Medicine, Money and the Media

I have come to realise that these three things are intimately connected and it is a terrible shame that we have allowed this to happen.

Once upon a time education and medicine were public services to which all people in Australia had a right of access and could trust to act in their best interests.

It alarms me to discover that a majority of funding to the media, which can by no means be termed free media, comes from large pharmaceutical companies and that these same companies sponsor chairs of medicine at many leading medical and veterinary schools across the world. Melbourne Veterinary School also has a chair of internal medicine sponsored by Hills, a leading pet food manufacturer.

Conflicts of interest must be declared in all scientific publications and applications for professional appointments and yet it seems that this is not the case when we see media reports such as the one appearing this week in the Melbourne Herald/Sun concerning the link to feeding raw chicken and the onset of neurological disease, Acute Polyradiculoneuritis(APN) in dogs.

This particular post has been prompted by this report

 

Join the dots and decide for yourselves what motives are likely to be influencing the decision to publish media reports like this.

 

There is a vicious cycle being driven by profit to ensure that no factors other than the unprofitable and increasingly popular options are targeted for blame for an alarming rise in inexplicable diseases. Moreover, our National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia, a body that ought to be acting in the best interests of science and health, has decided to not provide funding into natural medicine with no satisfactory explanation regarding the reason for this decision.

 

There is no big money to made in promoting real foods and natural medicines.

 

The benefit to the health of people and animals is not considered a good enough reason to explore these options. Practitioners who advocate for sensible health programs and raw food diets for pets are increasingly subjected to ridicule and derision.

The above report is the most recent of many such attempts to frighten pet owners about common sense feeding and vilify natural health options that are out of the control of commercial interests. Good food cannot be owned by patents and should only be profitable to the primary producers and butchers as individuals supplying a quality service.

 

I wonder whether the veterinarians and researchers themselves are even aware of the corporate agenda behind their work as they genuinely strive to find answers to baffling diseases. Diseases that have coincidentally arisen in direct proportion to the dramatic rise in use of unnecessary pharmaceuticals and antiparasiticides in animals over the past twenty years. Unlike chicken meat as food, these chemicals do have the capacity to produce a large range of immune mediated and neurological diseases

 

Dogs have been eating chickens for centuries and yet APN is a recent phenomenon.

As a scientist myself I find it difficult to accept the postulates in this paper regarding the onset of autoimmunity in APN being triggered in the manner described. I am waiting to examine the trial data from the above report to see whether the control group of dogs was also fed raw chicken since it is quite common and harmless to have elevated levels of bacteria in raw fed dogs.

It is much more likely that animals afflicted with this condition, are resulting from epigenetic factors yet to be identified.

The upside of media reports of this kind is that it raises the issue for discussion and gives us all the opportunity to have conversations about what might really be going on.

I am grateful for such opportunities as they provide a legitimate platform for presenting this information and for giving pet owners reassurance to feed their pets real foods and to encourage them, with sound scientific evidence, to stop using unnecessary chemicals.

 

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