Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Self-Righteous Raw Feeding Troll

Disclaimer: I am not bashing raw feeders. 
  • I have friends who feed their dogs raw diets. 
  • I have friends who supplement high quality commercial dog food with raw food. 
  • I have friends who swear by the BARF diet. 
  • And I have friends who cook their dogs' food from scratch with organic, human-grade ingredients. 
All of these people feel that they're doing the best they can for their dogs. And all of them will talk to you in depth about why they made those decisions. I respect all of them, even if I don't always agree with them. This rant is not directed to those people. This rant is about one particular woman: The Troll.

I went to the AKC Eukanuba National Championship over the weekend. It was awesome! (A gorgeous German shepherd bitch took Best in Show and she totally deserved it. But I digress . . . ) In addition to the thousands of dogs competing in conformation, agility and obedience, the Eukanuba dog show also offered demos, 100+ vendors, access to representatives of large dog-centric organizations and seminars on dog breeding, nutrition and health.

I attended an interesting seminar hosted by Royal Canin on breed specific dog food formulas. I'd seen the products before and always thought it was just a gimmick. I went to the seminar with an open mind and discovered the science behind it was pretty interesting. It was definitely food for thought (pun not intended). The speaker was knowledgeable and engaging. The woman in front of me, however, was a tiresome twat. She came in late and sat in the front row. She made it clear from the beginning that she was a raw feeder and had no intention of learning anything. Nor did she want to participate in an educated discussion. Instead, she felt the need to interrupt every five minutes with a condescending remark. I thought the speaker, a PhD veterinary nutritionist, handled herself well. Personally I would have said something snarky and inappropriate (like "tiresome twat.") Here are a few of the exchanges that really stood out:

  • The speaker was talking about a scientific study when Troll piped in saying she didn't believe the data because the dog food company paid for it so "obviously it's unreliable." The speaker told her that there were several studies, all with similar results. One was paid for by a competing dog food company, a second was done at UC Davis and a third was a privately funded study done in Europe. Troll said it was still bogus.

  • Troll said she didn't trust any studies done by conventional veterinarians. She only used holistic veterinarians and was suspicious because there weren't any studies done by holistic vets. The speaker said that one of Royal Canin's sister companies was looking for qualified holistic vets, but was having trouble finding some willing to do research instead of practice. She gave the names of the best, most comprehensive alternative medicine studies she knew of, but Troll just snorted.

  • The kicker was when the speaker was discussing the differences in dog coats. I don't remember the exact quote, but she said something about our purebred dogs having evolved from a common ancestor based on original function. Troll blurted out "I don't believe in evolution."

Let that sink in for a moment.
Note: We weren't debating whether or not Man evolved from some primordial ooze. The speaker was talking about how dogs -- for better or worse -- have changed over the past few hundred years because of human influence. Any middle school student can tell you that the development of dog breeds was controlled evolution!

Lucky for us, Troll received a phone call halfway through the seminar and had to step out. Unfortunately, the damage was already done. Troll had wasted so much time that the speaker wasn't able to finish the presentation and there was no time at the end for questions from those who really wanted to participate.

If Troll had come off her high horse for a moment I would have told her that I applaud her for doing what she feels is right and works for her situation. I hope she continues to learn so she can make the best possible choices for her dogs. That said, I would appreciate the same courtesy. I don't feed raw (expense, storage, inconvenience, sanitation and "the gross factor" being my biggest reasons). If things change I'll talk to Kimberly over at Keep the Tail Wagging, not some interrupting cow. Until then, I'm trying to learn everything I possibly can about canine nutrition and commercial foods so that my dogs will have the best that I can provide. -- K

P.S. A parting jab to our troll friend. Love the old man at the end. "Are you crazy? What are you, High?" Mean? Probably. But still nicer than "tiresome twat."