David Primrose, founder of Synergy Food Ingredients, will present his paper on the difference between animal feed and pet food at PETSConnect Asia this year.
I am going to start with the assumption that if you are reading this then you are human. By implication therefore, even if you don’t consciously think about it, you are familiar with the principles of animal nutrition.
All living organisms, including plants, microorganisms and animals, require nutrients to enable them to maintain life, to grow, to stay healthy and to reproduce. Nutrition is essential therefore for life. However, the way in which different living organisms obtain the nutrients required and the specific requirements for each are different.
Food for thought
This short article is a preview for a paper to be presented at ‘PETSConnect Asia 2017’. The full paper to be presented in Bangkok will explore the question “Pet food, it’s only animal feed isn’t it?” and will focus on comparing and contrasting differences between livestock feeding, i.e. animals kept for the production of food, and companion animals, i.e. pet dogs and cats kept for the companionship they provide or dogs who fulfil a role as working dogs.
Whilst livestock animal feeding dates back to the early days of human civilisation, the first commercial production of animal feed did not take place until the late 19th century. It is also interesting to note that the first commercial pet food production is recorded as taking place in the 1860’s with the production of ‘Spratts Dog Cakes’. On this basis, commercial pet food manufacture would seem to pre-date animal feed production! So what are the similarities and the differences?
The right balance
There is the well-known saying ‘we are what we eat’. And this is true whether we are human or thinking about livestock or companion animals. In general terms, we all require food that is safe to eat and provides a nutritionally balanced diet. Failure to do so will result in nutrient imbalance leading to problems with growth, health and wellbeing and the ability to successfully reproduce. Livestock will not achieve ‘optimal’ (economic) growth, reproduction might not be successful, humans and pets might become obese and if unsafe food is eaten the animal might become ill through food borne disease.
A modern view
It is clear from this that there are many similarities between animal feed and pet food. However, the picture on pet food becomes more complicated when we look at the requirements demanded by pet owners in the 21st century. The topics that impact on the requirements for pet food and pet food market growth in the 21st century will be explored in more detail at ‘PETSConnect Asia 2017’.
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