In the January 2011 issue of Horse&Rider, which goes on sale today, we have a feature on meat-free horse care on page 94. We have received a response from Teresa Hollands, from feed company Dodson&Horrell, which I have highlighted below. Let us know what you think about the feature, too. We’d love to hear from you.
Statement 1 (top of page 96)
Jane van Lennep says: Because horses are not generally part of the human food chain in this country, we do not have to adhere to such strict regulations concerning their feeding. However, if you don’t like the idea of your horse eating any animal products, then you will have to read between the lines.
Practically every compound feed has a vitamin and mineral premix added - you will see a list of them on the feed label. These will include vitamin A, which could be an animal product, as it is usually obtained from fish oils or liver, and vitamin D3, another animal product obtained from sheet fat.
Teresa answers: Did you know that horses are covered by the same legislation as cows, sheep, pigs and chickens as they are part of the human food chain in the EU? Feed legislation is drafted in Europe and covers the whole of the EU including the UK. In fact, labelling of animal feed is actually stricter than the labelling of human food! There are strict rules governing what is allowed to be included in animal feed, and fish is not allowed to be included in ruminant feed (and therefore by default it is banned in horse feed too).
Statement 2 (middle of page 96)
Jane van Lennep says: If you want a vegetarian or vegan diet for your horse, then look out for the vegetarian or vegan symbols on feed bags. Remember Vegetarian Society Approved will still contain ingredients from an animal origin.
Teresa answers: Horses are herbivores and therefore diets are formulated to be digested in a herbivore digestive system!
Statement 3 (bottom right page 96)
Jane van Lennep says: The small print on your feed bag usually gives it away - if it says that the product is not to be used for ruminants, then this is because we eat ruminants, and products from dead mammals must not enter the human food chain via another mammal.
Teresa answers: Horse feed will say ‘do not feed to sheep’ simply because it contains the necessary amounts of copper for horses which is too high for sheep. If sheep are fed horse feed over a period of time, the excess copper accumulates in their liver and kills them.
Statement 4 (bottom right page 97)
Jane van Lennep says: Labelling laws do not require dead animal sources to be divulged and for the most part we are in blissful ignorance of what we are giving our unsuspecting horses.
Teresa answers: Animal feed manufacturers have always had, by law, to list the ingredients in their feeds either by category or by individual ingredient. Horse feed manufacturers have always led the way by writing down exactly what is in every bag of feed that you buy. Check the list on the back. The ingredients are listed in descending order of inclusion.
New laws across the EU were also passed that came into action in September which also govern marketing and claims. Feed manufacturers cannot make a claim unless they have scientific proof that something works.
All the legislation in the EU is passed to protect the consumer, whether that is you or me or the horse!
You might have picked up on the fact that certain of the foods we eat are having to remove claims as they cannot substantiate them......
Here’s some interesting information from our winter newsletter
New packaging for Dodson & Horrell horse feed - Q&A’s
Within the last few months we have started to roll out new horse feed packaging to comply with new EC legislation. Below are a few Q’s & A’s to help explain the reasons for the change!
1. What has changed in the legislation?
After a period of many months reviewing the regulations governing the marketing of animal food, the European Parliament drew up a new legislation – EC Regulation 767/2009 – to ensure that the consumer has access to sufficient and useful product information at the point of purchase.
As a company we have long welcomed our customers having access to as much information as possible on our products and this continues to be the case. However the difference now is that the statutory statements and labels on our bags have changed to comply with the new legislation, meaning that you will encounter some new terminology as a result.
2. Is it just Dodson & Horrell making these changes?
No. The new legislation affects how all animal feed manufacturers producing compound feed for food producing animals label and market their products. As such other horse feed companies should also be starting to declare their products this way and if not, you should be asking why not.
3. So will the Chudleys packaging change too?
Yes. The legislation comes into effect for pet food in 2011 so our dog and pet food packaging will also change.
4. Does the new legislation just affect packaging?
No, the legislation affects all marketing material so we are updating our literature and website as well in line with the new legislation.
5. Have the products changed as a consequence?
We have taken the opportunity to make some enhancements to the formulation of selected products but otherwise what goes into the bag remains the same.
6. Why change the design of the bags?
With having to make the changes to the content of the back of our bags, the opportunity presented itself for us to review the front of pack design. You will notice some differences to the layout and the changes we have made are first and foremost to help our customers.
We have improved the visibility of the product name by moving it up the bag, we have sought to make the product strap lines more concise and we now list some of the main nutritional benefits in order to help customers choose the right product for their horse or pony.
We have also moved back to full colour print. As a company we are proud of our position of market leader and want our packaging to reflect this, but rest assured it is at our cost and not yours.
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