When I lecture to veterinarians (and especially veterinary students) about raw food for pets I often get the question, “Where’s the research?” The push for “Evidence-Based Medicine” strongly resonates with many veterinarians, especially those with little real-world experience. They tend to think that unless there is a validating study, the idea must be wrong.
The problem with this way of thinking is that the vast majority of pet food research is sponsored by the pet food industry. Heck, Science Diet has “Science” right there in its name. Surely, you can’t get any more evidence-based than that.
Research into raw pet food is lacking because research costs money and only the major pet food companies have that kind of cash. I don’t think Hills will be doing any studies on the benefits of raw food any time soon. But, raw food enthusiasts don’t despair. There is hope for us.
Looky here. Wow, a real live study comparing raw-fed kittens to processed food-fed kittens. And, the study resulted in positive conclusions about raw food!
I guess the first finding that may have surprised the conventional community is that the kittens didn’t all die (as many raw feeders are told by their vets). The main thing this study was looking at was the digestibility of the diets. Well, raw food diets came out on top. The kittens being fed the raw food absorbed more nutrients and unloaded firmer, healthier stools than the kittens fed processed food.
These results are nothing new to those of us who feed raw food. But don’t be too discouraged by the wimpy findings. This study is a first step in the right direction. It was published in a mainstream journal and will get the attention of conventional veterinarians. Maybe soon the controversy over feeding raw food will be forgotten and everyone will be doing it. (A fella can dream can’t he?)