Dog food sold in the UK may harm your pet

The three founders of Wild Justice Credit: Wild Justice Twitter

DOG FOOD sold in the UK may harm your pet after some have been found to contain high levels of toxic lead according to campaigners at Wild Justice.

The sometimes-controversial organisation was launched in February 2019 to campaign for a better deal for wildlife and is fronted by BBC TV presenter Chris Packham, Dr Mark Avery and Dr Ruth Tingay.

According to the organisation, more than three quarters of samples from three raw pheasant-based dog foods tested for lead exceeded the maximum level recommended for animal feed.

They contend therefore that the use of lead shot in shooting means pet owners are unwittingly feeding their dogs levels of lead that may harm their health.

Chris Packham said ”That people might be unwittingly poisoning their beloved companion animals is outrageous.

“It’s clearly a failure of our regulatory systems when products like raw pheasant-based dog foods can be sold containing such high lead levels.

“No animals should be exposed to these levels of lead in their food. Wild Justice is taking legal advice on these shocking findings.”

New research published in the journal Ambio stated that tests were undertaken on samples from raw, air-dried and wet dog food products purchased in the UK that contained pheasant meat.

They found that about three quarters of samples from raw pheasant-based dog food packs exceeded the EU maximum lead levels permitted in animal feed.

Across three different products being sold in the UK, lead levels were found to be an average of 245, 135 and 49 times above the maximum permitted levels.

Consumption of lead is detrimental to human health, being especially harmful to developing brains and the nervous system. Other animals are affected in similar ways; lead ingestion can affect the gut, nervous system, heart, kidneys and blood of companion animals.

Pheasants and Red-legged Partridges are released in their millions into the British Countryside each year to serve as targets for recreational shooting. Some go into the human food chain, and others end up in products such as dog and cat food.

Lead shot is the type of ammunition normally used for shooting pheasants, partridges and grouse.

When shot into an animal the small lead pellets leave behind tiny lead fragments dispersed through the animal’s flesh. These tiny fragments cannot readily be removed, leading to lead contamination of the meat.

Wild Justice believe that raw meat diets for pets are on the increase in the UK, and products containing raw pheasant are widely available online.

Over a third of fifty raw pet food suppliers checked by researchers offered pheasant-based products. Of these, 71 per cent warned consumers that the product may contain shot.

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