The Disgusting Truth About “Pet Food” – guest blog by Curran Russell

Posted in the Facebook group Vegan Cats by Curran Russell:

Original post:

“Given who we are, we seek to care for them as we do ourselves: Cruelty-Free. There is the matter of food. Dogs, for the most part, can eat a plant-based diet. In the wild, they are scavengers and eat really anything. One must take care to supplement their food as best you can if taking them the vegetarian route. Cats, however, are “obligate carnivores” and nature has designed them to thrive on animal-based proteins and fats – everything about them is carnivore. So how can we feed them a healthy and vital, cruelty-free diet? We have the technology to feed them a well-supplemented, plant-based diet with no ill effects. I have friends who feed their cats on throw-aways from the fish markets and from the butcher – really, no worse (morally and ethically) than road-kill, I suppose.

(Ed. note: that last point is debatable. I would argue that such flesh should only be used to transition cats to a Vegan diet or for the very few cats who can’t or won’t eat a Vegan diet)

The following is an article I read last weekend. It is from the new “Bella DOG magazine” spring/summer issue. It is in a seriously glossy, non-recyclable, nonEarth-friendly format, whose advertising is appealing to the idle rich (or so it seems) but their focus is also very much on rescue – and pictorial articles on the efforts on behalf of strays internationally. They had an article loaded with information about pet foods and warnings about toxic content, and why there are toxic contents. It isn’t pretty – OMG, not pretty at all. I applaud the article – we need to know these things! They spared nothing.

The article starts out by telling us that in pet foods, there have been amounts of lead, chromium, and cadmium and what they do to your companion after an accumulation over the years (cancer, kidney failure, etc). Then it goes on under the byline: “Toxic Pet Food?

Pentobarbital, a drug frequently used to euthanize pets, continues to be found in pet food – this is probably from pets, cattle, and horses that have been euthanized using pentobarbital and then sent to rendering plants.”

You may want to read that again. According to University of Minnesota researchers, the sodium pentobarbital used to euthanize pets “survives rendering without undergoing degradation.” Pentobarbital is known to cause chronic and degenerative diseases. “Rendering plants process decomposing animal carcasses, large roadkill and euthanized dogs and cats into a dry protein product that is sold to the pet food industry. One small plant in Quebec, Ontario, renders 10 tons (22,000 pounds) of dogs and cats per week. The Quebec Ministry of Agriculture states that “the fur is not removed from dogs and cats” and that “dead animals are cooked together with viscera, bones, and fat at 115 degrees C (235 F) for 20 minutes.”

Fat Stabilizers are introduced into the finished rendered product to prevent rancidity. Common chemical stabilizers include BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) both known to cause liver and kidney dysfunction – and ethoxyquin, an insecticide that has been linked to liver cancer and a suspected carcinogen have all been used as a preservative in dog foods. Many semi-moist dog foods contain propylene glycol as a fat stabilizer and is the first cousin to the anti-freeze agent, ethylene glycol that destroys red blood cells.”

Mycotoxins, potentially deadly fungal toxins that multiply in moldy grains, have repeatedly been found in pet foods.

Vegetable Protein,” the mainstay of dry dog foods, includes ground yellow corn, wheat shorts, and middlings, soybean meal, rice husks, peanut meal and peanut shells (identified as “cellulose” on pet food labels). These often are little more than the sweepings from milling room floors. Stripped of their oil, germ, and bran, these “proteins” are deficient in essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants. “Animal Protein” in commercial pet foods can include diseased meat, roadkill, contaminated material from slaughterhouses, fecal matter as well as rendered cats and dogs and poultry feathers.

Harmful chemicals and preservatives are added to both wet and dry food. For example, sodium nitrate -a coloring agent and preservative, and potential carcinogen- is a common additive. The average dog can consume as much as 26 pounds of preservatives every year from eating commercial pet foods.”

The article continues with the dangers of flame retardants in bedding containing PBDEs, phthalates in plastic toys and food dishes, and other various dangers. They recommend glass or ceramic food and water bowls that do not leech chemicals. Now I don’t feel like such a freak making my own dog and cat food. The last cat I lost to liver cancer is the last cat I’ll lose to liver cancer. Remember, the people who make the average pet foods have the same morals as the people who make bacon, hot dogs and commercial sodas – they do not care about your health, they only care about your money. We are responsible for ourselves and our companions, and education in these matters is our responsibility as well.”

Here’s another great source for info on this subject:

Some of what’s in your nonhuman family’s food:



If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s incredible for the animals, easy and great for you, and wonderful for the planet. If you’re already Vegan, please educate non-Vegans about why they should go Vegan. Please rescue, volunteer, adopt, foster, spay, and neuter the nonhuman refugees of domestication whenever you can. Please feed your nonhuman family Vegan where you can. These things are the most important, morally responsible things to do and are desperately needed by everyone.

To learn more about Abolitionist Veganism and the issues I’ve outlined in this post, check out The Master List Of Vegan Info:

Disclaimer: My only goal with this list is to produce as comprehensive a resource for Vegan information as possible. I am 100% Abolitionist Vegan and 100% against exploitation of nonhuman or human animals, any type of violence against human or nonhuman persons or property, welfare regulation, any form of speciesism, ethnic bigotry, genderism, ableism, heterosexism, etc., any of the large governmental or non-governmental nonhuman animal organizations, “happy meat,” vegetarianism, veg*nism, Meat-Free Mondays, or other forms of reductionism and anything else that makes it seem like any form of violence or exploitation of animals is ok. If any of those positions are endorsed on any site in this list, or any language is used to imply that, it’s not that I included that link because I agree, but simply because I don’t control every bit of information on all of these sites.

4 thoughts on “The Disgusting Truth About “Pet Food” – guest blog by Curran Russell

  1. Pingback: INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CAT SITTER | The Legacy Of Pythagoras

  2. Pingback: Master List Of Vegan Info | The Legacy Of Pythagoras

  3. Pingback: The Issue Of Domestication And Companion Animals | The Legacy Of Pythagoras

  4. Pingback: The Nonhuman Refugees Of Domestication | The Legacy Of Pythagoras

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