BARF diet, pet food that affects humans

BARF diet, pet food that affects humans

Fad diets are not just for humans. Well, in reality, we are still the ones who fall into them, but not always for our own food. And it is that lately they are having a great boom some very dangerous ways to feed pets. It is the case of the barf dietwhich consists of feeding dogs and cats basically from raw food.

That includes some fruits and vegetables, but mostly meat and fish. Sometimes it freezes sooner, but even then may pose a risk of zoonosis. For this reason, many veterinarians have already rushed to warn of the dangers that the BARF diet can pose for our pets, but also for other animals and humans around them.

The risk reaches such a point that even some veterinary clinics refuse to care for animals fed this way. Or, if they do, they have a strict post-disinfection protocol. It is clear that, if those who know more about the subject want to avoid it, we should follow the example.

Arguments with gaps in favor of the BARF diet

Advocates of the BARF diet for pets use an apparently very solid argument, but with certain gaps. Basically, they rest on the fact that if our cats and dogs were wildThey would not eat cooked food. And it is true. Just as if we did not know fire, we would still eat raw meat. But luckily thousands of years ago we discovered it. In addition, over time we have been perfecting the food safety measures, preventing many diseases. Should we abandon all of this simply because there was a time when we didn’t know how to do it better? Logically not.

The same thing happens with animals, as he has explained in statements to hypertextual the vet Fatima White. “The fact of starting to live with humans and adapting their diet to it has allowed their Life expectancy increase significantly,” he says. “This is because cooked diets effectively kill pathogens that could cause serious diseases”.

In addition, there is a basic error in assuring that these animals would be carnivores in nature. Cats are strict carnivores, but dogs are omnivores. In any case, the BARF diet can also include vegetables, so in that case it would not be misguided. Even so, it is still not defensible to feed pets raw food.

But the theme of feeding natural of dogs and cats is not the only argument of the defenders of the BARF diet. Many also argue that the foods that are generally used to feed pets can contain toxins and dangerous chemical compounds. But that’s not true; since, according to Fátima Blanco, these foods are still very thorough checksJust like the ones we humans eat. “Obviously, as in human food, there may be occasional cases of a product in poor condition or poisoning, but precisely because of the exhaustive control that is carried out, it is quickly located and solved.”

In Europe, for example, within the framework of the European Commission there is the project for the control of Quality and safety of feed and food for Europe (QSAFFE for its acronym in English). With him, you search improve the quality of these animal feeds through risk prevention techniques, quality tests and measures to prevent future problems in relation to this topic.

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They don’t even deliver what they promise

The BARF diet is often touted as a better option for pets from a nutritional point of view. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that raw meat contains digestive enzymes that increase the biological availability of many nutrients that could also be lost during cooking.

Nevertheless, there is not enough scientific evidence that this is so. Most studies do not find great nutritional benefits in animals fed this way. In fact, in many cases the opposite is the case and many unbalanced substances in their analytics. But even if there really was a benefit, it wouldn’t make up for the risk of zoonosis that we face if we feed our animals in this way.

The BARF diet is a public health hazard

Perhaps in the past the word zoonosis seemed to us something exotic and unusual (although it was not). However, since COVID-19 entered our lives, we are more aware of all that it entails.

Zoonosis is known as the phenomenon by which a pathogen is transmitted naturally from an animal to humans. Can be directly or with intermediaries. For example, in the case of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, there is a lot of evidence that it arose in bats. However, it is believed that there could have been an intermediate species that favored the jump and it is not clear what it could be. At first the pangolin was suspected, but it is not certain.

These zoonoses are often due to Serious breaches of food safety measures. And that, of course, includes eating raw food. But, at this point, we could ask ourselves a question. If the BARF diet is for dogs and cats, what do we humans have to do with it? Well, basically everything. Diseases can be transmitted to pets, which is serious enough per se. But they can also be spread to humans, other animals, or simply released into the environment.

“Raw diets are a source of pathogens that neither the acidic pH of the digestive system of dogs and cats nor freezing eliminates,” warns Blanco. “These have a potential zoonotic danger that must be taken into account.” In addition, the veterinarian reports that “there are studies confirming the presence of these pathogens in the feces of these animals, with findings of antibiotic resistant bacteria”. Therefore, it is a public health problem.

BARF diet, pet food that affects humans
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When your pets become a danger to others

As new studies continue to be published on the dangers of the BARF diet, many veterinarians are already beginning to take action on it. These can be of two types.

On the one hand, there are clinics that They do not accept dogs or cats that follow this type of diet. Others do not go as far, but they do have isolation and disinfection protocols for these animals. It is not for less, because we have already seen that they pose a zoonotic risk for other dogs and cats or for the humans around them.

In fact, this goes beyond veterinary clinics. And it is that, although all dog owners should collect their feces from the street, in those who feed their furry with the BARF diet it takes on a second meaning. “Actually, the droppings of these animals are in the street and, if they are not collected, we can already have a source of contagion”.

There are plenty of reasons to treat our pets like the domesticated animals of the 21st century that they are. If they had a choice, they sure would.