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Hey all --

I've been reading through all of the posts here this afternoon -- great introduction into something that I've been considering for a while, which is of course switching my three year-old lab mix over to a raw diet. Thanks for the guidance and strategies.

Here is my dilemma: I love the idea of raw. I currently eat a raw diet (mostly vegan, with some fish) myself. One of the things that spurred me into my journey into eating better (in addition to optimal health) was a wish to no longer participate in the current industrial process of the way most meat is raised, slaughtered, and brought to market. Outside of that, I have no problem with meat's consumption, especially not by dogs, for that's what they were meant to do. The purchase the amount of meat necessary to keep him on a 100% raw diet at a price considered reasonable by most posting members here (per what I've read) would seem to preclude purchasing meat produced outside of the factory system.

I realize that if I continue to feed him kibble -- even "premium" kibble -- I am still participating in this system, and probably at even "worse" levels... as I have been since I started feeding him out of a bag when I got him.

So, as I head off to shop for chicken parts for the first time in a while, I was just wondering if anyone else had wrestled with the same issues, or had any thoughts or ideas.

Thanks,
Chris
 

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Hi and welcome!!!!

I too have struggled with the same thoughts, but...as you know, free range chicken (and other meat) is so very expensive.
We don't eat raw (hubby and I) but have considered it, and we try to buy humane whenever we can.

I say just do what you can afford, and buying whole raw meat for your dog isn't any worse than buying kibble. Like you mentioned, it is probably better.

One thing you could try (and I plan on it too) is to watch the hunting seasons, and see what game is hunted when, then post an add on craigslist and freecycle mentioning your interest in taking/buying parts. :) Stock on up then, if you can!
I plan on bugging the deer processing place this year for necks, etc.
 

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Welcome to the boards! Its great to have another interested person in raw...they just keep on comin!!!

It does bother me a lot with the way that animals are raised here for our consumption. There should be more stringent laws and regulations that provide better living conditions and treatment for these animals. No doubt in my mind about that one, because even "organic" in the US means nothing to me because of the actual laws that dictate what "organic" even means here.

If I had an endless supply of money and loads of expendable time I would raise all of my own animals for consumption and have gardens full of fruits and veggies. But that is not realistic at this point in time in my life...I hope to someday make it a reality! So I do the best that I can do and afford. I buy "organic" and "free range" and "wild caught" when I can, which is not often on my budget. I certainly can't afford to buy these things for all of my dogs either. If I could I would.

I have heard that other raw feeders would call what I feed (the cheapest meat I can find and get my hands on) the "Kibbles N Bits" of the raw world. This is fine with me, because I know that it is the best thing that I personally can provide for my dogs. Its far more appropriate for my family than any kibble out there. I will never feel guilty for doing the best that I can.

So, the moral dilemma that I see is: What is most appropriate for your dog companion to eat? Omnivore nutrition backed by big corporations and business that only care about making money....or providing what is most similar to what your canine companion should be eating?

Of course if you can afford to feed your dog truly free range meats...then there should be no dilemma for you to make the switch. Because as long as you feed kibble, you continue to back up the big business corporations who ultimately support the big food industries who provide the meats AND corn/wheat/rice in dog foods. For me, if I am going to "support" the bad meat companies by buying their products it might as well be for a species appropriate diet for my dog!
 

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What y'all seem to overlook is the important part about how these big bad meat producers are feeding the world. There would be millions of starving people if all meat and vegetables were raised the way you want to eat them. It's just a fact. These huge "factory farms" are neccessary to produce the amount of food needed. I don't see a lot of food getting thrown away because they are being overproduced. If not for these large corporate farms, both meat farms and vegetable and grain farms did not exist you would be crying about so many people are starving to death instead of crying about how the animals are treated and how pesticides and fertelizers are used on the plants.

Now I'll step down off my soap box ... non-organic soap. :smile:
 

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I feel kinda bad about it but like RFD said, these factory farms are just a necessary evil unfortunately. I justify it by knowing that at least I'm feeding my dogs a species-appropriate diet and doing right by them as best as I can. Almost all of the liver and heart they get is from free-range, organic, grass-fed beef from a local farmer in rural NV, so that makes me feel a little better.

Also, I'm a pescatarian so I don't eat meat so my dogs can eat my share :biggrin:
 

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Factory farms may be necessary to produce the volume of food the world population requires... but I'm sure there are "better" ways to go about doing it (better in quotations because it's subjective).

I never seek out organic food (but will buy it if it's the same price) and don't care if my chicken is "free range" or not (since "free range" usually just means the cage door is opened and chickens have a choice to go outside... which they don't). I would, however, prefer to eat meat that is itself raised on a diet as close to natural as possible (grass fed beef, for example). I figure natural diets for cows, chickens, pigs, etc. leads to healthier livestock, and healthier livestock leads to a healthier me.

On a tangentially related note... Stephen Colbert had a guy on his show a few weeks ago talking about a "caveman" diet. Humans evolved for millions of years as hunter/gatherers who ate meat, vegetables and fruits (little to no grain or dairy). It wasn't until very recently on the evolutionary timeline when humans got into agriculture, and his theory was that humans aren't really designed to process these foods. I don't know if I fully buy into that, but found it interesting (and it's what got me thinking again about a raw diet for my dog).

I'm also reading "In Defense of Food" right now, which is a good book. It doesn't go to the extreme of saying zero dairy or grains, but it does encourage you to eat whole foods as much as possible and eliminate refined carbs and processed foods (anything that makes a health claim on the box is likely unhealthy, focus on whole foods instead of nutrients, etc). It's very similar to the prey model, only for people.

Sorry to get off topic, but I figure anyone interested enough in nutrition to feed their dog raw chicken would also be concerned about their own diet.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the thoughts and responses. I'm going to look a little deeper as to what resources might be available to me locally. Austin continues to surprise me.

I'm thinking more about Cooper's diet now after spending the past several months thinking long and hard about my own. I've made a lot of changes relatively (in the big scale of growth over one's lifetime) quickly. There is a lot of information out there, and the biggest decision I made was to always stay open to new ideas. I also made a lot of my decisions on what I eat now based on many of the same factors I've seen referenced here: dentition and digestive chemistry.

I have one thought on what may or may not be necessary... a few days ago, or even a few hours ago, if pressed I would have said that kibble factories were a necessary evil, lest all the dogs starve.
 

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Chris,
I struggle with it every day. What danemama said reflects my feelings so I won't repeat. I am part of a local veggie and meat CSA. I buy local for my family as much as I can. I will never eat a piece of meat that has been treated with hormones or antibiotics. But I can't afford to feed Cali from the meat CSA (although she gives me free boxes of organ meat, which I happily use!). So I hear you completely, and there is NO easy answer for those of us with limited resources. We do the best we can, and not buying kibble fits that goal.

To those who think factory farming is essential--then you are continuing to be manipulated by the marketing machine messages. Poo-poo what I just said if you want--but you are being manipulated just like the kibble feeders are. It's a very complicated and long-winded discussion, but factory farming s NOT necessary. It's a matter of education and consumer choices in large measure--but I know the whole system makes even that impossible or very difficult.

For those who do think factory farming is inevitable, please read The Omnivore's Dilemma. If you get past chapter 4, your life will never be the same. And as a raw feeder, your sensibility, intelligence, and moral heart will resonate. It fits hand-in-glove with why you are a raw feeder, and in many ways, rounds it out on the human plane. It's a great book to listen to in the car on CD from the library. Seriously, if you make the statement that factory farming is "just the way it is," then please consider reading or listening.

My oldest son works in sustainability, farming, and food safety. We talk about this stuff all the time. He knows so much, and has opened my mind to see how continually manipulated we all are--throwing up our hands and shrugging. He's even the one who got me into feeding raw. 'Nuff for now.
 

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The Omnivore's Dilemma has been on my reading list for quite some time...just gotta get through The Lost Symbol and Under the Dome first LOL!

Jon and I are for sure always looking out for ourselves in how to eat healthier...of course we indulge a bit here and there, but one must nourish the soul as well as the heart :wink:
 

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In case anyone's unaware, the book I mentioned above is by the same author as The Omnivore's Dilemma (Michael Pollan). I haven't read that one, but I'm sure it's good (and for what it's worth, when I said factory farming "may" be necessary, I wasn't agreeing... just conceding the point for the sake of argument).

If we really ate in the way we should (as nature intended, and as Pollan suggests), we wouldn't need factory farms because our meat intake would likely plummet.
 

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Here's a very unscientific study, i.e. my personal opinion :)...

Raw feeders are an important group to become educated and aware of what goes on with our food system and the strangle hold of the industrial food complex. Anyone here will "get it" instantly--and make changes in your own personal buying and eating habits. It doesn't have to be anything radical. It's just buying and consuming armed with knowledge. Raw feeding your pet and learning about the current state of our food supply go hand in hand. You will find that the same kind of care and thinking that goes into feeding your dog will bleed into your own life enhancing your health and well being. You really gotta know.

Michael Pollen is a perfect place to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I always find it amazing to see people wake up and take the red pill, so to speak. A critical mass is reached, where you start to see the patterns and as they become clearer, so does the the exit door out that they obscure.

If anyone has seen Food, Inc. but not read The Omnivore's Dilemma, or vice-versa, the former is basically the movie version of the latter, minus the book's final chapter on hunting/gathering (prey model, anyone?)
 

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We actually just now watched Food, Inc...we've been meaning to for awhile now. My sister is vegan, has been for a few years now, so she keeps me in line with the latest and greatest of what to watch/read. Although I commend her for going the vegan route (she doesn't even do fish...) I just don't want to, sorry! We actually don't eat that much meat really, mostly veggies and fruit. We try and eat as close to the "caveman" diet as possible...staying away from the center aisles of the grocery store LOL
 

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Good stuff!

I have been on a highly varied natural foods diet for about 2 years.

It's actually easy for me to say in optimum shape by avoiding foods which contain items which do not promote or support optimum health. There have been times where it takes the wind out of my sails, however, that's the learning curve which I must utilize to break-out from the Standard American Diet, (SAD).

For those who look down on people who choose one way to eat are just doing the best they can, at the moment, with what they were given to work with. By using self-control, I do not take a lot of things personally, and will help shift the paradigm of the purpose of health care professionals to coach people to create a self-reliance toward our own health.

Food, Inc was a good book and repetitive for me. That's okay, because it helps spread the word and provide another source for information. After 5 locations of the same information, it's considered common knowledge and we can use it without the plagiarism stigma. :wink:
 
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