Dogs Across Borders – From China to Everywhere

by Mary Haight on June 18, 2012

dogs across borders

Dogs across borders can reference a broad range of concepts, but this post is not about the abstract, not about property rights, shipping dogs from country to country, or disease vectors. It’s about an impossible trade situation that may have been brought on by hurried globalization efforts and made more dire by a stunning lack of effective oversight.

Imported dog food ingredients and finished food products from China, such as chicken jerky treats, have often been targeted on this blog, with good reason. The majority of imported pet products, including pet food, treats and ingredients, come from China. To understand why this represents a real danger to any importing country, you must understand the very serious air, water, soil pollution and contamination that exists in China, and the heavy pesticide, insecticide and herbicide use on crops and grasses. Synthetic pesticides are the most toxic, most widely used in China. They have destroyed a percentage of their arable land from improper and overuse of these chemicals. It’s important this information is passed on to everyone you know.

There is only one food chain. Food safety is paramount. This is not only about pet safety, but is also about public health and safety. We are importing pet food from a place where 123,00o people are poisoned by pesticides annually, 55% of cities ground water is not safe to drink, 25% of all the water in China’s 7 main river systems is not safe for human contact – contact! – and heavy metals are found in meat according to the video below (hat tip to Steve Dale ). Would you want your pets to eat food that is grown and processed under such conditions?

Arsenic and heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and copper end up in the food chain when animals ingest it through environmental exposures as in soil or drinking water for livestock, and also from feed. Arsenic in the soil persists, and when growing crops, arsenic is taken up by the vegetable or grain. The FDA were searching, we assume, for arsenic and heavy metals when they went to China to investigate what was causing illness or death in dogs from eating chicken jerky treats.

It’s a global world and what affects one country’s  dogs now affects dogs across borders. We have a right to know what we are feeding our dogs and where it comes from. Loopholes that industry have added to pet food regulations allowing them to hide the fact that they are using cheap pet food ingredients from China have got to be removed. Now, please.

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(Photo source: Wikipedia  Logo of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2006)
9 comments
Amanda
Amanda

Thank you for this post! This is such important information -- all pet owners should be informed about what is in the food they are giving to their pets. All pets deserve to be fed high quality food just like their owners!

dog training Calgary
dog training Calgary

I'm owning a dog for last five year and This is really life threatening thing we don't have any idea about foreign contamination that exists in China. just like food of pets we should also take care about content and ingredient of our food whether is it hygienic or not.

Pamela
Pamela

I wonder if we'll start seeing more attention to this issue if we link it to the news that more and more of human food ingredients are also coming from China. Not every one thinks it matters too much if dogs and cats are getting sick and even dying from bad ingredients. But more and more of the human food stream is coming from China and will feature the same problems.

Thomas Aaron
Thomas Aaron

Because of this, I put a lot of effort into patronizing products from the U.S. China just has very poor oversight, standards and regulation. (Of course, there have been plenty of U.S. based companies with recalls as well ... although not as frequently. Plus, in the U.S., there generally is oversight and recourse. I'd love to see a website with a comprehensive list of pet product/food brands, recall data, and a rating system so that consumers can more easily acquaint themselves with the data.

Champion of My Heart
Champion of My Heart

I wonder what would happen if all of us contacted our food makers / treat makers and asked if they use ingredients from China or not. Seems to me there would be a BIG market advantage for manufacturers who could say they don't.

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