The importance of human-grade meat for dogs
Recently, there’s been some very distressing news in the media about a cluster of dogs in Victoria sadly passing away or being hospitalised due to liver disease, with the common link being that they had all eaten raw food from a knackery in the Victorian state.
The tragedy has highlighted the importance of human-grade pet food and the need for tightened pet food regulation in Australia, with much of the industry largely unregulated.
So far, there have been 15 deaths and 49 hospitalisations all linked to raw cubed meat from a knackery in eastern Victoria, with each dog affected by liver disease.
Testing of the meat showed a toxin present, called indospicine, which affects the meat of feral animals, including camels and goats, when they graze on plants from the Indigofera species. Consumption of the plants increases toxin build-up in the muscle tissue and in turn, can have serious and even fatal consequences for the dogs and other animals that then consume this meat.
After calls from PrimeSafe, the meat regulator of Victoria, the affected food has now been recalled.
What is a knackery?
Knackeries are processing facilities, which produce pet-grade meat and animal by-products that are unfit for human consumption.
Knackery meat in Australia is often sourced from dead, dying or sick animals, including former racehorses, camels, donkeys, rabbits and goats.
Dogs who eat meat from knackeries can be exposed to dangerous pathogens and toxins, as the standards for testing which exist for human-grade food are non-existent for pet-grade food.
How was this allowed to happen?
There are some very basic minimum requirements that knackeries must adhere to, but pet-grade meats are not regulated, and further safety requirements are voluntary and vary by state.
Human-grade meats have to be swabbed for pathogens before leaving abattoirs, but this is not the case for pet-grade meats. The pathogens and bacteria which may be present in pet-grade meat can also be transferred to humans and make pet owners sick.
This issue highlights the need for greater pet food regulation in Australia, to ensure that the meat being fed to your beloved pet is safe for consumption.
What can you do to make sure your dog’s food is safe?
- Opt to choose human-grade pet food, especially if it’s raw
- If in doubt, contact your pet food brand to ensure that they have been unaffected by the recent tragedy in Victoria, and ask about what steps they take to avoid such issues from occurring
- When looking at label of your dog’s food, keep an eye out for terms such as “by-products” and “meat meal” which are the remaining parts of the animal once the meat for human consumption has been removed (the animal may have even been unfit for human consumption in the first place). In some instances, the source of the meat used to create these by-products can be vague and unclear
If you notice any adverse symptoms in your dog, contact your vet immediately and provide as much information as you can about their diet, especially if you live in Victoria.
Was Lyka affected by this tragedy?
No. Lyka would never source meat from a knackery.
We only use human-grade ingredients (we often eat the food ourselves!) sourced from local farmers wherever we can. We’re in full control of our supply chain and even share suppliers with some of Australia’s top restaurants. This not only means that our meat, vegetables and superfoods are high quality: as they are subject to Australian human-grade food requirements, they are safe for your pup too.
To give you additional peace of mind, our recipes use grass-fed beef and lamb, as well as free-range chicken, and barn-raised turkey. All our meats are farmed and fit for human consumption.
Human-grade goes further than just our ingredients. We produce all of our food in-house in our Sydney kitchen, following strict safety and hygiene protocols to make sure that we maintain the human-grade standards that set our meals apart.
So, with Lyka, you can rest easy knowing that your pupper is eating food that is safe and delicious. We want only the best for our Lyka pack to help your pupper live their best life.