Our take on the recent decision by a kibble manufacturer to ban raw fed dogs

Like many large corporate businesses, Burns Pet Nutrition have a ‘charitable’ arm. As part of this they run the Side by Side programme. This gives children that need help and support with their reading skills the opportunity to read to a visiting companion dog. A wonderful programme that really helps build the confidence and reading skills of the children lucky enough to have access to these dogs.

Yet earlier this month Burns Pet Food made a business decision thinly disguised as a welfare issue.

They have decided that companion dogs that are raw fed cannot be used in their Side By Side programme. They site many spurious reasons that do not actually hold up under scrutiny.

  • Burns claims that raw feeding is dangerous for both the humans and animals in the household. Yet do not give any sound links to proof of this - much like the opinion piece on Trust Me I’m a Vet that the BBC churned out a while back.
  • Burns quotes from American and Canadian sources that have links to Hills and Royal Canin; plus, a study carried out at the University of Liverpool - a biased study from a university with links to Royal Canin. A study that has not been peer reviewed nor published.

Reliable sources? Healthy pet food manufacturers? We think not. They have cherry-picked their sources. For example, they fail to quote The British Small Animal Veterinary Association that advises good food hygiene when feeding a raw diet. Why would they quote this? That wouldn’t serve the purpose of the article - scaremongering to put people off feeding a raw diet to their pets.

  • They also claim that dogs transfer antibiotic resistance to humans. We’re also not quite sure how dogs do this as no references were quoted. Even with 30+ years’ experience as a nurse, Rose can’t see how this is possible – if you can work this one out please do let us know.

We’d like to reassure you that in the UK, ANY commercial meat based pet food, RAW or COOKED must go through thorough and ongoing lab tests to ensure it is not contaminated with pathogens. The manufacturers must be licensed by Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) that is part of DEFRA and have ongoing legal commitments. Our kitchens (rightly so) have far more onerous requirements than a commercial kitchen prepping food for human consumption.

We see this decision by Burns as a biased one, taken purely to put down an industry / food regime that they know is growing so rapidly as to seriously challenge their market share. We believe it has very little to do with protecting humans and everything to do with protecting their profit margin.

Feeding a species appropriate raw diet gives your carnivorous pet the best chance of a long and healthy life. Hence your pets’ welfare is at the heart of what we do. From an ethical business, you should expect nothing less