A recent study has found that more and more people, vegetarians or not, are considering vegan diets for their pets.
It sure sucks to be somebody's pet in 2019, my heart goes out to all the furry babies suffering due to their owner's preference of food. Veganism, which was once nothing but a radical diet option, has gained such immense popularity in the recent few years that it has now earned its name as one of the most popular and trending preferences of eating. While humans are free to choose whatever they wish to eat, a recent study has observed that some people are not only choosing to lead vegan lives but are also forcing their pets to simply eat vegetables and fruits.
A survey was conducted on more than 3,670 pet owners across the world asking about the kind of food they give their dogs and cats and 35% of those people revealed that they are trying to get their pets to adopt the vegan lifestyle. 27% of those respondents are already feeding their canines only plant produce. What is surprising is, only 6% of people the study was conducted on were themselves vegan.
The question arises - why feed your pets something you yourself don't wish to eat? Dr. Sarah Dodd, the lead author of the study conducted at the veterinary college, University of Guelph, Canada, says she was surprised at the results. "That percentage, 27%, might sound like a small number, but when you think of the actual numbers of pets involved, that's huge and much higher than we expected," she told Insider.
"People have been hearing about how vegan diets are linked to lowered risks of cancer and other health benefits in humans. There is also growing concern about the environmental impact of animal agriculture. So, while only a small proportion of pet-owners are currently feeding plant-based diets to their pets, it is safe to say that interest in the diets is likely to grow," Todd added revealing why more and more people are switching to veganism.
"With many pet owners now seeking by-product-free and meat-centric foods, there may be direct competition with animal products otherwise destined for the human food chain [17, 18]. With regards to empathy for animals, people who have chosen to abstain from eating animals have been reported to possess stronger empathy for non-human species than people who consume meat. Pet owners have also been found to have higher levels of empathy for animals than people who do not live with pets. Considering their high regard for animals, pet owners clearly want to feed diets that they consider healthy and beneficial for their companions’ wellbeing," reads the study.
Well-known animal-rights organization PETA has also urged pet owners to avoid feeding their pets commercialized pet food and go vegan instead, "If you have been feeding your companion animals commercial pet foods, you may be jeopardizing their health. Supermarket pet foods are often composed of ground-up parts of animals deemed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors unfit for human consumption. The flesh of animals who fall into one of the categories of the four D’s—dead, dying, diseased, or disabled—is what often goes into pet food. Many of these animals have died of infections and other diseases."
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, however, believes no pet should be given a strict vegan diet without consulting vets. They also believe that more research is needed in this area and people should certainly wait for proper conclusions. "We are aware of vegan/vegetarian pet food which includes these nutrients but these are relatively new to the market and we have not seen any long-term studies about the effects of feeding cats a diet like this," a spokesperson said in an interview. "However, we are also not aware of any cases of health problems associated with them. We would like to see more scientific evidence about the effects of such specialized diets on cats and cannot advise feeding them at this time."
In addition to being fed vegan diets, anti-vaxxers are now refusing to get their pets vaccinated! According to Time, people are claiming vaccinating animals is totally unnecessary and if anything, it increases the risk of 'canine' autism along with various other diseases, which again, hasn't been proven. “There is currently no reliable scientific evidence to indicate autism in dogs or a link between vaccination and autism. Vaccinations save lives and are an important tool in keeping our pets healthy," Gudrun Ravetz, Senior Vice President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), issued a statement.