The cat's meow
Anna Louise Batchelor - 02 May 2012
I’m a crazy cat lady. There I’ve admitted it and got that one out of the way. All of my life I have shared my home with pets; from three-legged dogs to ‘stray’ ducks, but it’s having a cat around the house that I enjoy the most. It was second nature for me to have all kinds of waifs and strays around the place because my gran had been a volunteer for the RSPCA and often bought her work home with her. Growing up with a menagerie of pets and a gran who railed against animal cruelty gave me an utmost respect for animals. However whilst my care for these pets was foremost in my mind, it wasn’t until recently that I thought about the cruelty behind the meat that goes into the pet food I fed them.
Four years ago I adopted a cat from my local animal rescue centre. At the grand age of 16, Victor (the cat) needed that little bit of extra care which made me review the nutrition he was getting from his conventional tinned cat food. My initial shock over the poor quality of the tin's contents (fillers like ash and high water content) quickly turned into me thinking about the origin of the meat. This left a question in my head; “as someone who only eats certified organic meat, by buying tinned pet food am I unwittingly supporting the conventional meat industry and its factory produced, inhumanly reared meat?”
The organisation Compassion In World Farming (CIWF) is leading a path on the issue by talking about how high welfare food isn’t just for people and giving information on where to buy ‘ethical pet food’. For me the solution was a homemade one; organic offal turned into cat food via my sausage mincer. Now that’s nose-tail eating!
Of course not everyone can or wants to prepare offal and dishing it up at 6am needs a calm stomach. That’s why I also gave Victor organic biscuits made from organic chicken and rice, which also meant he had a varied and balanced diet.
Now I can’t make any scientific claims to this, but from the age of 16 to the dignified age of 20 Victor led a very healthy life and really enjoyed his food. I was happy too that I could ensure the high welfare standards of the food he ate.
If you choose to eat organic meat please stop and think about your pets too and support great ethical pet food companies and not those who exploit and mistreat animals.
Anna Louise Batchelor is an environmental scientist who has worked in academia, government and industry. For the last six years she has been part of Reading's True Food Co-op.
06 May 2012 16:01
Good post, an often over looked area.
03 May 2012 19:57
Interesting post. Agree with RobH. We worry about what we eat ourselves but often forget about what goes into commercial pet food.
03 May 2012 11:27
Great post - I think there's a lot of people who are careful about what they eat themselves, but don't realise that by buying crappy pet food they're supporting the meat industry.
Even if you don't go organic, it's much better and cheaper to buy a bag of offcuts from your local butcher or fishmonger, cook it up and freeze it than buy nasty petfood. It's what our grandparents always did with their pets.
02 May 2012 22:11
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