my raw pets - I'm having a dilemma!!!
Ok, I know not everyone turns to a raw vegan (the vegan aspect moreso then the raw) for ethical purposes, so these questions probably wont attain to that group.
My family was vegan for over 8 years before becoming raw. Our veganism was first and foremost about ethical reasons (animal welfare and rights). Environmental concerns came second. And health came in last. We became raw vegan almost a year ago (wow, it's been a long time) for our health. So my point is, even before our health concerns, we were all about the animals.
Now, we have started the process of moving our dog to a raw foods diet, and have/had plans to do the same to our kitties in the coming weeks. However, a few nights ago as we were driving back home (we just went on a cross county trip - south carolina to las vegas and back again), I got a huge pit in my stomach about our decision. I am and have always been totally opposed to the idea of raising animals for food. 8 years ago I pledged to myself that I would no longer support such a cause. It disgusts me, it saddens me, it really hits me on a deep level. So how can I, in good conscience, continue to buy raw animal meat for my pets?
I'm not opposed to the eating of raw meat for carnivores (which people are not). It's not the idea of my dog eating an animal that gets me ... it is strictly the fact that the animal hanging out of my pets mouth was specifically raised for such a purpose. That's disgusting to me. Severely disgusting!
I know, I know - all of our domestic companions should have just been left as they were ... wild, and then we wouldn't have these problems. But, that's just not reality. We don't purchase from petstores. Our pooch and both cats were all stray animals that we took in to save them from the death that would have been their fate had animal control picked them up.
Has anyone else struggled with this? How did you handle it?
I would love to hear any thoughts, ideas, feelings, stories, etc on the subject ... I really am very torn over this!
*\/* RAW since april 24, 2007 *\/*
I'm a raw vegan, unschooling, peace loving, easy going, crunchy Momma to my 3 lil beans, and adoring wife of 10 years to my wonderful man. Experience my journey with me ...
It's tough, I know it is. I went vegan overnight in 2005 after watching Meet Your Meat. I did it strictly for the animals at first (now it's health, too). But, when I plan to be a kitty or puppy's mama, I plan to feed them what's natural for them to eat. I would try to buy organic of course, humanely raised meat (maybe from a small farm?). An animal's gotta eat and it's not fair to deprive them of what's natural for them because we as humans don't agree with it. You could also check into a really healthy animal kibble or BARF, also. I haven't thought TOO much about the subject because all of my animals now are herbis (2 rats and a guinea)
I posted about this just a few months ago. I could find the thread if you want. My dilemma was similar -- I just felt like it's so unethical what happens to the animals that are sold for food.
And I felt like (and feel like now too) I've been put in an awkward position between harming another animal or harming the one that snores next to me as I type away.
No matter what, the stuff found in most dog food might not resemble a feeble, poorly treated animal... but that's not an option because they obviously didn't just pull the animal parts out of thin air. Those animals are the animals we read about in graphic books depicting the horrors of animals that are raised for food.
My best -- and still not great -- solution was to buy only organic meat for him. No, it's not ideal at all. But I figure it's more likely that organic, no hormones etc. animals led a better life than those that are factory farmed and pumped with hormones.
Boli (aforementioned snoring dog) eats about 2-3 chicken legs per day and every other day gets the same mixed with a green smoothie and flax OR mixed with a crushed, whole egg.
I've thought about finding a local place so that I at least know the conditions, but I haven't done that. And honestly, it's still not a real solution. Which is unfortunate.
And I don't know about yours, but my dog loves to chase and canNOT actually catch wild animals!!
Its a though dilemma, and I have actually thought about it myself.
Now, I buy ordinary food for my cat, but if I should give her raw food, I have considered giving here fish. I could never kill the fish myself, but my boyfriend is a meateater, and he loves to fish(for food, not just for fun). Those fishes have lived theire live free, and since my cat need meat, I dont see that big problem.
So maybe you could ask someone you know to fish for you? I know I wouldnt buy the fish, because I dont want to support the mass production/slaughter.
But I dont know if just fish will be enough for a cat, I dont know exactly what a cat needs. Maybe also eggs from free and organic breed hens?
It's not a dilemma at all for me. I believe in the Mother Goddess, I believe in Mother Earth... and I believe in the circle of life.
Think of the overpopulation of bugs alone if everything on this planet stopped eating meat!
I don't feel badly at all when I feed my snakes... they eat what they eat and that's nature.
I don't feel bad when I feed my dogs... they are carnivores. So that's what they get.
I feed my fish... they get food made from the highest quality ingredients... and some of those ingredients are other fish. That's the way it is.
The circle of life is there for a reason.
recycling goddess: I too belive in the goddess and mother earth, I understand and acknowledge the necessarity of the cicle of life.
But I do NOT agree with the treatment humans give animals when they breed them in the way they do. Its cruel and NOT necessary, since we do not need meat. I cannot see it as a part of the cicle of life. This is one of the reasons why I became an vegetarian in the first place.
That said, I do not judge those who give theire animals meat or eat meat themself, its up to each one of us to decide :)
i totally agree with you! totally. the place we are fortunate to get our raw dog food from... gets it from small time local farmers... so the meat is treated ethically. (i live in a small town so we know the people running the company)...
People who belive in the goddess/mother earth tend to think and act in that way, yes ;)
Originally Posted by recycling goddess
See, I'm not opposed to the eating of meat if you're a carnivore. I'm not trying to "turn" my pets into vegans by anymeans. They absolutely need meat, and I wouldn't dream of trying to convert them based on own personal feelings. My dilemma is strictly on the actions of raising animals as food. Without such a barbaric practice, the circle of life would still go on. Wild carnivores would still get their meat. I would still get my veggies. On and on we would go. But when it comes to breeding and raising animals for food, well, that is just not a natural process in the "circle of life", in my opinion.
You made a good point, Eva, about the packaged dog foods. A simple concept, really. By owning a carnivorous pet, you ARE going to be supporting practices that raise animals for food no matter which way you turn. You can choose the less healthy, nicely packaged bags of kibble that actually "work" because they don't stir up thoughts or feelings about the origin. Or you can choose the more healthful (and absolutely more appealing to the one eating it) slabs of raw meat, that are definitely more "in your face" and feeling provoking. Either way, it's all still dead animal that was raised for food.
JennaBoBenna, I went vegan too after watching Meet You Meat! I was vegetarian for about a week (maybe less) when I watched that. It was amazing how oblivious I was to the entire thing, a big eye opener - for sure!
*\/* RAW since april 24, 2007 *\/*
I'm a raw vegan, unschooling, peace loving, easy going, crunchy Momma to my 3 lil beans, and adoring wife of 10 years to my wonderful man. Experience my journey with me ...
argh. SO FRUSTRATING. I just spend AGES working on a reply, and the internet ATE it...so here goes again. not nearly so complete or articulate or heartfelt as the first time...but heres a second try.
You might want to check out Evolution Diet (Dry) Pet Food.
I know many on this board will disagree with what I am about to say, but I have thought and researched long and hard about this issue. Similar to your situation, I became vegetarian (18 years ago, when I was 11) and then mostly vegan (6 or so years ago) primarily for ethical reasons. While I felt that other reasons for doing so, such as environmental, social justice, eating lower on the food chain, etc were important, the core of my reason for doing so was that I did not want my survival to warrant the deaths of other creatures for me to eat. (I fully recognize that no diet is truly kill-free or cruelty free; even vegan diets are guilty of containing food from land that wildlife has been forced off of and from accidental wildlife deaths from farm machinery, destruction of small animal nests and young, etc; unfortunately, there is no pure land. HOWEVER, clearly meat eating causes death directly and to a much larger extent than veganism.) To me, it is not just "inhumane" raising of animals for meat that is problematic and wrong, it is the raising of animals AT ALL for meat that is problematic and wrong. (I think this is similar to what you are getting at regarding your beliefs too) Why cause more pain and suffering in a world that is already filled to the brim overflowing with violence? And why snuff out other lives when we can live thriving lives without doing so? Over time, my reasons for being vegan, then raw vegan, expanded to include health as a central tenet as well, but at the core, my commitment to veganism is primarily ethical at its core. Even if I were told that I could be healthier (which I have been told this) by going back to eating meat, I would not do it. I could not do it. It is just not an option for me; I feel so strongly that it is not our place to take away the lives of other creatures; I feel this at the very core of my being. Compassion for other creatures really is key for me.
While I agree that meat is a natural food for dogs, I do not think that this means that dogs cannot be healthy on a non-meat diet. I also feel strongly that if a dog can be healthy on a non-meat diet, then a person should not be faulted for feeding them such. This world has enough violence and cruelty and bloodletting in it; bringing about a little more compassion in it is not something to be faulted, nor will I accept being criticized for choosing to feed my dog a nutrient-rich, balanced vegan diet which she thrives on. I know many vegans choose to feed their dogs meat-based diets, and I understand their reasons for doing so. However, I have a happy, healthy, exuberant, energetic boxer that I feed a (partly raw) vegan diet and she does quite well on it. I have also fed other dogs vegetarian/vegan diets in the past and they, too, have done well on them, and I know of other cases of vegetarian/vegan dogs that have thrived on such a diet.
Its not really clear to me in your post if you are asking for other solutions or just hoping for some way to resolve the conflict inside of you, and all I can offer you is advice on the non-meat options side of things. Im not really sure if this is what you are looking for though. I really dont think that the "feeling in the pit of your stomach" is going to be something that you can easily reconcile or make go away while still feeding your dog a meat-based diet. I have had similar experiences in the past when I have had to make decisions regarding using products that have caused or will necessitate the ongoing suffering and/or death of other creatures, and that feeling has only gone away when I have chosen against the meat or other product involved. When a person's veganism is, at the core, ethical, decisions like these are really a matter that can affect our very well-being, our very souls, our very integration within ourselves. For me, the only viable solution was to find a balanced meat-free diet for my dog. I understand that many people on this board feel that raw (raw meat, not vegan or raw-vegan) is the way to go, and I understand why they feel that way, however I dont think that that is the only option for a diet upon which a dog can thrive, and I also dont think that its a viable option for many ethical vegans. Nor do I think that ethical vegans are wrong to try to find an alternative way of feeding other than cruelty-based foods (which ALL meat based foods are, organic or not. There is no such thing as truly "humane" slaughter, nor such thing as a truly "humane" taking a life away.) I would recommend looking into Evolution diet dry dog food for the dogs. There are a number of vegetarian/vegan pet foods commercially available (mostly dog), but I have found vegedog to be the most complete and palatable of what is available; it also contains probiotics, which I think are pretty critical, and my dog has done the best on this food (as well as liked it the best). You will find mixed reviews on the internet, particularly in regards to the Evolution canned food, but I have had good luck with the dry. There is also a great little book called "Vegetarian Dogs" by Veronica Rebow that you can order from her website that has balanced homemade vegan meals for dogs; the book also provides content from a vet regarding the nutritional efficacy of the meals and evaluation of the pets he has seen over the years that have been fed on these recipes. The book is largely anecdotal and based on the authors own experiences, but it is well-researched and my dogs have liked the food out of there--although it is rather time consuming. similarly, there is a supplement called Vegedog that you can get and some people have had really good luck with it; personally I found the recipes that it needed to be added to to be time consuming and my dog wasnt thrilled with them either. My dog currently gets Evolution dry dog food and a variety of raw fruits and veggies and occasional other random vegan handouts (including occasional cooked veggies, etc). She absolutely LOVES raw fruits and some raw veggies, and also automatically LOVES just about anything a person is eating. I am not strict about her diet in regards to what other people feed her as "treats" such as at doggie training classes, or at a friends house, or the like; I am not worried about her eating bits of meat in these cases, however, I choose not to further contribute to the pain and suffering caused by the meat industry that I would be inevitably supporting by feeding her a meat-based diet. I also would not be opposed to adding free-range eggs to her diet if that were necessitated--after all, chickens lay eggs and leave them laying around anyway--, but would prefer to get them from a free-range source that allowed their hens to die of old age (as my family did when I was growing up) instead of prematurely killing them when they stopped laying.
If you have cats, Cats are a little trickier; they are more like obligate carnivores and require nutrients that are harder to get in a non-meat food; I havent researched them in depth; some people have had good luck with various vegetarian/vegan foods and supplements such as VegeCat, but some people have also had problems with urinary tract infections, especially in male cats. So I would advise doing a bit more research on this one. I think theres a vegancats website if you google vegan cats you could check out for reviews if you have cats.
So for everyone who is ready to attack me (yes, I am on the defensive because I have been attacked on this board before in regards to this issue and my choice not to feed my dog meat) : no, Im not arguing that meat is not the natural food for companion animals, but I AM arguing that it may be possible for your pets, especially your dogs, to thrive on a non-meat based diet. Please dont attack us who are trying to find a better way for ALL animals and who are trying to work towards a more compassionate world. There is far too much violence, pain, and suffering in this world already.
Anyway, not sure if any of this helped, but good luck
Kaybee, that is definitely something to think about. Do you do flax or anything in your dog's diet? Maybe you could share a little more so that you're helping offer a big solution if that would work.
How old is your dog? Have you been feeding him (her? it?!) this way for a long time?
Thanks for your heartfelt and thorough answer! :)
I used to use ground flax regularly along with alot of wheat germ and also small amounts of cold pressed unrefined organic sunflower oil when I was doing all her meals home-made. I keep meaning to add it back in... I got alot of comments on her coat being super-shiny...but I guess Ive gotten a bit lax now that Ive started using a commercial food (Evolution). IWhen I was making the meals, I also added recommended supplements, based on recipes and supplement recommendations in the "Vegetarian Dogs" book by Veronica Rebow, such as zinc and calcium (I used the calcified seaweed form of calcium because it was readily available and more like a food-source.). Doing the meals myself was a bit more time consuming than I would have liked, however, I was living in Ireland at the time, and pup wasnt a big fan of either of the UK varieties of vegan dog food available--she liked "crunchies" and they were both "flake" variety. Frankly, I didnt like either of them either and though I believe they met the UK dog food nutritional requirements, I wasnt confident she was getting what she needed from them. I got her when she was 3 months old, shes a year now, and immediately transitioned her off of the meat food she had been being fed. For the summer, I fed her meals from the book, along with free choice of the "flake" food (happidog and wackidog), (which she promptly picked the "crunchies" out of and ate, while strewing the "flake" all over the living room floor while dragging her dish around. gotta love boxers ;) ) I also fed her some fruit and both raw and cooked veggies, and she occasionally got random other stuff. I dont think that the "flake" food is a good concept, although the company who makes it seems to be reputable and doing well; but I dont think that its easily digestible. I also think that there are some foods that dogs can probably utilize better when they are lightly steamed; though the nutrient content is higher in raw, Im not sure their bodies can access all the minerals; so I often varied her diet by using both. The "Vegetarian Dogs" book recipes utilize mostly grains and/or proteins mixed with veggies and supplements and oils, such as sunflower. I used cold-pressed unrefined organic sunflower or olive oil. These would tend to be things such as rice, oats, sometimes wheat and soy, depending on the recipe, and there are wheat and soy-free recipes as well, and include fresh veggies and supplemental foods such as kelp powder and wheat germ. I know many feel that grain is not an appropriate food for dogs, but my dog seems to be healthy on this sort of diet; she seems to be able to absorb nutrients, and she has loads of energy and a shiny coat and good attitude, and doesnt smell as "doggy" as some other dogs, and I suspect there are many other dogs also thriving on this type of diet or else I imagine the companies who make vegan food would be suffering or out of business by now. I might also add that there are many dogs that do not belong to vegetarians or vegans that eat meat-free diets due to health reasons; there are pet food companies that produce vegetarian and vegan dog foods intended for animals with sensitivities and allergies. So there are other dogs eating vegetarian/vegan besides just those belonging to vegetarians/vegans.
When I got back to the states, I tried my pup on several different vegetarian and/or vegan commercial foods, before settling on evolution. This is by far the one she liked the best and the one that I was happiest with the nutritional make-up and ingredients of. She does also get offered a fair amount of other food, mostly raw fruits and veggies, though sometimes sprouted bread, peanut butter in her KONG toy, etc. I would hesitate to feed her ANY ONE food without supplementing with other fruits/veggies, etc; I think variety may be key to maintaining a healthy dog. She has had no health problems although she has always, even when I got her, been on the ganglier, lighter, more petite side of things. I have, however, actually gotten comments from more than one person, including my trainer, on how her weight is perfect for her frame, and its nice to see a lighter dog; as so many dogs in the US are overweight today.
anyway, ive not time to write any more at the moment; hope this helps.
I would not do peanut butter. Just me perhaps but not my kind of thinking here. Even though it's 30+ years with me not eating any animal products, I do give my dog raw meat. She's not a vegan. So far been very pleased with results of no sickness and no money spent on vets but her food only. She's raw 8 years too.
You will REALLY love reading about Ani Phyo's dog Kanga. She rescued him from an animal shelter and she was very sick. After nursing him back to health she transitioned her diet to raw vegan. She has a beautiful shiny coat and is a very handsome dog. She even tells you how to make the dog food that she uses and how she had to train her to eat the raw vegan food. It was INCREDIBLY interesting for even me. Oh, the other thing is she talks about how she uses alot of the ends of her vegetables in Kanga's food and cuts down on the waste....also she says that when other dogs come to her house, they all want Kanga's food. She gets many compliments on how healthy and vibrant her dog is compared to others of her same bread. Good Luck.