(Spanish translation available here)
How the system currently works:
Did you know that the wealthy veterinary pharmaceutical industry has revolving-door access to legislators worldwide? Are you aware that government legislators frequently rule in favour of big business - with committee members receiving research and consultancy money from the very industry they are allegedly protecting our animals from? This is why there are harmful products on the market for our pets.
Did you know that veterinary teaching establishments, wealthy animal charities, professional veterinary bodies, government advisors, and research organisations all take financial incentives from big business?
Do you appreciate that this leaves our pets largely unprotected from multi-nationals that wish to make money out of us, irrespective of the harm being done to the animals? No-one is truly being kept in check.
Since it is known that there is no justification for vaccinating annually, the British Veterinary Medicines Directorate (which licenses veterinary drugs) was asked by the UK based Canine Health Concern to withdraw one-year vaccines against the core canine diseases. This government licensing department consistently refused to do this. Its then chief executive – Steve Dean – insisted that dogs should be vaccinated at least every three years, which is in itself contrary to World Small Animal Veterinary Association guidelines.
But once Steve Dean retired, he wrote publicly in Dog World:
“Whatever you choose for your dog, the minimum immunisation in the form of a course of puppy vaccines, offers protection that could prove life-long.”
What this indicates is that someone is pulling the strings behind the government’s official face. Someone, or some powerful lobby, is trying to protect vaccine industry income. Despite writing to our political representatives, no-one is prepared to legislate to prevent over-vaccination.
To view the full correspondence between Canine Health Concern and the UK Veterinary medicines Directorate click here.
Veterinarians leave college largely unaware of the scientific studies relating to vaccine adverse effects – because the colleges rely upon vaccine industry funding. They continue to vaccinate annually because this is something the profession has ‘always done’. Neither are vets educated impartially with regard to diet. Most veterinary colleges allow commercial pet food companies to ‘teach’ this vital subject to trainee vets. And due to the financial power of the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, student vets are discouraged from investigating complementary therapies that might improve health without the side-effects of drugs.
Sponsorship – a real problem
It must be noted that whilst veterinary bodies such as the World Small Animal Veterinary Association say we should vaccinate against the core diseases ‘no more than every three years’, the experts (including Dr Schultz and Dr W Jean Dodds) make it clear that it is not necessary to vaccinate three-yearly. They tell us that once immune to viral disease, dogs and cats remain immune for years or life.
Why would veterinary bodies give us this three-yearly revaccination guidance, rather than state the plain fact that core vaccines provide lifelong protection? Apart from the fact that booster income represents a major part of the profitability of veterinary practices, could it be because the professional bodies receive funds from the veterinary vaccine industry?
The AAHA is sponsored by four vaccine manufacturers: Merck, Merial, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim. The WSAVA Vaccine Guidelines Group is sponsored by Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health. Scratch beneath the surface of any veterinary body, and industry sponsorship is there. Sponsorship is a real and serious problem afflicting the pet world. Apart from the teaching establishments – which rely upon industry money for research, bursaries, academic salaries, new buildings, and so on – vets in practice receive their mandatory further education via industry dinners, seminars, and overseas trips.
Animal charities are also grateful to receive free food for their kennels and the odd few thousand pounds to help them achieve their aims.
The problem is that all of these organisations must avoid saying anything that will cause their sponsors to withhold funding.
So – according to the experts – most puppies will be protected against distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus for life from their puppy shots.
. In the UK – and you can bet there’s a similar story in every ‘civilised’ country – vets are forced by law to prescribe expensive drugs rather than cheaper generic (copycat) drugs. Who benefits from this? Think about it: vets actively want to keep costs down for their clients, and to prescribe cheaper but equally effective drugs – but the government won’t let them. Why?
. It took the united action of pet owners in America to have the FDA demand that the makers of NSAIDs (like Rimadyl and Metacam) make datasheets available to pet owners warning that these drugs have death as one of their side-effects. Outside of America, where the FDA has no jurisdiction, pet owners remain in the dark.
. In the UK, when Carbaryl was withdrawn from use in children’s head lice shampoo, the VMD gave manufacturers 18 months to use up their stocks. Carbaryl is a carcinogen, and research shows that it was more carcinogenic to dogs than any other species. Who benefited from this 18-month concession?
. In every country where pet vaccines are used, annual vaccination is still legal, despite being scientifically unjustified. Vets are allowed to advise clients to pay for this unnecessary and potentially harmful medical procedure, and they’re encouraged to do so by at least one leading vaccine manufacturer. The science supporting lifelong protection from puppy and kitten shots has, incidentally, been known since the 1970s.
. When ProHeart6 was shown to provoke an unacceptably high number of damaging adverse reactions in dogs, an official at the FDA advised that this product be withdrawn from the market. The official was then subjected to ‘investigation’ by ProHeart’s manufacturer, and was dismissed from her job at the FDA. ProHeart6 is now back on the market.
. On the subject of pet food, the British Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association stated in its brochures and on its website that pet food is the waste product of the human food and agricultural industry. In one brochure it boasted that, without pet food, there would be more landfill sites! Pet food manufacturers claim that their food is complete and balanced, and sourced from animals deemed fit for human consumption – but as the North American pet food recall showed, this isn’t strictly the whole truth. The legislation for additives in pet food is extremely lax. In the UK a few years ago, people went to prison for putting rancid chicken, destined for pet food, back into the human food chain. There is very little legislation to protect our pets from inferior ‘food’. As a consequence, many of the illnesses experienced by our pets are diseases of malnutrition.
. We pet owners have been largely unaware of what is going on behind the scenes. We have trusted that everyone has the best interests of our pets at heart. But this is a multi-billion international industry. There are huge profits at stake. It is time to join together and demand a better deal for our pets – because no-one else is.
Join the Pet Welfare Alliance, and work with us to update the veterinary profession on duration of immunity and vaccine risks.