Sadly, 21 pet dogs have died in Victoria in the past couple of months, with investigations focusing on meat processed by a Gippsland knackery. Toxicology reports indicate horse and camel meat from the Northern Territory contained indospicine, a plant toxin that has a traumatic effect on the livers of dogs.
This has resulted in fresh calls for stricter controls of pet food supply and manufacturing in Australia.
Chris Essex, who founded Big Dog Pet Foods 23 years ago and employs more than 60 staff, says the self-regulated system is a "free-for-all" with no monitoring or enforced compliance. Mr Essex wants pet food regulated to make companies list product contents on labels and explain where their meat-based ingredients are sourced.
"Sourcing ingredients exclusively through for-human-consumption facilities (abattoirs), means that the safety you would expect from raw meat you buy at your local supermarket or butcher is what you can expect from the meat used to make our pet food," he said.
"We have 100 per cent confidence in our suppliers, we have full traceability and the processes in place should we ever need to do a recall."
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