I’ll give you the good news first: more and more people are making the choice to feed their companion animals natural, high quality foods. And that choice is one I fully support in my healing practice, both for my clients as well as for my own animals. A quality diet means more quality years together (see After the Pet Food Recall: why natural is the way to go).
The growth in demand for foods with healthy ingredients (human grade quality, organic, grain-free, free range proteins, etc.) has resulted in more manufacturers, and more choices. And one of those companies offering quality choices has been Natura, maker of Innova, Evo, California Natural, Healthwise, Mother Nature and Karma, many of which I have fed to my own animals over the years.
Now for the bad news: the growing popularity of natural pet foods has drawn the attention of giant conglomerate Proctor and Gamble (P&G). Sadly, they have now purchased Natura, much to the horror of many pet professionals as well as pet owners who feel blindsided by what they considered a sellout to corporate interests.
The possibility of the sale was a hot topic on an animal communicators group where I am a member. Information was shared regarding Proctor and Gamble’s’s history of testing on animals, alleged political alliances with special interest animal groups, as well as what could happen to Natura’s food based on past history. (In 1999 P&G purchased Iams/Eukanuba, and subsequently changed the formula to lesser quality ingredients.)
One group member shared information from her holistic vet who said that legally a pet food manufacturer could change the ingredients up to 5% within a possible six month period without changing the label. Which means that consumers may not realize that something had changed unless they are very well informed, or their animal has a reaction (which I have seen happen while working in a natural pet food store).
When the proposed sale became reality, I went to the site of a holistic vet whose opinion and information I trusted. I discovered that Dr. Jean Hofve, Little Big Cat, had written two scathing articles: Quality pet food choices dwindling – Bye Bye Natura and Done deal – Natura is now Procter and Gamble. Her information supported most of what I had heard from others, and, on the basis of P&G’s history of animal testing alone, Dr. Hofve was advocating a boycott of all P&G’s products, including their pet foods—a position I support.
And I’m not the only one. Internet scuttlebutt suggests that many natural pet food stores are refusing to carry any of the brands now owned by P&G.
Just this week I was at Next to Nature, a small local Seattle area chain, and they had set up an entire aisle devoted to the brands previously named, along with a prominently posted sign that detailed their future plans and reasons for not carrying Natura products—reasons that included P&G’s history of testing products on animals.
The change is not immediate, Next to Nature is giving customers needed time to transition to another food. For now they are suggesting that Canadian-manufactured Orijen may be a good substitute since they use similar proteins in their formula.
Others favor Taste of the Wild, rated as a quality food in the February issue of Whole Dog Journal’s yearly list of 2010 Approved Dry Foods (Orijen also made the list, and my animals, who I consider experts, like both foods).
In that same issue (prior to the proposed sale of Natura to Proctor and Gamble), Whole Dog Journal asked the million dollar question, “Can corporate titans produce foods of the same quality as the little ‘boutique’ companies that were founded on the concept of producing only the very best, healthiest dog foods?”
Well, Proctor and Gamble, can you? Perhaps more to the point—will you?
What do you think?
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.