The Humane Society of the United States recently announced that they’re getting into the dog food business. The new organic-certified brand, called Humane Choice, is 99.9% vegan (some of the vitamins may come from animal sources) and will be sold at Petco, Whole Foods and other stores. 6% of the wholesale price will benefit the organization’s various programs. (I’m curious as to how the remaining 94% breaks down.)
The HSUS developed this new product to “offer consumers a wholesome and nutritious dog food that does not contain animal-based proteins or support the factory farming industry.”
There are a few points of interest to this announcement. One, many people are still not buying the whole “vegan dog” option. Some commenters on the site Truth About Petfood freaked out that the HSUS would release such a product; calling it “cruel” and “inhumane” to give to dogs. Said one person, “Canines need meat protein to survive healthily. Period!” And then there was this one: “There is no way i’d even think about feeding my fabulous dog swill hawked by vegans who think pet ownership is immoral and are working to make it virtually impossible for the average family to afford to put a pet under the tree at xmas!” [Ed note: WTF?]
To be fair, some dogs may require meat-based nutrients during puppyhood or pregnancy, but for the most part will do quite well on a vegan diet. In their FAQ, HSUS are quick to point out that Humane Choice is for adults only. They also recommend checking with your vet before transitioning to the new food — as certain breeds may have different dietary needs. Saying your dog will suffer by eating Humane Choice is just ridiculous. And if they didn’t like it, would you still force them to eat it? Makes me wonder if the people criticizing such alternatives really understand the shit found in regular dog food. Methinks they would be stunned.
The one thing I find disappointing about Humane Choice is the fact that the HSUS decided to go with a farm in Uruguay for the growing and manufacturing of it. That’s quite a long haul and use of resources to get to your local grocery store. In their FAQ, HSUS say that dealing with one partner committed to sustainable agriculture — and with a solid history of producing vegetarian dog food — allows them to maintain greater control and supervision of quality. While that’s most certainly true, it’s disappointing from an environmental angle that there wasn’t a U.S. farm that could have fit the bill.
What do you think of Humane Choice? Is it something you might try with your own pet?