GMOs in Pet Food: What they are and How they Impact our Pets
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are a hot topic right now, but maybe not for the right reasons. We hear the term GMO and immediately assume it is terrible for us and for our pets. While we totally agree that is a dangerous movement, we believe it is dangerous due to its impact on our environment and society, as well as consumption, although the truth is, no one knows know for sure as there have been no long-term studies done. The most recent studies coming out are not exactly encouraging…
But, the fact is, we and our pets have probably been consuming GMOs for years without even knowing it. So, what is so bad about GMOs and why should we avoid them? Well, here’s a “quick overview to GMOs” we put together…
What are GMOs?
Genetically Modified Organisms are organisms that have had their DNA modified by scientists. Believe it or not, this has been going on for years as companies like Monsanto work to gain control of our food supply. Certain crops, like soy, canola, corn, cotton, and many more, are naturally at the whim of Mother Nature. By modifying the DNA of these seeds, scientists can take back some of that control by making a seed that is pest-resistant, drought resistant, and more nutritious.
Why are they dangerous to pets?
Well, that’s the thing – we don’t know if they are or they’re not. At least not from a nutritional standpoint. In fact, they are rated as “substantially equivalent” by those who “regulate” the market, and deemed “safe for consumers”. Our herbivores have been eating them for years, which means you have probably been eating them for years. Since labeling is not required, we may never know.
However, there have been warnings issued on their safety. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (and others like the Centre for Research on Globalization have done their own studies on safety.
They learned that consumption of GMOs has been linked with health problems in animals that include compromised immunity levels, infertility, organ damage, and more. In fact, in a 90-day feeding trial at the Universities of Caen and Rouen. all three varieties of Monsanto’s GM maize resulted in adverse impacts on vital organs. The data “clearly underlines adverse impacts on kidneys and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, as well as different levels of damages to heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system,” reported Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen.
So what’s the problem with GMOs?
There may not be a nutritional problem, but the truth is – we don’t know if there is a problem. For now, assuming we take scientists at face value, they are “equivalent” to traditional crops in nutritional value. However, there is a slew of other problems associated with these crops…
Let’s take it one by one, shall we?
1. The crops were never tested on humans prior to being used. This may not be a problem, but the fact is, we don’t know if it’s a problem for us or our pets. We may not know for many years. According to GMO Inside, “The commercial animal feed industry is by far the largest purchaser of US corn and soybean meal; the majority of these US crops are genetically modified: corn 88% and soybeans 94%.”
2. There is no labeling required for GMO products. This is a problem because if it’s so safe to use, it shouldn’t be a problem to label it that way. When companies hide things from us, it makes us wonder what they are up to.
3. It creates a monoculture. This is a big, big problem. In fields where GMO products are grown, nothing else does. There are no birds or insects on those crops – at all. That means that critical life forms, like bees for example, cannot live in areas where these GMO crops live. That also means that soil is not receiving critical life-giving waste that it needs to be more fertile in the future. In fact, these seeds create a vast wasteland of single-run crops that are sterile.
4. It creates a single-crop field. All GMO seeds are sterile, meaning a farmer cannot hold back a percentage of seed from an ear of corn in order to plant the next year’s crop. All GMO seed must be purchased from one of the companies who sell it – every year. If a farmer can’t afford that seed, too bad for the farmer. Since heritage seeds are becoming so difficult to find, there is a very real chance that the farmer will be out of business and that if one of the companies decide not to sell any more seed, we will all starve to death. We would be at the mercy of the companies who sell it.
5. We don’t know what it will do to our land. Right now, we depend on our crops to feed ourselves, our families, other countries and keep our economy afloat. We depend on microcosms of life that live in non-GMO crops (like bees and ants and birds). We have no idea how these crops will affect our land long-term…
6. The use of biotech crops (GMO) are rampant. Here is a graph that shows you how rampant it is and how much you may be consuming even if you don’t want to.
That’s not good. How do I avoid GMO seed? I don’t want to support these practices!
Well, that’s the hardest part of this whole mess. Our government does not require GMO seed to be labeled as such, and we find that reprehensible. The good news is that the Institute for Responsible Technology has created a list of some foods that most definitely DO have GMOs so you can help by not supporting the purchase of these foods.
Generally, you can help by specifically asking the manufacturers if they buy non-GMO products. The more we can make ourselves heard in the pet industry, the more it will translate to the human industry.
Avoid processed foods: This is a list of processed food (including baking powder, canola oil, condensed milk, etc) that you should avoid.
Buy Organic-certified as they cannot intentionally include GMO ingredients:
- Look for Non-GMO Project Verified seals like the one pictured here:
- Avoid at-risk ingredients (sugar, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, and corn)
- Educate yourself and others
- Demand change
- Share this graphic through social media and work to educate others on the potential dangers of GMOs. This is something we all need to be concerned with for ourselves, our pets, our children, and our future sustainability as a nation.