What Pet Owners Need to Know About GMOs

What Pet Owners Need to Know About GMOs

There has been a lot of buzz lately about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Companies are starting to label their products GMO-free, websites are being created to tell you where you can get GMO-free items, and big companies are opposing the labeling of products made with GMOs. It can be tricky to weed through all the corporate jargon and to know who to believe. So, we’ve decided to do the research for you. Here’s what you need to know about GMOs, their effect on nature, and how you can avoid them:

There has been a lot of buzz lately about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Companies are starting to label their products GMO-free, websites are being created to tell you where you can get GMO-free items, and big companies are opposing the labeling of products made with GMOs. It can be tricky to weed through all the corporate jargon and to know who to believe. So, we’ve decided to do the research for you. Here’s what you need to know about GMOs, their effect on nature, and how you can avoid them:

What Are GMOs?

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEOs) are defined as any organism whose genetic material has been altered or whose DNA has undergone gene insertion.

Should We Worry About GMOs?

The simple answer is “Yes.” Here’s why:

GMOs are destroying nature by:

  • Killing off honeybees, which are responsible for every fourth bite of our food.
  • Depleting the nutrition found in the soil.
  • Decreasing nutrition found in foods.
  • Destroying the farming ancestry.

GMOs are hurting human and animal health by:

  • Causing gut dysbiosis.
  • Increasing likelihood of cancer.
  • Creating antibiotic-resistant micro-organisms.
  • Increasing allergies.
  • Disrupting and mutating DNA.
  • Negatively affecting embryo development.
  • Causing stomach lesions.
  • Slowing growth

How do GMOs effect nature?

There are many more adverse effects of GMOs on nature in addition to those on human and animal life. So why would companies choose to use GMOs? The answer is simple: cost. Crops that have been genetically modified are much cheaper than their conventionally- or organically-grown counterparts.

Which crops are at a higher risk of being genetically modified?

In the United States, these are the percentages of specific crops that are genetically modified (they are current for the year 2014):

  • Corn - 93%
  • Cottonseed - 96%
  • Canola - 90%
  • Soy - 94%
  • Sugar Beets - 95%

Which companies are the biggest users of GMOS?

Companies such as Mars (owners of Nutro, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Greenies, Whiskas, Iams, California Naturals, and other pet foods) and Nestle (owners of Purina, Beneful, Cat/Dog Chow, Fancy Feast, Friskies, and other pet foods) are among the eight biggest food companies in the world that are using GMO crops. In a statement from Purina Animal Nutrition they say:

“The goal of Purina Animal Nutrition, LLC is to supply its customers with the finest quality products available. At present, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture do not differentiate between GMO and non-GMO commodities and believe both are safe and pose no danger to human or animal health, therefore, Purina Animal Nutrition must purchase blended commodities for the majority of its products. The vast majority of the soybean and corn crops are GMO. In limited areas, we have a consistent supply of certified non-GMO ingredients that allows us to produce feeds for our organic brand.”

How to Avoid GMOs

If you want to avoid consuming GMOs yourself, you can purchase products that are locally grown from sustainable farms, grow your own crops, or purchase products that you know are GMO-free. For your pets, avoiding GMOs means avoiding foods that have corn and soy in them (since they are more likely to be genetically modified), purchasing pet foods that contain free-range and/or grass-fed meats (to ensure that the livestock has not been fed a diet of GMO feed), and supporting small companies that do not try to hide ingredients and are willing to answer consumer questions.

Here at The Pet Beastro we have several options for GMO-free pet food, like The Honest Kitchen. When I reached out to them to see why they chose to make their food without GMO ingredients, this was what they had to say:

“At The Honest Kitchen, we don’t allow GMO Ingredients in our foods. We require a Statement of Integrity from each and every one of our suppliers, renewed on an annual basis, to promise that the raw ingredients we purchase are free of GMOs. In addition, all grains, coconut, kelp and flax that we source are Certified Organic.

We’re currently undergoing product verification for our three base mixes as well as all our pure fish treats, with the Non-GMO Project. We expect to have this complete in the next few months and we’re very excited to be a pioneer for Non-GMO Verification, within our industry. As we continue to work with our meat suppliers, our hope is to obtain additional transparency and have increasing leverage over the feed that meat-producing animals receive, so that we can obtain official Non-GMO verification on our complete diets, too.

Genetic Modification is a technique that changes the DNA of cells – most often to make the crops resistant to herbicides (such as Roundup), or cause the plants to produce pesticides. Because there are no long-term studies of the effects of ingesting GMO foods, we believe that GMOs are not good enough for our pets (or their human owners) The Honest Kitchen does not support the use of GMO ingredients.”

How Can We Stop the Production of GMOs?

We have buying power. By not purchasing products that contain GMOs, we are taking a stand against their use and production. The more people avoid GMO products, the more likely companies are to stop using them. Make a change, take a stance, feed better, feel healthier, and live longer.

Resources:

http://www.isaaa.org/resources/videos/globalstatusreport2013/theamericas/default.asp

http://www.undergroundhealth.com/the-8-biggest-food-companies-in-the-world-who-use-gmo/

https://www.facebook.com/PurinaPoultry/posts/405275959538774

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