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The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) House of Delegates recently convened and instituted a policy against the feeding of raw or undercooked meat to dogs and cats.

The policy is just that and not a state or federal law. AVMA officials do not and will not be the regulating body for what pet owners choose to feed their pets.

In Resolution #5 – 2012, from their regular session, the AVMA’s official statement is, “The AVMA discourages the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of risk to illness to cats and dogs as well as humans.” The entire statement is available from the AVMA website in PDF format. 

With raw food diets gaining popularity, the policy discourages the usage of raw food to decrease illness risk from listeria bacteria and salmonella, amongst others. 

In their statement, the AVMA also recommended not feeding inadequately treated animal-source proteins to cats and dogs, restricting cats and dogs to carrion and animal carcasses, and to practice personal hygiene including hand washing before and after feeding dogs and cats treats, cleaning pet dishes, and disposing of uneaten food. They further recommend that pets be provided complete commercially prepared or home-cooked food daily.

Raw food proponents claim that pets fed a raw diet are less likely to have as many health issues and that medical issues have actually improved as a result. Many veterinarians believe the bacterial risk in raw meat outweighs the true benefits to pets.

With regard to the statement, “Avoid feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs, the amendment passed with a majority vote of 91.9 percent in favor of the change. The HOD voted once more on the raw-food policy and the final outcome was 90.9 percent in favor of the amended resolution.”

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