by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Eats.

humane_choice

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?

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • http://www.ecovegandog.com Eco-Vegan Gal

    I love that they’re doing this. My companion dog has been vegan since she was 11 weeks old (I make a special kibble with Vegedog supplement) and at 5 months old she is thriving on the diet – healthy coat, great weight, full of energy.

    I think it’s interesting that many think that the vegan diet for dogs is cruel and that it’s being forced upon them. Do dogs ever get to choose what we feed them, since most food comes out of a bag or a can? Unless their in the wild, the answer is no. My companion loves her food, and also enjoys vegetables like carrots and kale. There are so many companies selling vegan dog food, which I list here on my blog: http://ecovegandog.blogspot.com/2009/09/vegan-dog-food-companies.html

    As for the distance the HSUS food has to travel, I do agree that is not eco-friendly. However, they do have a reason for getting it from there, and hopefully they’ll be able to make it in the US eventually.

  • Rad_Rosa89

    Wow I think it’s funny that people flipped out so bad over something that is really great not only for the world but for our pets. I mean that really shows how stupid some people are, I swear.

    I would totally get this for my dog cloud, put she’s still a puppy she’s only a year and four months old, so I don’t think I would be able to feel it to her. but if she was a little bit older I would totaly buy this for her since we both enjoy vegan foods like veggie burgers and tofu. Any idea how much it would cost? I only wish that they would give more of the profits to their programs, instead of just 6%.

  • http://a-soy-bean.blogspot.com/ ASB

    I don’t understand why HSUS would go 99.9%. There are other vegan dog foods on the market, couldn’t HSUS gone the .1 extra step?

    And ABSOLUTLEY people do not understand the garbage that is in “regular” dog food.

  • Edward

    My five dogs are completely vegan, and have been for the past year. Dogs, like humans, do not need animal protein or any other animal byproducts, to live a long, healthy life. The same people who propagate the myth that humans needs meat for good health, are the same people saying that dogs are carnivores who need meat for a healthy life-the meat industry and those who blindly accept their word as fact. This is B.S. Since our dogs became vegan, I’ve noticed several changes:
    -More energy
    -More playful
    -Better moods
    -Shinier, Softer coats
    -Better, healthier stool
    -Stronger, cleaner, whiter teeth
    Truth is, if fed a proper vegan diet, dogs (and humans) can be much healthier. Most non-vegan dog food contains mostly corn with a small amount of diseased meat. One example of what I feed my dogs for a meal might be: potatos, beans and rice, with pureed raw carrots and chard, flax seeds, drizzled with olive oil and/or hemp oil. Yeah it takes a little bit more time and money, but if you love your dog(s) it is worth it. I usually eat whatever they’re having, so it works out pretty well.

    And if this dog food is only 99.9% vegan, I surely will not be buying it. I don’t understand that move, it seems pretty foolish. It’s pretty easy to mak

    • Genevieve

      I am vegetarian but I can’t agree with you that humans do not need meat or animal products for health. The reason I say this is because humans require B12 vitamin for optimal health, which is only found in animal products. There has been some debate that mushrooms may contain some B12, some say that mushrooms do and others don’t agree. But even if there is B12 in mushrooms, there isn’t enough to sustain proper levels of B12 for a long period of time. BUT, on the other hand, when I was a meat eater, I was extremely low in B12 because I am unable to absorb it through my digestive system. I now have to take B12 injections to prevent anemia. Who knows what vitamins dogs would be missing without meat! If anyone can find a study I would love to read it.
      Right now my dog is on a meat kibble (a really good one, with good ingredients), but I may feed him a daily meal of a vegan food as he really enjoys vegetables, along with his meat kibble. What I would really love to see on the market is a dry food made with organic SPCA approved meat/eggs.

  • orcalove

    I think it’s a great idea! My dog is on a veggie diet but does get the occasional rawhide bone for his teeth to keep tartar down. But he’s doing great on it! I’m disgusted with all the animals that die just to feed our animals! Thats not right. Way to go HSUS!

  • Mar

    Could not LOVE the Humane Society more! They’re always right there “on it.” So progressive, focused and intelligent. How lucky we are to have this organization in existence fighting for our animals on every scale and scope.

  • http://www.easyvegan.info kelly g.

    Well jeez, if some anonymous commenter on the web says that my dog-kids need meat protein to survive, PERIOD!, it must be true. She said period!

    In all seriousness, my five dog-kids have been on a vegetarian diet for 8 years now, and they’re all in good health. (A veterinarian actually recommended that we try vegetarian food w/our first-adopted, due to some skin allergies.) I’ve slowly been transitioning them to vegan kibble over the past six months, and whereas V-Dog (oddly) made them throw up intermittently, it looks like Natural Balance is a winner. I’m glad that HSUS is increasing the options for dog guardians as far as vegetarian/vegan foods go, but I’d rather support a for-profit business with my money, thus encouraging more businesses to get into the vegan dog food trade in the future.

  • Jae

    Methinks EcoRazzi would pimp toxic waste for the Commercial Animal Protest Industry…even to dogs.

    My dog absolutely could not survive on that ideologically loaded and nutrition poor garbage and I shouldn’t have to check with an expensive vet to know.

    EcoRazzi needs to just ditch the the “eco” prefix. You guys are just commercial white noise.

  • http://vegan--japan.blogspot.com/ herwin

    vegan do food is great but me dont understand , there are already a great variety vegan dogfoods on the market, why doesnt the hsus not simply promote these dogfoods ?

  • Pingback: Humane Society Launches Vegan Dog Food, People Flip Out « ecorazzi … | food pyramid

  • Carlotta Cooper

    I write about dogs and dog food for a living. I’d say it’s just short of criminal to feed this food to a dog. There are countless people in this country who worry about feeding their dogs properly. It’s a shame to try to take advantage of them by touting the “organic” labeling the way HSUS is doing. Organic doesn’t always mean something is healthier. If you’re in any doubt, just read the ingredients for this food. It’s like birdseed. For people who really want to find good dog food for their dogs they should check out The Whole Dog Journal’s dog food reviews. Or talk to some experienced breeders and owners. But, for heaven’s sake, don’t feed your dog based on vegan philosophy!

    I come across people who tell me their dogs are healthy and doing great on vegetarian or vegan foods and then they start telling me their dog has this allergy or that health problem. That’s not normal or healthy. Feed your dogs a better food from the start, that includes meat proteins, and you shouldn’t have those problems.

    • frank

      Fool. You don’t know anything about nutrition.

      • Mimi Dygert

        Reads just like a good old bag of wild bird food from a dollar store.
        Anybody who feels this is good for Carnivores does not know anything about dogs or dog health.

    • Dgredy

      Carlotta is a fool! since you work around dog food im sure you know that 99% of the meat and other produts in dog food are the waste form factory farms… food that is too nasty to feed to humans.. just like hot dogs that are made from the pig’s butt holes, ears and lips.

      • Bill

        Actually, there are plenty of cruelty free (not in a feed lot) sources for dog, Acana, Orijen, and other raw sources.

    • kathryn

      Your conclusion that if you feed your dog meat they won’t have allergies is just plain false. If you knew what you write about for a living, you would know this.
      My dog eats meat and she has allergies. (And so do other Meat-eating dogs I’ve met over the years). Just because a dog has allergies and is vegan does Not mean that they wouldn’t have the same allergies if they consumed flesh.

  • http://www.ecorazzi.com Michael d'Estries

    “I’d say it’s just short of criminal to feed this food to a dog.”

    Carlotta, I’m wondering why you say this when Humane Choice meets the nutritional requirements established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. According to the FAQ, everything in this food points to a healthy diet for dogs.

    • Marca

      Does that mean, though, that the animal can ABSORB or process the nutrition? i.e. just because it has X amount of nutrition factor B it doesn’t mean the animal can process the form it is in. Again, where’s the science behind this? If this is the case why don’t wild canines eat vegetation/grains alone? Doesn’t add up. Again, where’s the science, not heresay? I’d be happy to read it.

    • slo3933

      Ummm…hate to break it to you – Purina, IAMS, etc also meet AAFCO standards…nuff said (they are garbage too). The ingredients in this food are pretty horrible!!

      I personally don’t feel that a vegan diet is appropriate for an opportunistic carnivore such a dog, check out canine anatomy. My dogs are on the other end of the spectrum. After both having health problems (seizures and IBS) and extensive research, both were switched to grain-free ancestral diets and ARE thriving. Both showed a marked increase in muscle tone, coat quality and energy level after the switch in addition to elimination of their health issues. I too feel that industrial farming is horrible (as a microbiologist and as a consumer) and feel if that is the concern of some, feed raw from a local organic farmer.

      To each their own, but please research before any diet and at least support a vegan food producer that gets their ingredients in the US (not Uruguay – do we all remember the China dog food debacle).

  • Marca

    “Well jeez, if some anonymous commenter on the web says that my dog-kids need meat protein to survive, PERIOD!, it must be true. She said period!”

    As well as if some commenter, regardless of anonymity or proclaiming themselves experts says that my “dog-kids”(aaacck! vomit). . . [can survive on veg/grains alone] it must be true . . . She said period.” HELLO.

    I would need further convincing that a dog is OK on a vegan diet; and even if it is, does that mean THRIVING? Not necessarily. Wolves and coyotes do not eat vegetation alone to survive. There’s a big hint there. I for one, do not want my dog eating too many grains though my dog does certainly likes carrots and other vegetables, that doesn’t mean that’s what is solely good for them. My dog likes ice-cream and coffee also. So what.

    This does not leave out the huge problem of factory-farming to provide food for pets. Is free-range and grass-fed, in the true sense, too much to hope for? Feeding pets is indeed a huge problem and whether we want to believe it not, pets are major carbon footprints. We, as pet owners, need to own up to that fact, and come up with solutions.

    • http://www.ecorazzi.com Michael d'Estries

      Marca,

      And it’s not just on land that there are major issues. According to one researcher, an estimated 2.48 million tonnes of forage fish — an increasingly limited biological resource – is used by the global cat food industry each year.

      • Marca

        Interesting. Again, I feel as pet owners we need to own up to the carbon contribution we are making and move towards solutions instead of excuses. Where to go from here?

  • Mary

    Human Choice may have AAFCO approval, but the proof is years down the road. There are no LONG TERM tests on this food. Feeding puppies this totally deficient food is criminal! Dogs are CARNIVORES, they are NOT omnivores. They have teeth that say they are Carnivores. They ARE opportunistic and will generally eat anything they can get their teeth on. That does not mean a vegan diet will support long-term health! They need the enzymes and amino acids provided by a meat-based diet. Yes, some foods are really bad, but there are plenty of great dog foods available. Mine get a mix of a premium kibbl and raw meat and bones. They are healthy, no allergies or any other issues. They are energetic. Their coats are so glossy that I constantly get comments from strangers. Their teeth are white and healthy. If a human decides to follow a vegan lifestyle, they have a right to do that. But to force it on a dog or cat is totally irresponsible. This diet will not support healthy muscles and bones; it is made of the very ‘fillers’ that are found in cheap foods that I will not feed. I think we will see the proof of that over the next years. For me, I will put my money into wholesome nutrition and not into the vet’s pockets. My dogs never see a vet except for their annual checkups and at the very end of their lives. That’s proof enough for me.

    • Bencat1000

      Mary,
      You are so uninformed. Dogs do quite well on vegetarian diets. They are EASY vegetarians. People in Europe have been feeding their animal friends vegetarian diets for so long, they would laugh if they read your comment. Dogs AND cats can survive on vegetarian diets and actually live longer lives. If you could actually see what goes into the average pet food, you would not call it food and you surely would never bring it into your home to feed to your animal friends….it is disgusting garbage filth! There are already several brands of vegan dog foods being sold at stores like Petco and on the internet. It is not new. People in this country (the smart ones) have been feeding their animal friends real food for years now. The only people who freak out about feeding an animal a vegetarian diet are those who have a serious addiction to bloody muscles in their own diet. Those who prefer to avoid eating bloody muscles have taken the time to find real food for themselves and their animal friends. ANIMALS DO NOT NEED TO EAT OTHER ANIMALS!!!!

      • DogsofCourse

        Sorry Bencat but cats absolutely CAN NOT survive on a purely vegetarian diet. They are obligate carnivores, which means they can not survive without animal protein. Research before you give out advice that will kill someone’s animal.

        If dogs or humans were meant to be vegetarians, we would both have teeth like cows and 2 stomachs! We don’t, we are meant to eat EVERYTHING and derive different essential nutrition from EVERYTHING. Feeding a dog a vegan diet for purely moral reasons is inhumane in my opinion. The hypocrisy of the animal right movement cracks me up…you don’t believe that people should have animals in their life and they are better off “free and liberated”, but when you do have them, you will impose your moral ideologies on them….freaking amazing!

    • Chastity

      DogsofCourse, haven’t you heard of the vegetarian lioness named Little Tyke?

  • http://www.ecorazzi.com Michael d'Estries

    Mary,

    Thanks for your comments. Some responses:

    “Feeding puppies this totally deficient food is criminal!”

    This food is not meant for puppies but adult dogs. The HSUS labeling clearly states that.

    “This diet will not support healthy muscles and bones.”

    Please explain how you know this. Why would the AAFCO approve something that would not support a dog’s overall health and well-being?

    And we’re not discussing cats here. Humane Choice is only for dogs.

    • Mary

      See Eco-Vegan Gal’s comment; she is feeding a 5 month old puppy a vegan diet.

      AAFCO approval is fairly easy to get, if the food keeps the dog alive, it’s OK to feed it. That does not mean it is optimal nutrition for a dog. AAFCO is the MINIMAL requirements, and AAFCO approval can be based either on an analysis of the food OR feeding trials. I don’t see anything about having AAFCO ‘approval’ on the website, just that it meets requirements. Chemicals used in the food were not animal tested, yet they are feeding it to animals. hmmmm…….

      AAFCO, for examples, sets minimum requirements for fat. Fat can be tallow, vegetable oils, or salmon oil. Salmon oil is FAR superior to tallow. Humane Choice uses vegetable oils.

      First four ingredients are canola seed, brown rice, soybean, and buckwheat. For carnivores? You’ve got to be kidding me! There are also some serious questions being raised about the safety of soybean in humans. Since dogs are used for testing because they are so similar to humans, I have to wonder what the long-term effects of feeding soy to a dog will be.

      Is it AAFCO approved? I only see on the site that it ‘meets’ AAFCO requirements. And testing was done using dogs in their homes; that is NOT controlled testing. The formula is approved by URUGUAY AGRICULTURAL SERVICES.

      And why are they going to Uruguay for this food? Why not make it in the U.S.? That certainly raises some suspicions in my mind.

      The proof will be years down the road, as an animal approaches 5, 6, 7 years of age, and health issues arise. This dog will keep a dog alive as many supermarket brands will keep a dog alive.

      I have done serious research into nutrition for dogs, looking for optimal diets for my own dogs. I am on a list led by a nutritionist for dogs. My research is the reason they get the premium kibble they get and the raw meat/bones they get. This diet is inferior and nothing will change my mind. We humans have to make decisions and do what is right for our dogs. Yes, we all have the CHOICE, but there are better choices in my opinion.

      • Alison

        Mary,

        What exactly makes you the expert on dog nutrition? And why are you so angry about this topic? Your facts about plant based food for dogs are simply untrue. Dogs, like people are clearly Omnivores. Given the current state of the planet and the affect the meat and dairy industry have on it, I suggest you just open your mind a tiny bit to see how feeding dogs and people meat is just simply not sustainable. If people have adapted and can live healthy, longer lives thriving as vegans, then dogs can too. I know many dogs who’ve lived their entire adult lives on Vegan diets and long ones at that. This food isn’t being marketed to line the pockets of vets, it’s to educate the world that the meat and dairy industry is reeking havoc on the health of our people, the planet and our beloved four legged friends. I suggest watching the documentary “Food Inc.” if you haven’t already. This will shed some light on what you are really feeding your dogs and yourself, and will expose the corruption of the industry the and destruction they are causing. Get educated about the big picture, then get back to me. Otherwise, I don’t know why you are even on this site to begin with.

  • Allen Sneed

    I find it odd that people (who obviously don’t know much about canine nutrition nor what kind of crap is in most commercial dog foods) can say it is criminal to feed a dog scientifically formulated vegan dog food yet apparently don’t see a problem with taking baby calves from their mothers so that the milk (and whey) can be sold to people (and for dog food) and feeding them a diet deficient in iron so they have paler flesh called veal. Apparently it isn’t criminal to throw millions of live male baby chicks into grinders and feed them to dogs, or feed them back to the egg laying hens who are later killed and then fed to dogs. Apparently it isn’t criminal to cram millions of sows into tiny crates so small they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives. Nope, these aren’t crimes. And neither is operating a puppy mill so that selfish pricks who only love animals if they are “right next to the mashed potatoes” can have the privilege of having a puppy under the x-mas tree.

    • hg

      Just another way to separate the gullible public from their money. Fly it in from URUGUAY? Give me a break! How eco-friendly of them.
      Go ahead and feed it to your fur-kids. It is your choice and your vet bills. Good luck, because your dogs will need it.

  • Don’t be scammed!

    I’d be worried that they will someday put poison in the food to achieve their goal of no animal use. I wouldn’t trust those liars to feed a pet rock and certainly wouldn’t buy their food.

    And as for recommendations on dietary requirements, the line keeps moving for what people should eat and dogs have not had as much research. I’ll stick with God’s original eating plan that includes meat, thank you very much.

    Also, if you spend the money for Blue Buffalo or one of the high quality human grade ingredient dog foods, you don’t have garbage. Cheap food = crap ingredients – but, I am sure you already knew that.

    • Alison

      I doubt god planned on people eating meat from the meat and dairy industries of today… where they are subsidized by the government so we can eat $.99 hamburgers. Grow a brain before you speak such rubbish.

      • Don’t be scammed!

        And your plan? $100 eggs and burgers? Why is it that you need to be insulting? Also, why do you and you ilk continually attack anyone that does eat meat or use dairy products. I can see working on humane treatment for animals – I am for that but, you want to eliminate their use altogether…kind of arrogant, isn’t it? But, I forgot, you have grown a brain;-) Unfortunately it is lacking protein and your thought process is skewed. Have a burger and call me in the morning.

        So, go ahead, feed your dogs this crap but don’t try to make others use this substandard concoction from the lobbyists in D.C. I can’t wait until they lose their 501(3)(c) status and have to pay $$$$ in penalties for being the phoney liars they are.

        Saving dogs in Haiti – hah – what a scam. They rake in $millions from unsuspecting pet owners thinking they help animals. They get the money that should go to REAL shelters and I’m sick of their actions and lies. Follow the money. It is a scam when less than 4% of their revenue goes to helping animals. They should rename themselves:
        Heartlessly Stealing from and Unsuspecting Society.

        And that’s all I have to say about that!

      • http://vegansanctuary.blogspot.com/ Philip Steir

        This is the best thing HSUS has ever done for non human animals…. and the vegan humans who feed them!!!

  • jan

    Alien.. or is it Allen.. we are talking about dog food.. period..”Humane” Choice is anything but..I have no problem with any of you feeding your dogs and cats bird seed if you want to.. go for it…I do think some birds could live on this food. Selling dog food that CANNOT be fed to “puppies” ( how old is dog when it is no longer a puppy?) is a crime. Puppies CAN and will survive on foods that have been tested on real dogs in real scientific feeding trial .. not some “guardian” feeding it to a dog in their home. ( bet you anything those dogs went out and found some delicious “garbage’ to supplement the crap their owners were feeding them)
    Not to mention how eco UN friendly this food is.. just by the fact that it travels on a PLANE all the way from URUGUAY..something is VERY wrong with this..
    Those of you who think you digestive system and your dogs are similar should run out and eat a big lump of cat poop or even you friends feces.. dogs do it all of the time…

  • Lois

    As has been noted above there is a clear distinction between AAFCO Feeding trials and meeting a chemical analysis. Either way we are talking about minimal requirements not optimal ones. The testing done on this food was sending it home with the vegan owners of these dogs, lay observers whose observations of shiney coats and great energy levels are perhaps self- fulfilling propheses?

    If I wanted feeding advice I would go to dog professionals, hunting dog trainers, the breeders and partners of police dogs, seeing eye dog schools, ranchers with hard working herding dogs or breeders of -top show dogs folks have the training and knowledge to evaluate dog foods as they need to have dogs in top athletic condition. I’d wager I’d find more advocates of quality meat based kibble. raw meaty bones and meat supplements than of a vegan food.

  • Alison

    Regardless of the argument over nutrition, what’s more astounding are the number of so called “eco-worriors” on this site still defending the meat and dairy industries. Really?

  • Pemmom

    I wouldn’t feed my dogs vegan food if it were the last food on earth. Dogs are NOT omnivores, while not obligate carnivores, they are indeed carnivores. Soy? No thanks. Uruguay? Nice – beat it’s cheaper labor, huh? Just another ploy by HSUS to separate gullible pet owners from their money while working to end pet ownership and sustainable animal use.

    • kathryn

      #1 – why do you have to think you own another animal? What objection do you have to being a guardian and not an ‘owner’? They are not couches. Why does recognizing them as living, sentient beings and not living room furniture bother you?
      #2 – Factory farms are ‘sustainable’ animal use??? What dictionary definition of sustainable are you referring to?

  • Mary

    Alison – Angry? No, not angry at all, but very disturbed that HSUS would market such a low-quality feed and all of you think it is great to feed your dogs that garbage. Dogs are absolutely NOT omnivores. They are opportunistic CARNIVORES. You need to get some scientific education. Just because they will eat anything they can scarf up does not make them an omnivore. For one thing, if you study the structure of their teeth, they are made for tearing meat, not for grinding grains and plant materials. Wolves eat meat. Coyotes eat meat. Because they need to survive and be fit enough to catch their dinners. I would not call myself an ‘expert’, but I have read books, read hundreds of articles, belong to a canine nutrition list led by a Phd, and belong to many lists where dog health is the topic. Food is discussed a lot! So really, Alison, I think YOU need to get educated. Perhaps if your dog lays around the house, this food will be enough, but performance and working dogs will not thrive on this food. Ask the Search and Rescue people, ask the Agility people, or those that have dogs that are more than couch potatoes. Obviously, differing opinions on this site must be attacked. You have presented no facts that prove this food is worth feeding. I have 44 years of experience in feeding dogs and researching nutrition. You can go back to drinking your HSUS vegan Kool Aid now.

    • slo3933

      Thank you so much for a logical response that doesn’t attack others!! As a dog mom (and scientist) with two high energy, canine athletes, I have a hard time with the concept of a canine vegan diet (especially since their anatomy reinforces the fact that they are carnivores). Of course, others take issue to what I choose to feed, a high quality ancestral grain-free supplemented with raw (support a local, non-industrial farmer) but upon extensive research, I feel it’s the best option for my dogs to thrive.

      Why is it that those of you who are so concerned about environment and organic etc would feed something FLOWN in from another continent is beyond me. If you choose to feed a vegan diet, at least choose something with ingredients rooted in the US, not Uruguay!!

  • GSPowner

    I don’t like this food for 3 reasons. 1. It’s a vegan food. I’m certainly not a vegan. I feel that dogs need and utilize meat protein better than plant protein. It is quite overpriced for the qualiity. Iguess it’s from the shipping to get it here from Uraguay. 2. It’s made in Uraguay. Which means that it most likely will be quite old once it gets here. Plus after the Chinese melamine issue, I’m very careful as to where my food and my pet’s food comes from. I don’t know if Uraguay’s organic standards is the same as US standards. The US standards are very rigid. I do eat organic although I’m not vegan. I’m more of a vegetarian. 3. It has the HSUS name on it. The HSUS is the largest animal rights organization in the US. It uses it’s millions not help animals but to make it so that we cannot keep, wear, use, or do anything with animals. Contrary to popular belief the HSUS does not have any animal shelters. It does have a couple of token horse santuaries that they acquired when they absorbed other organizations. I believe that they also have a token wildlife santuary. The HSUS is PeTA in a business suit.

    • http://vegan--japan.blogspot.com/ herwin

      hello
      number 1 are actually two reasons. both reasons i can understand though.
      reason number 2 i dont get. why will it be prob old when it arrives in the us ? its not like it will be transported on donkeys from Urugay to US, right ? and hey, “China” and “Urugay” are very diferent countries, comparing them without facts but only fears isnt reasonable.
      reason 3 i dont get it also. you say you eat organic so i guess you dont like factory farming too much, just like the HSUS. and you are goddam right, we shouldnt wear animals or ABuse animals.

    • kathryn

      >It uses it’s millions not help animals but to make it so that we cannot keep, wear, use, or do anything with animals
      This is a bit off. First – it is to make it such that we cannot exploit and abuse animals. And second – how does that Not help animals?
      >Contrary to popular belief the HSUS does not have any animal shelters.
      Even when I knew absolutely nothing about HSUS other than the name, I never once thought that they ran shelters (nor did anyone I know). And yet over and over lately I keep hearing about how they’re misleading as there is this ‘popular belief’ that they have shelters…
      It seems to me that no such ‘popular belief’ ever existed – the only belief that exists is the one that states that referring to a fictitious ‘popular belief’ creates a good argument to use against HSUS.

  • animal.lover

    I think I consider letting my dogs try this but for the Uruguay factor. With our economy is hurting, I suspect our ag industry is too and even more so with the move toward a less animal based diet so I think it is more important now to support and help grow domestic businesses. If trying to promote and encourage vegan alternatives, it makes sense to develop the industry here. If no one fits the bill here, then HSUS could consider helping subsidize a farm here that would. If the goal is to push people out of meat and dairy, then it would make sense to give them a new business. And if it were successful, perhaps they would branch out and build other vegan products.

    This is probably a dumb question but would all the packaging be done there too? If so, that is more business that could be done here.

    With that said, any other brands that people recommend? I would like to research this further. Thank you.

    • kathryn

      I haven’t tried them, but three offhand that I know of are:
      v-dog
      Wysong makes a vegan canned/dried dog food.
      Vegedog
      There are undoubtedly several others out there (and there are some vegetarian ones too).

  • http://none MommyPuppy

    I’ve raised purebreds and cared for a few mutts in the last 44 years, and to date they have caught birds in mid-flight, unearthed voles, chased down rabbits, squirrels, and have partially eaten non-poisonous snakes. In all that time, I can attest to the fact they have never attacked and killed a tomato on the vine, or dug up and chomped on a carrot to satisfy their intuitive nature.

  • http://www.startananimalsanctuary.com Animal Sanctuary gal

    How wonderful that the Humane Society has released this vegan food. It should be noted by those who are against this that our pets do not live in the wild.

    Yes, they may be descendents of wolves, but they are domestic dogs and do not have the same requirements. A vegan diet rich in nutrients can meet the needs of domestic dogs.

    People who have a problem with this should reevaluate why they are willing to let other animals suffer incredibly to feed their pets, when there is a healthy alternative. After all it has been proven time and time again that given some human love and compassion farm animals can exhibit the same affection and loyalty as dogs to humans.

    • Dr. Rosset

      “People who have a problem with this should reevaluate why they are willing to let other animals suffer incredibly to feed their pets, when there is a healthy alternative. After all it has been proven time and time again that given some human love and compassion farm animals can exhibit the same affection and loyalty as dogs to humans.”
      This is not so, farm animals do whatever they do to get food. Having worked with all kinds of farm animals very closely for the last 40 years both as a vet and as a researcher on animal behavior I can tell you that the perception that human beings have generated that farm animals can love is not so. Without sow pens the sow will kill most of her piglets and eat them if you don’t protect them early on. Cows will step on their young and some will butt them to death, horses can freak out at birth and trample the new born. These animals are meant for food as most animals are in the wild. Nature has designed the world so that each species must feed on another species, as this keeps the cycles going and does not allow one species to over graze and denude the land. When you fail to follow conservation guidelines by keeping humans from controlling animal populations then you ruin the plan of mother nature. You have to understand that all species are designed to over breed to ensure that the species survives. We do not have enough predators to keep deer, bears, coyotes, rabbits and other wild animals under the level at which nature can sustain them. Just because you don’t like the idea of being a predator and you try to prevent others from eating meat means you are going against biology and mother nature’s design for keeping this planet in balance. The lion knows his job and doesn’t change just because of politics. So, the animal rights view that we cannot sustain the human species on meat is very wrong. We do not have enough land that can grow enough protein based plants to feed people. Most lands can grow grass again and again, but to grow protein based plants you have to dump more and more chemicals on the land to replace what the beans remove. Cows, goats, sheep, horses, were designed to eat grass and turn that into protein which other species eat for food. A human being cannot get enough protein from plants nor can you get several nutrients that still must be taken from animals to keep you alive otherwise you will die. So a strict vegan diet actually harms the ecosystem because it requires intense farming for soy beans and other beans which take the most nutrients from the soil and returns the least amount of protein. Couple that with slash and burn in Brazil to create more soy bean fields along with the fossil fuels needed to move these beans around the world and you have created a bigger carbon footprint.
      As for animals loving humans only dogs come close to that through pack instinct not philosophically based love as humans know it. This dog behavior is still based upon its pack instinct to be a dog. Perceptions about a pets behavior is not based upon what the pet does, but is based upon what humans do. For example, when a dog barks it is not talking to you it is challenging your presence. In fact the bark is to tell you that you are in its space and too close. Dogs communicate by licking, lowering the head, rolling over, and sniffing butts, not things that humans perceive as communication. Low wining or howling does not mean I love you, but for dogs it means that I give up to you. You are bigger than me so don’t eat me. As for farm animals if you feed them at the same time each day they will holler not because its you but because they have been habituated to know that food is coming. If you scare them by accident they will run over you or charge you as they do not have the ability to recognize you as the same person who feeds you each day. Also farm animals are not cruelly treated by farmers whether they have a large farm or a small one. When you see the videos presented as cruelty you make that judgement based upon what you would not want to happen to you. However you still get shots from the doctor and surgery etc. For farm animals they occasionally have to undergo procedures like dehorning which is done to protect the other animals and the farmer. Dehorning is the same as you cutting your nails it is done to hard material that has no nerve centers. The animal struggles and hollers not because of pain, but because they don’t like being restrained. That is nature not cruelty. What is cruel are uneducated people making false charges and painting all farmers as cruel or all breeders as cruel when in fact these are the best cared for animals in the world. Yes, there are some people in this world who do cruel things because cruel things were done to them or they are ignorant. But painting all livestock farming and ranching as cruel is just wrong. It is against mother nature and it goes against your own biology. Biology is not political and to impose political rules means you go against mother nature’s plan for how the earth should work so that all species will survive. We protect and feed these animals and keep them comfortable. I have seen free ranging chickens eaten alive by other animals, all farmers know that allowing ones chickens to run free means they will die early and their eggs will most likely be contaminated with ecoli. America has the safest food supply in the world. England and Denmark where animal rights first placed their foot, have extremely high food costs and increasing diseases among all farm animals. When they imposed a ban on antibiotics at the weaning stage in pork production, they encountered increased post-weaning health problems leading to increased medication and other costs. In general, the Danes encountered 20 percent of the benefits and 80 percent of the costs when they extended the ban on antibiotics in pork farming. IF this forced on American farmers total use of antibiotics could rise, much as has happened in Denmark in the period immediately after the ban at the weaning stage. Recent experience in the United Kingdom indicates that the costs and management of eliminating use of subtherapeutic antibiotics are significant. Under agreements with retailers, U.K. producers eliminated AGPs in poultry production in 2000. Now, faced with significant problems of disease and diarrhea in their flocks, they are reintroducing antibiotics to prevent disease. These amounts are higher than if they had managed their flocks as in the past. The purpose of subtherapeutic use of antibiotics is to ensure lowered levels rather than waiting until diseases require very high levels of use to keep the animals from dying. HSUS and PeTA have no idea about how to raise and care for animals nor farm. They only know how to ask for money by putting out fake videos (the German High Court found Peta guilty of making false charges and demanded all videos to be submitted to the court for examination since they found that the videos they submitted were faked) and saying everyone is a greedy little farmer or dog breeder. If you follow their logic then all human beings are evil and need to be wiped off the face of this earth. Oh thats right, Earth First one of their companion organizations states zero population to save the earth is what they preach and its members have themselves neutered. So who are they saving this planet for one has to ask?

      • Mary

        Dr. Rosset, you ROCK! It is sad that even provided scientific irrefutible data, there are still those that will continue to think that vegan diets are better for dogs. It is like a ‘cult’, brainwashed people. Sad.

        To the person that said dogs don’t live in the wild, well actually there ARE still wild dogs around the world. And they eat MEAT! What you say is akin to feeding a horse meat instead of hay and grain because they are domestic now. That just doesns’t make sense. Humans are OMNIVORES. We are meant to eat meat, grains, plants, etc. We are NOT Herbivores.
        Think about it.

  • Dr. Rosset

    Here is a website that is based upon science unlike this dog food which is based upon a political point of view.

    http://jas.fass.org/cgi/reprint/81/9/2199

    Heavy reading, but what it explains are the canine metabolic pathways for digesting vegetable protein and animal protein and the resulting effects upon the body. In effect, vegetable protein leads to wastage of skeletal muscle mass whereas animal protein increases skeletal muscle mass. Wastage of skeletal muscle mass leads to increased injury incidence. Has anyone noticed a high incidence of cruciate ligament failure? Nestle, even though their favorite protein is corn gluten, funded a second study using Field Trial dogs fed different diets. At the lowest meat protein level the study was stopped due to the very high injury rates, at the highest meat protein level there were no injuries. Guess what will happen to a dog on a veggie diet. Perhaps they will provide free pet health insurance as an inducement to buy the food.

    You might want to go to http://reliableanswers.com/med/soy.asp
    for the easy to read warnings on soy or you can wade through the recent scientific studies on the effects of soy protein on the diet.
    http://www.soyonlineservice.co.nz/07abstract.htm

    Some studies on the effects of soy products on humans have been in progress 40 years. They are now examining the brain tissue of the deceased. There are many recent studies done on animals. They noticed that birds fed soy developed their adult plumage at 2 months instead of the normal 18-months. At first this was a real plus because the young chicks could be marketed better with their full adult color. Then they noticed that the early maturing, soy-fed birds aged prematurely and died young. This caused much consternation among bird handlers, for they also noticed a great increase in growth disorders, thyroid problems, infertility, and tumor growth.
    A 1994 study done in New Zealand revealed that, depending on age, potency of the product, and feeding methods, infants on soy formula were consuming the equivalent of up to 10 contraceptive pills a day. By exposing your baby or dog to such large amounts of hormonal-like substance, you are risking permanent endocrine system damage (pituitary gland, pineal gland, hypothalamus, thyroid, thymus gland, pancreas, ovary, testis, adrenal glands).
    Phytoestrogens (substance in soy) are now strongly implicated, through research, in thyroid disorders, behavioral and developmental disorders and cancer. Thyroid problems are now in epidemic proportions. Theodore Kay of the Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine noted in 1988 that “thyroid enlargement in rats and humans, especially children and women, fed with soybeans has been known for half a century.” Recent research leaves little doubt that dietary isoflavones in soy have a profound effect on thyroid function in humans and in dogs.
    Lying to public about this food will backfire sooner or later. If you feed this dog food which studies already show in previous feeding trials with low meat protein your animal will suffer. So I can only conclude that these people are lying about their experience with this food or vegan food because it is not

    • jetarc

      Dr. Rosset, thank you for taking the time to offer science-based information to this “discussion”. It is amazing to me how political philosophy can overtake reason and thousands of years experience in regards to animal nutrition. HSUS/vegan is the feel good religion that makes people think they are doing good work when the opposite is true. Too bad they are so mis-informed and choose to remain so. The animals are the ones who will pay the price. (can you imagine feeding 5 month old puppy a vegan diet?!!! Inhumane at the very least!) I would like to share your info with others. Please keep up your good work.

  • WillyBoy

    Flipping out? Who’s flipping out? You want to slowly poison your dog? Go ahead, it’s YOUR choice (though I very much doubt it’s his/ hers) All we are doing is pointing out to you that this is a very unwise choice that YOU are making for four dog. Can dogs be maintained on a vegan diet? Sure, for a while. Maybe even a long while. Is it the optimum diet for a dog? Hell no! It really comes down to a simple question of biology: are dogs omnivorous or carnivorous? Well the answer is yes and yes. Dogs are omnivorous in the sense that they can and do eat some vegetable material both in the home and in the wild (yes, there are both feral and wild dogs). Dogs are however by and large carnivorous and the bulk of their diet in the wild is made up of meat hence their inclusion in the mammalian order Carnivora. Because they can tolerate veggies for extended periods of time does not however mean that they should be fed this way all the time. Even the most well fed vegan dog will need nutritional supplements derived from animal sources. This is why even this HSUS junk food is only 99.9% vegan. I wholeheartedly encourage you to click on the PETA hyperlink in the above article and carefully read the article. Note a few things as you go along. For instance, notice that they don’t present any control group data. Nor do they provide comparative data as to the frequency of the various afflictions listed with vegan foods in the dog population at large (non vegan dogs). The data provided mention heart problems but then the discussion quickly gloss over the fact (stated in in the data) that the rate of heart trouble was HIGHER in the vegan dogs than in the population of non vegan dogs. Some of the maladies listed were stated to be “slightly” higher in vegan dogs but when you refer to the data you see that “slightly” higher translates into almost 300% higher!!! This study is worthless. The data sample is far too small, there is no listed methodology, control group, or comparison to the general population, and most of the data seems to be unsubstantiated. In addition, the long lifespans touted in the article are in actuality average to less than average for dogs in the general population (most medium sized dogs live about 14 years) It reeks of deception to anyone who has ever participated in this sort of study. My guess is that the PETA people started with a result in mind and engineered the data to support their desired conclusions. One last thing. This study only mentions commercial dog foods ( and I agree that this is the WORST thing to feed your animals)as alternatives to vegan feeds (it’s like comparing a vegan diet to McDonalds)and completely ignores the fact that there is another way to feed your dog (or cat or ferret…). You can feed them the way that NATURE intended! Feed whole prey bones, guts and all. This is what I do and my animals are, in my vets own words “PERFECT”. Please, please, please, before you doom you dog to an unhealthy future (and I’ve personally seen the results of well meaning vegans and it’s the animal who suffers) based on the promises of people with an agenda research dog biology and anatomy. You may be surprised to find that while they can eat limited amounts of veggies they are still carnivores in good standing and REQUIRE meat to live a long and happy life. Check out the website rawmeatybones.com

    WB

  • Eden Springs

    There are other vegan/vegetarian commercial pet food options for those who believe their pets should adopt the same lifestyle choices of their owners without being obliged to support the HSUS in doing so.

    The retail price on this egregiously-labeled ‘Humane Choice’ is $19 for a 6.6 lb bag, making it just as expensive as…well…meat! Then, of course, there’s the mind-boggling carbon footprint of having it produced and imported from Uruguay. And this from the same group that’s happily endorsing the claim that dogs have larger carbon paw prints than SUV’s?

    While we can debate all day whether or not dogs do well on a veggie diet, whether they’re omnivores or carnivores, etc. at the end of the day, there’s only one real expert to consult: Mother Nature. If you look at the lives of wild dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes, hyenas, dingos and wild cats both large and small, you won’t see them harvesting nuts and berries as their primary food source.

    But the real question here is why support the HSUS? They claim publicly to be about ‘saving’ animals, but are they really?

    One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.” –Wayne Pacelle quoted in Animal People, May, 1993

    ‘When asked if he envisioned a future without pets, “If I had my personal view, perhaps that might take hold. In fact, I don’t want to see another dog or cat born’.” –Wayne Pacelle quoted in Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt, by Ted Kerasote, p. 266, 1993

    “I don’t have a hands-on fondness for animals…To this day I don’t feel bonded to any non-human animal. I like them and I pet them and I’m kind to them, but there’s no special bond between me and other animals.”— Wayne Pacelle, HSUS President, quoted in ‘Bloodties’ by Ted Kerasote, 1993, p. 251

    “My goal is the total abolition of all animal agriculture” –Former ALF terrorist & now HSUS coordinator, John Goodwin

    I can’t see any reason to support an organization which has, as a core belief, that any animals should be exterminated. And it leads me to wonder why anyone else would, either.

  • http://www.humanesociety.org Hillary

    I work at the HSUS, so I can’t claim to be a disinterested observer, but I did want to add this study into the mix of academic citations being discussed: http://bit.ly/5xS1Sf. It’s from the British Journal of Nutrition and is entitled “An experimental meat-free diet maintained haematological characteristics in sprint-racing sled dogs”.

    Regarding the quotes from Wayne Pacelle, check out http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2007/07/desperate-disto.html for Wayne’s own response. He has also said (Charlotte Observer, 4/25/09), “The end goal for me, as CEO of the organization, is to minimize the pain and stress animals endure in a variety of industry uses of them. My own personal dietary habits have nothing to do with our policy and our work.”

    The claim that the HSUS believes animals should be exterminated is ridiculous. Our work speaks for itself, and although I imagine many readers of this blog are already familiar with the HSUS and numerous other animal protection orgs, visit humanesociety.org to see our programs and campaigns. Our motto is “Celebrating animals, confronting cruelty”. Pretty simple.

    Michael, thanks for providing this forum. I think this type of debate is important.

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