Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pet Foods Fund the American Kennel Club

If you have a purebred dog with "papers", the papers are likely to be the dog's registration with the American Kennel Club (AKC). AKC is the world's largest purebred dog registry and the major voice in the US for purebred dogs and their activities.

In its Mission Statement, the AKC says it stands, among other things, for canine health and well-being

How to fund all these lofty goals? The majority of AKC's funding comes from dog registration fees and from shows and events, but corporate sponsors make significant contributions. In budgets of $73 million in 2007 and 2008, $7.8 and $6.7 million, respectively, came from royalties and sponsorships. Who are the major sponsors of AKC activities and events? Pharmacuetical and pet food companies. Just look at the AKC web site. On nearly every page is an advertisement for a Bayer flea/tick medication or Eukanuba dog food, the major sponsor of the semi-annual AKC/Eukanuba National Championships.

Actually, the influence of the major pet food companies is much greater than appears on public web pages. In their 2008 Annual Report, the AKC acknowledges more reliance on pet food company dollars than is first apparent. Here are some quotations from the AKC 2008 Annual Report (emphasis added):

Marketing and licensing oversees corporate sponsorship of AKC programs and events. New in 2008: the AKC welcomed Royal Canin as sponsor of the AKC Breeder newsletter and the AKC Veterinary Outreach/AKC Veterinary network program; NestlĂ© Purina Petcare became the sponsor of the AKC registered Handlers program; AKC responsible Dog Ownership Day in New York and Raleigh welcomed local sponsors: Peter Cooper Village–Stuyvesant Town and Best Friends Petcare, inc., respectively. invisible Fence returned as RDO Day’s national sponsor.

Bayer K9 Advantix continued its support of AKC Veterinary Outreach and AKC Vet net, as well as an educational campaign for new AKC puppy owners. Ongoing in 2008 was the Chase AKC rewards Visa credit-card program, in which cardholders earn points redeemable at pet-supply stores and other merchants.


Veterinary Outreach, internal Audit, and Support Services comprise the Audit and Control division. The division is also the liaison between the AKC and PetPartners, inc., provider of AKC PetHealthcare.

Veterinary Outreach promotes the AKC to veterinarians and establishes alliances with universities, researchers, practitioners, and related professional organizations. New in 2008: Royal Canin joined Bayer K9 Advantix as program sponsors. Together with Royal Canin, the AKC distributes the “Practical Guide to Dog Breeding” to first-year veterinary students and breed identification cards and CDs to second-year students. Veterinarians in the AKC Veterinary Network are provided AKC materials on such topics as training, breeding, events, permanent identification, and pet insurance.

Veterinary Outreach, with support from the AKC, AKC Companion Animal Recovery, the AKC Canine Health Foundation, and Royal Canin, awarded $145,000 in scholarships to 23 students of veterinary medicine from AVMA-accredited schools. Twenty-five students received $1,000 AKC/Bayer K9 Advantix Veterinary Technician Scholarships, in cooperation with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.

In addition to Eukanuba's (Proctor & Gamble) major support of AKC's national conformation shows, Mars Corporation's Royal Canin brand is a major supporter of AKC's outreach services to veterinary students, with scholarship funds and various "educational" materials. AKC, a prestigious, nonprofit organization, conspires with a giant pet food company to educate veterinary students. One can bet the AKC/Royal Canin "educational" materials for vet students do not teach or promote an evolutionarily appropriate, raw-meaty-bones diet for cats and dogs.

AKC's publications for dog owners, breeders, and show participants are loaded with pet food advertisements from every major manufacturer and some smaller ones. Articles on feeding focus on ingredients and supposed nutrients in commercial dog foods. Any mention of homemade or raw foods is an occasion to warn readers not to try them for fear of feeding unbalanced diets, making dogs sick, creating allergies, and so forth. AKC publications serve their sponsors' and advertisers' interests.

What's missing from AKC's publications, programs, and educational programs? Any support for a species-appropriate, raw-meaty-bones diet for (purebred) dogs. Dogs are a carnivorous subspecies of gray wolves, and their diet ideally consists of whole prey. In the absence of whole prey, dog owners can feed a good diet of raw meats, meaty bones, and organ meats (see .

One might think that a premiere nonprofit organzation, devoted to the welfare of purebred dogs and their owners, would address the epidemic among dogs of periodonatal disease, caused by being fed commercial pet foods that coat their teeth with gummy sludge that harbors bacteria that infect gums and cause a host of auto-immune and chronic diseases. AKC is silent on the established fact that, by age 3 years, 85% of dogs suffer from periodonatal disease that threatens their health and their very lives. All the AKC would have to say to purebred dog owners is "Feed raw meaty bones" that will clean dogs' teeth in the way Nature intended for carnivores. They could change the lives of millions of suffering dogs.

AKC's major pet food sponsors would not stand for such disloyalty, of course. So, AKC's vast silence about the harmful effects of commercial pet foods -- inappropriate strarchy, cooked junk that destroy pet's health -- continues, and the AKC continues to host dog shows and to tell vet students to promote Eukanuba and Royal Canin brands of health-destroying kibble.

Are these facts consistent with AKC's lofty mission to "advance canine health and well-being"? I don't think so. AKC needs to rid itself of financial dependence on pet food and pharmacuetical company funds, so that it can fulfill its mission. The health and well-being of millions of dogs are at stake.


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