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Pet euthanasia

Certain Pets Targeted for Euthanization Because of Breed Profiling

Saturday, August 16, 2008 by: Susan Thixton
Tags: pet euthanasia, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) A recent article in the Leaf Chronicle, Clarksville, TN newspaper has got the fur flying. The Leaf Chronicle reported on euthanizing procedures for the county Animal Control. Horrendous standard procedures flatly euthanize particular breeds regardless of the dog's history or circumstances. Simply because of their breed they are issued a death sentence without any chance of redemption. The shelter reports that 40% of pure bred dogs are euthanized. My guess is those numbers are greatly under reported.

Remember Michael Vick and his collection of fighting pit bulls? The Humane Society and PETA both lobbied to have Vick's fighting dog collection euthanized. However some intelligent pet lovers fought a little harder and won the right to rehabilitate these dogs. The result was nothing less than amazing. The dogs were provided with love and responsible training and are now loving family members living the life they deserve. Here's a link to a photo montage of Vick's rehabilitated dogs: (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/specials/...) .

To flatly give a death sentence just because of an animal's breed is not only unjust -- it is down right irresponsible and cold hearted. Animal Control Shelters that practice such breed discrimination (most do) are lazy and a useless waste of tax dollars. Your tax dollars not only pay the salary of the county Animal Control director who decides the shelter death sentence protocol and employees who kill without just cause, but your tax dollars also pay to have the remains of thousands of euthanized animals removed from the shelter. This 'service' is not cheap. Euthanized animals cannot be buried in land fills -- their chemical laden bodies pose a risk to wildlife who might consume the carcass. The euthanizing drug -- pentobarbital -- has been responsible for the death of many species of wildlife including Bald Eagles who have consumed the euthanized animal. Sadly, euthanized pets are rendered -- cooked -- and the end ingredients become part of various products; rumors have existed for years that euthanized pets become pet food ingredients.

Back in 1994, journalist Van Smith of Baltimore City Paper published one of the first of only a handful of reports on the elusive rendering industry. Valley Proteins provided Smith with a tour of 'pick-ups' and the Valley Proteins plant. The paper published his heart breaking report showing before and after photos. Before photos were barrels of euthanized dogs and cats, after photos was an employee with a handful of finished product the article states is on it's way to becoming meat and bone meal (a common pet food/treat ingredient). After the article was published, journalist Van Smith was overwhelmed with comments from outraged pet owners, various media interview requests, and he later became the first witness to take the stand for Oprah in her lawsuit with the cattle industry. If you have the stomach for it, Van Smith's article is still available online: (http://www.citypaper.com/about/vansmith.asp) . Scroll to the bottom of the page for two links to 'What's Cookin'. A warning -- the pictures are startling. Also, here is the link to Smith's recount of his experience with the Oprah trial in Texas: (http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=3...) .

Rumors continue that end ingredients from the processing of euthanized animals become ingredients in pet food. The pet food industry denies that rendered euthanized pets become pet food. To date there is no evidence that proves or denies the rumors. The FDA tested dog food in 2000 and results proved positive for pentobarbital (the euthanizing drug) in many brands of pet foods. The FDA website still provides the pentobarbital in dog food report at (http://www.fda.gov/cvm/FOI/DFreport.htm) . Scroll to the bottom of the first page, click on Appendix to read further test results. The bottom of the Appendix page provides another link to the list of pet foods tested and the results. We know for a fact that pentobarbital is in pet foods; or to be completely accurate we know for a fact that pentobarbital was found in pet foods when the FDA last tested for it back in 2000.

My own personal campaign to DNA test pet foods for remains of pets has yet to discover a lab capable of the task, but last year I did speak to a scientist (Dr. Kupiec of DNA Solutions Research Labs) who shared with me his lab 'frequently tests pet food for pentobarbital'. So being completely accurate again, we also know that pet foods continue to be tested for pentobarbital privately. But there is still the underlying concern of the species source of the pentobarbital we know is in some pet foods.

Published in the January/February 2004 FDA newsletter are the findings of the Center for Veterinary Management (sub category of the FDA) testing results trying to determine the species source of pentobarbital in pet food. The conclusion: "The results of this study demonstrated a lack of correlation between species identity and the presence of pentobarbital in dog food." Please note the words 'lack of correlation' between species identity. Even though the CVM results proved no correlation or no connection of pentobarbital to a specific animal source they stated dog or cat DNA was not the source. Confusing isn't it? The only solid information the CVM study discovered was that the common pet food ingredient 'Animal Fat' was found most likely to contain pentobarbital; in other words the pet food ingredient 'Animal Fat' is the most likely of all pet food ingredients to contain the remains of a euthanized animal and the drug used to end their life. We still don't know what type of euthanized animal. Here is the link to the CVM findings: (http://www.fda.gov/cvm/Jan-Feb04Vet.htm) . Scroll down the page to the article titled 'CVM Scientists Develop PCR Test to Determine Source of Animal Products in Feed, Pet Food'.

Regardless of where the remains of millions and millions of euthanized dogs and cats end up, the fact remains millions and millions of homeless animals are killed in the U.S. every year. One organization -- one man specifically -- has proven time and time again the killing does not have to take place as many Animal Control and shelter directors insist. The man is Nathan Winograd, his organization No Kill Advocacy Center (http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org) , has proven the killing can be stopped. His book Redemption should be a must read for every Animal Control and shelter director; especially a must read for those that sign the Animal Control directors pay check. Another warning -- Redemption is challenging to read for those with a soft heart. The profound evidence that Mr. Winograd provides of needless dog and cat killings is hard to take. But it's one of those books that every pet lover should read despite the reality of his words.

This book provides a solution to anyone willing to listen. No animal shelter or county animal control should euthanize because of breed. The Tennessee article can be read here: (http://www.theleafchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dl...) . Perhaps if Animal Control Shelters and other shelters who needlessly euthanize pets could learn to make some changes, open up to a newer, proven effective way of operation, perhaps there would be less of a concern of euthanized animals in pet food. It could be a win/win situation for pet food manufacturers and for pets if only someone would listen.

About the author

Susan Thixton has an international pet people following providing dog and cat lovers a trusted source for pet food and pet food ingredient information. She's been called courageous, perseverant, even "the Caped Crusader for Pets" for her 16 year study of pet food. Susan Thixton is the author of hundreds of pet industry articles and the 2006 released book Truth About Pet Food (currently being updated for a second edition). She developed and publishes the pet product consumer magazine Petsumer Report and is a frequent speaker and radio guest all over the U.S. and Canada with more than 70 appearances in the last 2 years.
If you are looking for straight forward pet food information that can have an almost immediate impact on your pet's health - subscribe to the free newsletter, and subscribe to Petsumer Report to see reviews of close to 700 dog and cat foods and treats (adding 40+ each month). Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life. http://www.TruthAboutPetFood.com

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