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You know all about the separation of Church and State — and you’re probably aware of how conflict of interest guidelines work.
Unfortunately, conflicts of interest don’t only occur in politics.
From business, to academia and even sports, time and time again, we see the unfortunate and harmful effects of situations where people (who may not even have bad intentions) make bad choices due to a misalignment of interests that should have never been allowed to occur in the first place.
One conflict of interest situation that you might not have thought of? Your own veterinarian. We certainly don’t mean to be alarmist, or to accuse any of the world’s self-sacrificing and compassionate vets of deliberately harming the animals that they work so hard to care for.
However, as an issue of ethics, quality control and common sense, the time has come to separate vet service from pet food sales.
When money is a factor in professional recommendations. It's time...
Follow the Money
Think about it. Your vet is running a business and selling expensive dog food is profitable. The sales reps from the pet food companies are good at their jobs and, of course, present the data that is going to help them sell their product.
Vets, generally good people who are in the business because they like animals, still have have to keep an eye on the bottom line. They aren’t intentionally selling food they know will harm your dogs. But are they really investigating other options and, more importantly, sharing other options with you?
At some point, shouldn’t there be some transparency? Really, should a vet be allowed to recommend pet food because ‘big kibble’ has a ton of influence?
There’s potential for bias at every step of the way between the mega-producers and your dog’s bowl.
At Rawmate We Put Dogs First!
We aren’t vets, though we employ a couple, and we aren’t trying to start a revolution (well, actually, maybe we are).
We do believe that somebody needs to be putting the dogs first. They can’t speak for themselves, and they really shouldn’t be put in a position of having to pay the price — with their health and longevity — of vets who are being paid sales commissions and big businesses who see an opportunity to sell to vulnerable clients.
When you go into your veterinarians practice because your dog is sick (for whatever reason) and your vet says, “Hey, try this great new food by Company XX,” it’s pretty hard not to feel like you are being a bad doggy parent if you don’t buy it. I mean, what kind of person puts cost before your pup’s health?
Here’s the problem: some of those premium brands are really, really expensive. Now if the reason for their price tags was that they were full of natural, organic, top quality protein — that’s one thing, but read the label and you’ll see corn, grain, additives, preservatives, artificial colouring, and who knows what else in plenty of those fancy, expensive brands.
Rawmate Respects Veterinary Independence
That’s why we won’t sell through vets directly. In our view, vets should be providing top quality health care, information and advice.
A selection of pamphlets or a reasonable discussion about what feeding options are out there for your dog would be fine. But the minute they start making money when you choose to buy a brand of food they happen to carry — that’s when it gets murky.
Sure, there are vets who will suggest that you explore a raw food meal plan for your dog, even if they don’t carry one. But there are plenty of others who will walk you over to the shelf to look at the options they have in stock and never mention that there may be other options that are healthier.
The pet food industry needs transparency - Rawmate
It’s all about transparency. That’s why we separate church and state. That’s why we should separate vets and pet food sales.
Simple! I’m not the only one questioning just how ethical this practice is. Some vets are also raising the issue and others point out that vets are not animal nutritionists. In fact, some of the limited nutritional training provided to vets at school comes from representatives of pet food companies who, obviously, have a vested interest in bringing the vets onside as sales reps.
The good news in all this is that some people are beginning to have these conversations.
The bad news is they are not happening fast enough.
At Rawmate we are less interested in maximising profit and more interested in providing the very best for our dogs. We take this mission so seriously that we turn dogs away from our program if we don’t feel they will do well. We can only hope that vets and other companies will begin to do the same. Don’t our dogs deserve that?
Please, leave a comment below and let me know directly your experiences with conflict of interest in dog food recommendations from your Vet and why you’ve ultimately made the choice that you have.
If you’d like to take a look at Rawmate, you’ll understand just how seriously we take our ingredients and the health and well-being of our 4-legged heroes.
We believe that a dogs health and vitality is directly linked to the food they eat. It’s that simple.
Dogs deserve better!
It’s time to cut the shit.