pet foods. There are other owners who go even further and prepare their pets' foods from real, whole ingredients. Though this might not be for everyone, some owners say it's worth the peace of mind, and it helps them feel closer to their animal companions. Be aware though, that once your pet finds out what real,whole foodstake like, they may not want to go back: "I used to feed my cat canned or dry pet food, but now I prepare her food from fresh ingredients. She thrives on raw meat," writes Debra Lynn Dadd inHome Safe Home. "She will eat canned or dry food if it is a natural brand, but if I give her pet food from the supermarket, she paws around it like she's trying to cover up something in her litter box."
The experts speak on pet food processing:
Most veterinarians acquire their only knowledge on petnutritionin elective classes in veterinary school. These classes may only last a few weeks and are often taught by representatives from pet food companies. Hill's, lams, and Purina are the largest contributors for these courses. In addition, pet food companies even donate food to the vet students for their own companion animals. This practice has become so widespread among pet food companies that the veterinary school at Colorado State University made this an agenda item for an Executive Committee meeting in 2000. "Discussion was held on how to handle dealing with pet food companies and their donations of pet food to the university," according to the Executive
Food Pets Die For by Ann N Martin, page 21
Dry food has its advantages. In fact, the dry pet food you buy in the supermarket is manufactured for your convenience as much as Fifi's and Fluffy's health. It's the nibble-at -will, no-can-opening, no-greasy-spoon, no-smelly-bowl, no-budget-busting pet food. It has lower levels of fat than canned meat because the fat seeps through thepaperbags (you don't want that greasy bag on yourcarupholstery or in your kitchen cabinet). Fifi and Fluffy get to eat more for your money, thus getting pleasantly full tummies, while less protein, fat and digestibility keep their figures from becoming unbecomingly porcine.
Everyday Health Tips by Prevention Magazine, page 346
Fats are necessary for good health and diseaseprevention. Here again, fats should be raw or unrefined—not processed. Meat, fish,eggs, or milk in their natural states are the best sources of fat. The petfood industryprepares some pet foods with high levels ofomega-3 fatty acidsthat are claimed to be effective for treating various inflammatory diseases. However, omega-3fatty acidsare quite sensitive to heat and are destroyed and easily become rancid during processing. Cod liveroilcan be added to pet foods. It is a good source ofomega-3fatty acids as well asvitamin A. Proteins
Healing Pets With Nature's Miracle Cures By Henry Pasternak DVM CVA, page 77
They don't need "special" diets. Your typical pet will do nicely on typical pet food. "There are a lot of marketing gimmicks in the pet foodindustrythat aren't necessarily in the best interest of the dog," says Dr. Donoghue. It's not always a good idea, for example, to reduce protein in thedietof a healthy old dog.
Everyday Health Tips by Prevention Magazine, page 348
Sodium Pentobarbital:
As I discuss elsewhere, euthanized cats and dogs often end up in rendering vats along with other questionable material to make meat meal, and meat and bone meal. This can be problematic because sodium pentobarbital can withstand the heat from rendering. For years, some veterinarians and animal advocates have known about the potential danger of sodium pentobarbital residue in commercial pet food, yet the danger has not been alleviated. The "Report of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Panel on Euthanasia," states, "In euthanasia of animals intended for human or animal food, chemical agents that result in tissue residue cannot be used."
Food Pets Die For by Ann N Martin, page 57
Another staple of the Tenderer's diet, in addition to farm animals, is euthanized pets-the six or seven million dogs and cats that are killed in animal shelters every year. The city of Los Angeles alone, for example, sends some two hundred tons of euthanized cats and dogs to a rendering plant every month. Added to the blend are the euthanized catch of animal control agencies, and roadkill. (Roadkill is not collected daily, and in the summer, the better roadkill collection crews can generally smell it before they can see it) When this gruesome mix is ground and steam-cooked, the lighter, fatty material floating to the top gets refined for use in suchproductsas cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, candles, and waxes. The heavier protein material is dried and pulverized into a brown powder—about a quarter of which consists of fecal material. The powder is used as an additive to almost all pet food as well as to livestock feed. Farmers call it "protein concentrates." In 1995, five million tons of processedslaughterhouseleftovers were sold for animal feed in theUnited States. I used to feed tons of the stuff to my own livestock. It never concerned me that I was feedingcattleto cattle.
Mad Cowboy By Howard F Lyman, page 12
Pet owners are horrified to learn that rendered cats and dogs can be legally recycled back into pet food. At times, this outrage leadsconsumersto seek change. One case in point is Valley Protein, a rendering company that operates in twenty-two states in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Southwest regions of the United States. In the first edition of Food Pets Die For, I wrote about the Baltimore City Paper reporter Van Smith who described what he observed at the Valley Protein Rendering Plant in 1995. His article was replete with photos of barrels of dead dogs and cats about to be rendered. Smith reported that there are "thousands of dead dogs, cats, raccoons, possums, deer, foxes, snakes, and the rest that local animal shelters and roadkill patrols must dispose of each month." In that same article, Smith observed, "In a gruesomely ironic twist, most inedible dead animal parts, including dead pets, end up in feed used to fatten future generations of their kind."
Food Pets Die For by Ann N Martin, page 147
Pets used in Pet Food:
While researching and writing, there were times that I was absolutely horrified with what I discovered. There were other times when I was extremely frustrated with the run-around I received fromgovernmentagencies, organizations involved with the pet food industry, the rendering industry, and at times, veterinaryresearchcenters. What has kept me going is the hope thatpet ownerswill read my findings and be convinced that their pets' health is directly related to what they eat—and that most commercial pet foods are garbage. The most objectionable source of protein for pet food is euthanized cats and dogs. It is not uncommon for thousands of euthanized dogs and cats to be delivered to rendering plants, daily, and thrown into the rendering vat—collars, I.D. tags, and plastic bags—to become part of this material called "meat meal."
Food Pets Die For by Ann N Martin, page 153
Extensive records had to be kept on the disposition of various animalproteins, and feeds that were now prohibited for cattle had to be clearly labeled as such. There were no new restrictions, however, on what could be fed topoultry, hogs, zoo animals, or pets. Indeed, the Grocery Manufacturers ofAmerica, the National Food Processors Association, and the pet food Institute successfully lobbied against any new labeling requirement for pet foods. These industry groups rightly worried that the FDA's proposed warning label — "Do not feed to ruminants" — might alarm consumers about what their pets were actually being fed.
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, page 275
The currentFDAfeed rules are primarily concerned with efficiency and utility, not public health. They allow cattle to be fed pigs, pigs to be fed cattle, cattle to be fed poultry, and poultry to be fed cattle. They allow dogs and cats to be fed dogs and cats. Although leading American manufacturers promise never to put rendered pets into their pet food, it is still legal to do so. A Canadian company, Sanimal Inc., was putting 40,000 pounds of dead dogs and dead cats into its dog and cat food every week, until discontinuing the practice in June 2001. "This food is healthy and good," said the company's vice president of procurement, responding to critics, "but some people don't like to see meat meal that contains any pets."
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, page 288Ingredients in Pet Food:

One of the dirty little secrets kept by the pet food industry is that some by-products also contain substances such as abscesses and cancerous material. In my opinion, feeding slaughterhouse wastes to animals increases their chances of gettingcancerand other degenerative diseases. Some meat, especially glandular tissue, may contain high levels ofhormones, which may also cause serious health problems including cancer. Unlike bacteria and viruses, these hormones are not destroyed by the high temperatures or pressure cooking used in the manufacture of pet food. Cats seem to be most adversely affected by high hormone levels.
Healing Pets With Nature's Miracle Cures By Henry Pasternak DVM CVA, page 11
PET CARE Many pet foods claim to be " 100% nutritionally complete and balanced." This claim legally can be made and printed on commercial products based on information studies using isolatednutrientsand not whole foods, or by feeding the complete pet food to animals for several weeks to determine whether it prevents obviousdiseaseor malnutrition. Although motivated by an interest to assure quality for the consumer, these tests ignore important nutritional issues and give both producer and consumer a false sense of knowledge and security. Measuring a food's merit by levels of isolated nutrients tells only a partial story. There are more than forty known, essential nutrients, and more than fifty other nutrients are under investigation. Thus, making sure a food contains appropriate amounts of only a dozen of these nutrients can't possibly assure that a food is "complete."
Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Dadd, page 413
Harmful components (and ingredients) found in Pet food:

Unfortunately, harmful chemical preservatives and other artificial additives are the norm in most pet foods. Some are intentionally added by the manufacturer, while others come from theherbicides, insecticides, andpesticidesused by farmers to boost crop yields. Many pet foods advertised as "preservative-free" do, in fact, contain preservatives. As the law is currently written, manufacturers don't have to list preservatives that they themselves did not add. Many preservatives make their way into pet food at rendering plants before the meat is even sent to the manufacturer. An analysis of several pet foods labeled "chemical free" or "all natural ingredients" found syntheticantioxidantsin all samples. With continued use, low levels of these synthetic antioxidants may build up in the tissues; inges-tion of small doses over time may be just astoxicas a single large dose. About 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides, and 30 percent of all insecticides are considered to be cancer causing in and of themselves.6-7
Healing Pets With Nature's Miracle Cures By Henry Pasternak DVM CVA, page 11
Under AAFCO guidelines, acceptable meat by-product can include animal lungs, spleens, kidneys, brains, livers,blood, bones, low-temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. Livers can be infested with worms (liver flukes) or diseased with cirrhosis. Lungs can be filled with pneumonia. If an animal is diseased and declared unfit for human consumption, the carcass is acceptable for pet food. Even parts of animals, such as "stick marks,"—the area of thebodywhere animals have been injected with antibiotics, hormones, or other drugs—are cut from the carcasses intended for human consumption and used for meat by-product for pet food.
Food Pets Die For by Ann N Martin, page 153
Commission warned that a series of mysterious dog ailments at kennels in Michigan may be the result of fluoride contamination of pet foods. They noticed a high incidence of deformed puppies and pointed out that chronic effects of fluoride poisoning may not be noticeable for a long time.
Fluoride The Aging Factor by John Yiamouyiannis, page 16
After 45 weeks of producing fertile eggs plagued by hunger, debeaking, detoeing, decombing, toxic ammonia, and diseases, these breederchickensare "liquidated" and turned into human animal "food" and nonhuman animal "feed" and pet food products.
Prisoned Chickens Poisoned Eggs by Karen Davis PhD, page 93
She sees the problem all the time in older canines and felines, "usually those eight years or older." She blames the commercial pet foods and owners' irresponsibility for most of it. "There is just too muchsugarin everything. You can't buy a decent brand of [pet] food anymore without there being some kind of sugar in it. An animal's system will rebel just like the human body does when excess sugar is taken into it. The same autoimmunedisorderthat attacks human pancreatic cells that makeinsulindestroys the insulin-producing capabilities in our dogs and cats."
Natural Pet Cures by Dr John Heinerman, page 87
Just as products for kids carry the same dangers as I their adult counterparts, products for pets have the same I hazards as their human counterparts—pet food contains the same carcinogenicpesticideresidues, and the pesticides used in flea collars are as toxic as the pesticides used to kill any other insects. And just as babies and children are more susceptible to the effects of toxic exposures than adults, so too are animals more susceptible to the effects of toxic exposures than humans.
Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Dadd, page 341
Slaughterhouses also provide renderers with the leftovers from slaughtered animals not fit for human consumption. Before these animal parts and by-product used for pet food are shipped from the slaughterhouse to the rendering plant, the by-product is "denatured." This means that crude carbolic acid, cresylic disinfectant, or citronella, is sprayed on the product. In the case of a whole beef or swine carcass that has been condemned, the denaturing product is injected into the entire carcass. If meat inspectors condemn only parts of an animal, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that "before an approved denaturing agent is applied, the product must be freely slashed so that pieces are less than 4" in diameter. This allows the denaturant to contact all parts of the product."
Food Pets Die For by Ann N Martin, page 18
Both animal-care professionals weren't at all reticent about vocalizing their strong opinions about this matter. Dr. Tejinder: "There are way too many chemicals in pet food that no one knows theside effectsof. And the rancid fat that is used to cook a lot of this food that pets eat only complicates things more." Dr. Stefanatos: "The pesticides, preservatives, and additives in pet food reprogram the organs so their functions behave differently. No one knows the full extent of the problem, but it's there, nevertheless." The Nature of Animal Diabetes
Natural Pet Cures by Dr John Heinerman, page 88
Mad Cow and Other diseases:
Those of us who are intimately acquainted with what goes into commercial pet foods have no problem discerning where a good majority of liver disorders originate. In their January 1998 newsletter, Love of Animals, Dr. Bob Goldstein and his wife, Susan, featured an interesting article entitled, "The Truth About Canned Dog and Cat Foods." They note that many so-called "naturally preserved" pet foods contain meat by-products that usually come "from diseased cows or sick chickens." "These are terrible foods" they warn their readers. And the fact that they contain chemical preservatives (to keep the high fat content from going rancid) and artificial coloring agents and dyes (for eye appeal of pet owners), not to mention appetite stimulants (salt, sugar, glucose, sucrose, fructose, phosphoric acid) only makes their impact upon the average animal liver that much more deadly.
Natural Pet Cures by Dr John Heinerman, page 204
Cattle—dead, diseased, dying and disabled (4-D)—can legally be rendered and used in pet foods in the United States and in Canada. Rendering will not eradicate any of the TSEs, including the chronic wasting disease in deer, elk, and roadkill, which can also be rendered for use in pet food. The U.S. government believes it is safe to render diseased cattle for use in pet foods because this practice does not affect humans since we don't eat dogs and cats. But rendering diseased cattle into pet food does potentially endanger our animal companions. This is already happening in Europe. If dogs and cats succumb to a TSE disease, would their owners know the actual cause?
Food Pets Die For by Ann N Martin, page 100
Although you won't see it on the label, since it is often added at the rendering plant and not by the manufacturer, ethoxyquin (EQ) is used to preserve most dry pet food. First used as a rubber stabilizer, EQ is the most powerful of all preservatives and may be the most toxic. Originally, it was permitted in livestock food. So since pet food is consideredanimal feed, the use of EQ is also permitted in pet food. Thefishindustry uses high levels of EQ; factory workers exposed to it exhibited side effects similar to those of agent orange: a dramatic rise in liver or kidney damage, cancerous skin lesions, hair loss, blindness, leukemia, fetal abnormalities, and chronic diarrhea. In animals, EQ has been linked to immune deficiency syndrome; spleen,stomach, and liver cancers; and a host of allergies.
Healing Pets With Nature's Miracle Cures By Henry Pasternak DVM CVA, page 11
In Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, Inc., 1995), the author, a renowned veterinarian, lists a number of other factors that could expose a family dog or cat to possible carcinogens. "These include," he writes, "… consuming pet foods high in organ meats and meat meal (concentrators of pesticides, and growth hormones used to fatten cattle, which can promote cancer growth) as well as in preservatives and artificial colors known to cause cancer in lab animals."
Natural Pet Cures by Dr John Heinerman, page 78

Learn more:

Feeding groceries to pets

Feeding everyday groceries to pets is animal cruelty

Veterinarians know far more about nutrition than most doctors. Pets generally don't have health insurance, and it's much cheaper to prevent disease in your pet through good nutrition than it is to treat it with drugs and surgery down the road. Veterinarians both understand good nutrition and preach it to their customers. 

Veterinarians also understand the direct correlation between the foods a pet eats and the chronic diseases they will exhibit. For example, vets know very well that if you feed yourdogleftovers of humanfood, you will probably end up giving your dog chronic diseases like obesity,diabetesand heart disease.
Now there is an interesting indication. If leftover human food will kill your dog, what's it doing to you and yourfamily? We'll look at that a little bit later, but here's a hint: pet food is actually more nutritionally balanced than human food. And there is a very good reason why, which will be discussed in detail later on.
If you feed your pets lots ofwhite ricefor example, you will end up giving them diabetes. In fact, if you're asking a veterinarian who has been practicing for twenty or thirty years, they will tell you that they have recently seen a skyrocketing increase in the number of cases of diabetes indogs. That's due to changes in the nutritional makeup of cheaperdog foodproducts today that are using a lot of whitericeas a filler (because white rice is cheap and makes the dogfoodsmore profitable). But just as in human beings, white ricecausesdiabetes and obesity because it's a refined carbohydrate offering little more than "empty calories."
When you look atpets, there is a direct relationship between foods anddiseasethat is quite apparent. Part of the reason this is so apparent is because pets age much more quickly than human beings. Of course, we're all familiar with the phrase "dog years" and the idea that dogs age approximately seven times faster than human beings. This allows you to notice the relationship betweennutritionand health seven times more quickly in your dogs than you might notice it in yourself or in your family.
In other words, if you start feeding your dog foods and food ingredients that promote disease and cause nutritionaldeficiencies(i.e. most human food), your dog will start to show symptoms of those deficiencies seven times more quickly than a human being would.
So one of the reasons that human beings don't catch on to the links between nutrition and disease is because it happens so slowly. It can sometimes take years or even decades for a disease to show up that has been caused by a dietary habit. Yet, in animals, you can quickly see this appearing far more quickly.
Now it would be highly unethical to do this, so I'm not suggesting that you do. This is for a mental experiment only. If you were to take two dogs that were genetically very similar (from the same litter, for example), and you brought them into your house from the time they were very young then fed one dog all the processed foods that human beings eat, while feeding the other dog outstanding nutrition from the more expensive dog food formulas, you would see a tremendous difference in thehealthand lifespan of these two dogs.
The dog fed human food, which would include refined grains, white flour, added sugars, chemical food additives and other toxic ingredients would have a much lower quality of life than thehealthydog. It would also have a shorterlifespan and sky-high health carecostsassociated with the treatment of the chronic diseases it would undoubtedly experience.
The healthy dog, on the other hand, would live longer and would be more vibrant, more emotionally stable, have greater leanbodymass and lower bodyfat. It would have a healthier cardiovascular system, healthier teeth and would express a much higher degree of health than the other dog. It would also probably die someday from so-called natural causes, without all the medical costs associated with the unhealthy dog. So once again, I don't recommend doing this (because it would be unethical), but if you were to take two dogs and feed them radically different diets as an experiment, it would be apparent to anyone that nutrition is a powerful influencer of health in mammals.
You could also do this experiment with guinea pigs orratsor mice. But once again, I think even that would be unethical, because mice are mammals too and it is downright evil to torture a mouse by feeding it human foods. Now some people might find that statement shocking. But I think the really shocking thing is that as a society, we are feeding each other and ourchildrenthe exact same foods that would be considered inhumane if you fed them to a pet, or even to a mouse.
Our nation's public school systems feed our children foods that would be unethical to feed to lab rats-- that's the real shocker here. And the primary reason the effects of those foods are not apparent to everyone is because there is such a long delay between the cause and the effect. It takes human beings years or decades to show the full effects from these poor dietary choices. The other reason it's not so apparent in human beings is because poor dietary practices are so widespread that both the public and members of the medical community think that unhealthy, obese, chronically diseased human beings are now the norm. There are so few examples of people demonstrating outstanding health that we are walking around in a society where we actually believe that human beings are supposed to be fat and depressed and have plaque in their arteries and so on. If practically everyone is diseased, suddenly that qualifies as "normal."
But if you live in another country for any length of time -- a country that doesn't suffer from anychronic diseaseand chronic obesity -- and then come back to the United States, you will be shocked to observe the level of disease found in everyday people. If you walk around any airport, for example, and just take a look at all of the faces and bodies walking past you, you will see apopulationthat is chronically diseased. You can see liverdisorderswritten right on their faces in terms ofskincoloration and huge bags under their eyes. You can see internal organ problems based on skin composition and tone. You can observe energetic disorders by looking at peoples' posture and the way they carry themselves. And of course, it's very easy to see observe what an overweight population we are.
But these are not the norms. This is not the way that the human body was designed to be. This is only the result of feeding an entire population disease-promoting foods that now sadly, pass for "three balanced meals a day."
This article is an excerpt from the book,The 7 Laws of Nutritionby Mike Adams.

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Heartworm drugs

Heartworm drugs for pets; Big Pharma's cash cow

(NaturalNews) In a seemingly diabolical plot, veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies have teamed up in a marketing campaign to frighten pet guardians into giving year-round heartworm preventatives to their cats, as well as dogs. These so-called experts say they're doing this to improve protection for individual pets, but the facts say their motives may be less pure.

With few exceptions, heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) are a completely seasonal problem, so there is no reason to give heartworm medicine to ANY pet year-round-except to make money for those who make and sell it! Those financially-motivated folks say the number of cases will rise unless everybody gives themedications. They rationalize this by citing statistics on how most people don't use theproducts, and proclaiming that the number of unprotecteddogswill surely cause even moredisease. However, despite years of manyanimalsbeing given unnecessarydrugsand many more who aren't, the prevalance of heartworm has not really changed.

In fact, a recent headline in a veterinary publication trumpeted, "Heartworm now found in all 50 states"--as if it was a triumph! While that statement may be technically true, thesurveydid not differentiate between all dogstestingpositive for heartworm, and dogs testing positive for heartworm that came from somewhere else! The increase in positive-testing dogs may be attributable to the widespread dispersion of heartworm-infected dogs after Hurricane Katrina, rather than a true increase in the level of disease.

Heartworms are transmitted bymosquitoes. Heartworm larvae, called microfilaria, live in thebloodand are sucked up by the bug. Once inside the mosquito, they must further develop before they can infect anotherdog. For that to occur, outside temperatures must remain above 57 degrees F, day and night, for a certain period of time (but at least 8 days).

The warmer the temperature, the faster the larvae will mature. If the temperature drops below the critical level, larval development will stop, but the larvae don't die, development will re-start at the same point when the weather warms back up. Larvae reach their infective stage in 8 to 30 days (the latter being the insect's entire lifespan-if the larvae haven't matured by then, they will die along with the mosquito).

It should be obvious that during seasons and in areas where there are no mosquitoes, there is noriskof heartworm. Evidently that little fact escaped the attention of the veterinarian who prescribed heartwormprotection-- in December-for a puppy living high in the Colorado mountains. At that altitude, temperatures are never warm enough for heartworms!

On this map, heartworm risk is shown by the month when the use of heartworm preventatives should begin. In most states, protection should be continued through November or December. In the Michigan UP, preventatives are suggested from August through October. Within 150 miles of the Gulf Coast and other areas in pink,preventionis recommended from April through January. In the red areas of southern Texas and Florida, year-round preventatives may be needed. Local conditions may vary from year to year. Global warming, hurricanes/flooding, and other factors may increase the mosquito population and thus influence heartworm risk. (This map is a very loose approximation only, and is not intended to be used exclusively to determine risk.)

When an infected mosquito bites a dog or cat, the microfilaria are deposited on the skin, where they then crawl into the bite wound and enter the bloodstream. Inside thebody, they grow and progress through other larval forms. In dogs, the heartworm'snaturalhost, larvae migrate to theheartand eventually develop into adult worms. In cats, full-grown worms can develop (but not reproduce). A cat cannot transmit the disease. Adult heartworms are over a foot long when grown (in 6-8 months), but it takes only 1 or 2 to fill up a cat's tiny heart and cause serious problems. However, in 80% ofinfections, the cat's own immune system kills the larvae at an earlier stage, and clears theinfection.

However, heartworms don't have to be full-grown to cause problems. In cats, a respiratory condition can develop. Not-quite-full-grown microfilaria can get stuck small blood vessels in thelungs, where they can cause significant inflammation and damage. This uniquely feline condition is called Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease, or HARD. Symptoms are similar toasthma; and it's possible that some "asthmatic" cats are misdiagnosed with an immune-mediated disease instead of a parasite. Even so, about half of infected cats never develop any signs of heartworm disease at all. And while the disease causes serious damage to the lungs, much of the damage may be reversible by the body's normal healing processes. Chronic and sequential infections have not been studied.

Indoor cats are, of course, less likely to be bitten by a mosquito, but anyone who's ever been around them knows that the little buggers can be quite persistent, so it isn't impossible. In one study, 25% of heartworm-positive cats were reported to be indoors-only. Outdoor cats are at higher risk not only for heartworm but also for feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV or feline AIDS), and all the other parasites, injuries, and diseases common to outdoor cats. However, keeping allpetsindoors during prime mosquito-feeding time (late afternoon an evening) will greatly reduce the risk of a bite.

Heartworm preventative drugs do not kill adult heartworms, but they do kill microfilaria up to a certain stage of development. Currently it is believed that larvae under 6 weeks old are affected. This means that in order to prevent heartworms from reaching adulthood, the preventative can be given up to 6 weeks after the mosquito bite occurs, and still work. The recommendation is to give the drugs every 30 days, purportedly because once-a-month dosing is easier for mostpeopleto remember (and, coincidentally, it also sells more drugs!).

The most common preventative drugs for heartworm are ivermectin (Heartgard) and selamectin (Revolution). While these drugs are generally considered "safe and effective" at the low doses used for heartworm prevention, there are always exceptions. Signs of toxicity associated with ivermectin include: depression, ataxia (balance problems or unsteady walk), and blindness. Selamectin is also used to treat ear mites and some intestinal worms; adverse reactions include hair loss at the site of application, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle tremors, anorexia, lethargy, salivation, rapid breathing, and contact allergy.

Mostveterinarianshand out heartworm preventatives like candy; but there is a serious and growing problem ofresistanceof heartworms to these drugs. This means that we are selecting for "superworms" that will be able to survive and grow even in animals on heartworm preventatives (despite Big Pet Pharma's denials that this is happening). As with all cases ofdrugresistance, the correct response is to reduce use of the drug and reserve it only for when it is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, the veterinary profession and drug industries have decided to go forprofitsinstead, and are continuing to call for all pets to be on medications all year round. This is bad science, and it is bad policy.

The Big Pet Pharma folks are very protective of the income from heartworm drugs, and will apparently stop at nothing to increase profits. Merial, maker of the popular heartworm preventative Heartgard, was repeatedly warned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop exaggerating the effectiveness of the product (which has been declining for at least a decade). Moreover, a fired Merial executive filed suit against Merial, claiming that the company deliberately lied for years, not only about the product's effectiveness, but also the true number and severity of adverse events. Pfizer's Animal Health division alone, which makes the heartworm preventative Revolution as well as vaccines and other animal drugs, is valued at $10 billion to $16 billion (and may soon be sold to Merial or another competitor!).

If you feel you must use heartworm prevention products, get them from your veterinarian. Surveys have found mislabeled, expired, imported, and counterfeit products being sold from other sources. Follow dosage instructions and do not over-treat. NEVER, EVER use a heartworm product made for dogs on a cat. The components are different between dog and cat products, and dog products can kill a cat in a matter of hours. Many cats have suffered and died this way.

About the author:
Celeste Yarnall, PhD is a holistic practitioner and nutritionist, specializing in supplementation and the species specific, raw carnivore diet. She is an EFT consultant and member of the prestiious Tapping Solution's, Insider's Club. She also consults on Non-Verbal communication, visualization techniques, grief counseling and anti-aging for both people and pets. She is a Reiki Master, medical intuitive and author of 4 books on holistic health care for dogs and cats. Her latest book, The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care, chronicles her 11 generations of Tonkinese Cats reared on the principles in her books and is the recipient of the 2010 CWA Muse Medallion Award. The co-author of The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care, is Jean Hofve, DVM. It is the firstanti-agingbook ever written forpets. Celeste and her husband, Nazim Artist have formed the Art of Wellness Collection and live and work in Westlake Village, CA.

She can be reached through her website,

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Warning to vegetarians

Warning to vegetarians: Many prescription drugs secretly made with animal parts

(NaturalNews) Genetically modified organisms and bovine growth hormones are in thousands of prescription drugs all over the world without any warning whatsoever. Plus, over 40% of humans are allergic to eitherconsuming or injecting gelatin, which is the most popular hidden animal part in drugs and vaccines today. In fact, the gelatin coatings, capsules and liquid additives for medicines are not made from harmless food, but ratherfrom the skin, cartilage, connective tissues and bones of animals, and to put "nails in the coffin," these are NOT the grass and grain fed, free range, humanely treated animals, that's for sure.

For decades now, gelatin has come from abused, hormone-fed, antibiotic injected, sick, dying, and disease laden animals; which means the dead animals that even thefast food giants won't acceptare dumped into grinders and made into gelatin. These poor animals that are shot up with hormones and fed GMO, pesticide-ridden corn by-products their whole lives, have blood infections from mal-nourishment and corn sugar, and this settles into their body, so when humans consume gelatin, they are also consuming these horrific, disease breeding chemicals. Many animals in CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) in the U.S. and the U.K. are also fed by-products of their own species. Remember the mad cow disease outbreaks?

Meat in Medicine and Vitamins

World wide production of gelatin exceeds 300,000 tons per year. Vegetarians and vegans are usually very careful shoppers, trying to avoid all meat products and chemicals on a regular basis, butmillions of consumers do not know about gelatinand where it comes from, andthat's the way the food industry likes it. Vegan or not, everyone who takes vitamins and supplements is likely eating infected animal parts when they swallow gelatin capsules.

A survey in a recent postgraduate Medical journal shows 25% of patients are unknowingly prescribed drugs containing gelatin, contrary to their beliefs. That's correct: there are unlabeled, cancer-causing growth hormones in prescription pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Are you ready to get that flu shot, or maybe the next swine flu scam shot? In vaccines, gelatin is used as a heat stabilizer and suspension agent. Allergic reactions include abdominal pain and cramping, high pitched breathing sounds, and anaphylaxis (can include swelling of the throat). Vaccine companies cannot guarantee the purity of animal cells used in their vaccine cultures.

Using common sense is vital

Would you take a pill which came in a gelatin capsule that contained a viral and bacterial mixture of the disease which that very pill's ingredients were intended to prevent? If you could inject a syringe in a diseased cow or pig's stomach, extract some blood, mix it with a small portion of a specific new disease, and then inject it into your arm, all in hopes of avoiding that disease, even though you might get it from this very procedure anyway, would you do it? Wouldn't it be wiser to just take vegetarian vitamins and minerals to build up immunity? (

In 1997, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) met with theTSE Advisory Committee(Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies; a.k.a. BSE/Mad Cow Disease) to help assess the safety of imported AND domestic gelatin, andgelatin by-products(how much worse can it get?) with regard to the risk of BSE posed by gelatin sourcing and processing. The big question at the meeting was whether the processing procedure was enough to optimally "inactivate" any contaminating agent. They all agreed that the "alkali treatment" was a key step, but also agreed that scientific evidence was "insufficient at this time to demonstrate that these treatments would effectively remove the BSE infectious agent if present in the source material." (Meaning it's too late to kill it at the factory).

TSE went on to recommend that the FDA consult "outside experts," and also assure that manufacturers adhere to these regulations. That's a complete joke, because the origin of gelatin, as defined by the FDA, states that it is "derived from either bovine, porcine (pig),or other animal source; however, no formally validated reference method to confirm the origin of gelatin's raw materials is available yet." So how are those inspections and regulations going to hold water if they don't even know where the raw materials are coming from? Maybe those raw materials are also cats, dogs and horses?

Plus, if you think for one second that the FDA, the organization which allows nearly 90% of all food to be contaminated with GMO chemicals, is going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to consult "outside experts" to review the safety of gelatin, research where it comes from, and inspect the processing plants, you're dead wrong.

Gelatin is classified as "food stuff" by the FDA, so you can be sure it took years of research and lab testing, andmillions of dollarsto come up with such a technical and scientific name.

Sources for this article include:

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Organic farming

Don't believe the lie: Organic farming CAN feed the world

(NaturalNews) One of the arguments often used to defend genetically-modified (GM) crops purports that biotechnology is necessary to feed the world, as non-GM and organic farming methods by themselves are incapable of producing enough food for everyone. But the truth of the matter is that organic farming by itself is fully capable of feeding the world -- we just need to make a few changes to the way we grow and raise our food, which includes putting an end to the factory farming methods that are destroying our health and the planet.

In a report entitledFeeding the Future, theSoil Association, a U.K.-based organic farming advocacy group, makes the case that organic and other agro-ecological farming systems are not only the solution to the world's hunger problems, but when implemented, these holistic methods of growing food actually facilitate bringing the world's poorest out of poverty.

On the flip side, GM farming systems perpetuate and even create poverty because they lock farmers into an endless cycle of dependence on corporations for both the next season's batch of self-destructing seeds, and the toxic chemical cocktails required to grow them. GM agriculture, in other words, is toxic to the world's economies, toxic to human health, and toxic to the environment.

As was shown in a recentRodale Institutestudy, which was the culmination of more than 30 years worth of research, organic farming systems actually produce higher yields than GM and non-GM conventional farming systems. Organic farming is also fully self-renewing and sustainable, as composting, manure, and other organic fertilizing methods naturally enrich soil and eliminate the need for toxic pesticides and herbicides (

A much as 40 percent of the world's grains are fed to factory farm animals

Besides the GMO issue, factory farming systems in general, including confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), are needlessly depleting much of the world's supply of grains. According to theSoil Association, as much as 40 percent of all the world's cereals are fed to livestock, and this could rise to 50 percent by 2050 if current trends continue.

Ruminating animals like cows and sheep were meant to eat grasses on pasture, not GM soy, corn, and the many other grains that are routinely fed to them on factory farms. Besides making the animals sick, as they were not designed to eat them, these grain mixtures require an intense amount of resources to grow and produce.

By letting animals graze naturally on pasture grasses, which humans cannot eat anyway, these grains could instead be used to feed humans. And grass-fed animals produce far healthier meat than grain-fed animals anyway, which means that human health across the globe would improve dramatically just from making the switch (

One third of the world's food ends up in the trash heap as waste

Particularly in the developed world, humans waste an incredible amount of food. TheSoil Associationsays that roughly one third of all food produced for human consumption ends up getting wasted. So if more people simply made a conscious effort to conserve food, or at least come up with simple ways to share unused food with those in need, hunger in many areas of the world would subside dramatically (

The group also mentions a type of food rationing system as another option, but such a tyrannical approach would be wholly unnecessary if the other methods were implemented, and if more people began growing their own organic food at home.

To read the full report, visit:

Sources for this article include:

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Animal testing

Top cosmetic companies give in to greed and resume cruel animal testing, blame China

(NaturalNews) After 20 years of being cruelty-free, companies like Mary Kay, Avon and Estee Lauder are once again testing on animals. Their excuse is that the Chinese government requires animal testing on products sold in China. Doubtful that is comforting to the animals who are tortured with burning chemicals in their eyes and on their skin in the name of greed.

All about the money

Despite the thousands of ingredients already deemed safe for use in personal care products, cosmetic companies are always looking for new ways to manipulate customers. To get a leg up on the competition, these companies change their formulas to include previously unused and formerly untested ingredients just so they can market them as new and improved. Of course this doesn't mean that they actually work better, just that they are slightly different.

Not wanting to lose out on a major source of revenue, Avon has bowed to the inhumane requirements of the Chinese without a fight, reports People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This from the company who announced to the world in June 1989 that it was permanently ending all animal testing, including testing performed in outside laboratories. However, since Avon created a loophole in their public promise that they "will conduct animal testing only when required by law" it is possible that they have been testing on animals for years, and without informing customers.

Estee Lauder has a similar loophole, using the law as an excuse for unnecessary cruelty. PETA reports that Estee Lauder also complied with the Chinese requirements without a fuss, and without telling customers who still think they are supporting a cruelty-free company. Of the major three, Mary Kay is the only one who is trying to convince China to change their policy, but is still using animal testing in the meantime.

Humane methods

Testing on animals is completely unnecessary. In addition to the thousands of ingredients that have already passed the testing phase for safety and efficacy, there are non-animal methods of testing that produce the same results. Companies such as the non-profitInstitute for In Vitro Sciences, Inc. not only employs these cruelty-freein vitromethods, they also teach them. Through workshops and webinars, laboratory staff are able to learn how to determine an ingredient's safety without injecting, force-feeding or topically applying ingredients on or into helpless animals.

TheInstitute for In Vitro Sciencesis currently forming a coalition of experts to hopefully instruct Chinese scientists on humane testing procedures, according to PETA. Over 1,000 companies already use compassionate methods and do not support animal testing, and not just when it is convenient.

Some companies that test on animals, or are owned by one that does

Johnson & Johnson
PZ Cussons
Procter & Gamble
Herbal Essences

Companies that never test on animals nor hire others to do so

Nature's Gate
Seventh Generation
Paul Mitchell Systems
Natura Essential
Wet N Wild

Companies that do not keep their promise to consumers need to be told that compassion and public trust are more important than money and marketing.

Sources for this article include:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Avon, Mary Kay, and Estee Lauder Are Paying for Tests on Animals

Institute for In Vitro Sciences: Home

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Search for Cruelty-Free Companies and Products

Opposing Views: Top Cosmetic Companies Quietly Resume Cruel Animal Testing

Uncaged Protecting Animals: How to Spot an Animal Testing Company

One Green Planet: Top Cosmetic Companies Reportedly Resume Animal Testing

About the author:
Sarka-Jonae Miller is a health writer and novelist. She was certified as a personal fitness trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. She also worked as a massage therapist, group exercise instructor and assistant martial arts instructor.
Miller's premiere novel, "Between Boyfriends," was recently published

Let's connect on Facebook
Or on Twitter @sarkajonae

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Risk of extinction

One-third of Earth's plants and animals now at risk of extinction

(NaturalNews) A third of all plants and animals on Earth are now at risk of going extinct, according to the most recent edition of the United Nations' Global Biodiversity Outlook.

The species now threatened with extinction include 21 percent of known mammals, 30 percent of amphibians and 35 percent of invertebrates.

"The magnitude of the damage [to ecosystems] is much bigger than previously thought," said Ahmed Djoghlaf, head of the Convention on Biological Diversity. "The rate of extinction is currently running at 1,000 times thenaturalhistorical background rate ofextinction."

The report blames the spread of Western consumerism and the attendant resource exploitation and pollution for much of the problem.

"It's a problem if we continue this unsustainable pattern of production and consumption," Djoghlaf said. "If the nine billion people predicted to be with us by 2050 were to have the same lifestyle as Americans, we would need five planets."

According to the report, the planet is nearing three tipping points beyond which crucialecosystemssupporting the climate,foodchain and overall biosphere will be damaged beyond repair: destruction of the Amazon rainforest, algae contamination of freshwater and coral reef collapse. Crossing these tipping points would cause drastic climate destabilization and species loss, and is likely to affect people's professional livelihoods and access to food and water.

Thebiodiversityoutlook was based partly on national reports assessing the progress of 110 countries toward biodiversity protection goals committed to in 2002.

"There is not a single country in the world that has achieved these targets; we continue to lose biodiversity at unprecedented rate," Djoghlaf said.

Adam Steiner, director general of the U.N. Environment Program, warned that a biodiverse planet is critical to maintaining human life and health across the world.

"Humanity has fabricated the illusion that somehow we can get by without biodiversity or that it is somehow peripheral to the contemporary world," he said.

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