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"The Thinking Person's Pet Food"™ – Since 1979

Are By-Products Bad?

From a nutritional as well as ethical standpoint, the benefits of incorporating by-products into pet foods cannot be denied. 

The Whole Dog Journal advises pet owners to reject any by-products and instead seek "whole meats." This demonstrates their lack of understanding of the nutritional merits of the various parts of food animals. Whole Dog and others in the pet food marketplace pushing the "no by-products" claim seem unaware of the fact that "by-product" is a mere word invention. It creates a negative connotation, but has nothing to do with health or nutrition. Pet health and nutrition are not about superficial impressions created by word labels. Feeding just muscle meats to pets is a serious error since no carnivore in the wild eats such a diet. If they did, they would become diseased from doing so. (Wysong Call of the Wild™ is a supplement designed to balance a fresh meat diet, and provide those vital food elements lacking in a strictly fresh meat diet.) In fact, carnivores often prefer the non-muscle meat parts of their prey that are labeled "by-products."  Critics of by-products evidently feel food animals have no inherent merit and that they should be raised, slaughtered, and then everything but their "prime meat" should go to a landfill.

In a similar vein, there are claims about "USDA approved" ingredients, "human grade" ingredients, and ingredients purchased "right out of the meat counter at the grocery store." Again, at first glance - and superficiality is what marketers often like to deal with - it may seem that such foods would have merit over others. But such labels only create a perception of quality. People would not consider the food pets are designed for in the wild - whole, raw prey and carrion - "human grade" or "USDA approved."  Just because something is not "human grade" does not mean it is not healthy or nutritious. For example, chicken viscera is not "human grade," but carries more nutritional value than a clean white chicken breast. Americans think that chicken feet would not be fit for human consumption, but many far eastern countries relish them. On the other hand, "human grade" beef steaks fed to pets could cause serious nutritional imbalances and disease if fed exclusively. Pet foods that create the superficial perception of quality (no by-products, USDA, human grade, etc.) with the intent of getting pet owners to feed a particular food exclusively is not what pet health is about. 

There are also the larger concerns of the Earth’s dwindling food resources and swelling population.  Should "human grade" food products be, so to speak, taken out of the mouths of people and fed to pets with all of the excellent nutritional non-"human grade" ingredients put in the garbage?

Think about the humane aspect of converting all pet food to "human grade." Millions of tons of pet foods are produced each year. Should cows, pigs, sheep, fish, chickens and other sentient creatures be raised and slaughtered for these foods? Or should the perfectly good and nutritious by-products from human meat processing be used rather than wasted? Why would caring and sensitive pet owners want other creatures - that are themselves capable of being pets - needlessly raised in factory farm confinement and slaughtered when alternative sources of excellent nutrition from animals that have already been slaughtered are available?

"By-products" are not used in Wysong products as a cheap protein source, a "filler," to minimize production costs, or to maximize profit.  Rather, Wysong looks to nature to dictate what should be fed to pet companions to achieve their optimal health.  This is why the very nutritionally beneficial trimmings, organs, and viscera are incorporated into Wysong cat foods and dog foods in addition to human grade fresh meats.