LA Looks at Vegan Diet For All Shelter Dogs, Despite Veterinary Recomm

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
As more people consider pets their ‘family,’ they are feeding them like humans. In Los Angeles, a new proposal has been introduced, and if passed, will make LA shelter dogs vegan.

Los Angles City Commissioner Roger Wolfson has introduced a proposal that would mandate all LA animal shelters feed dogs a vegan diet, replacing traditional kibble-diets with plant-based vegan ones. He is supported by many vegan activists and environmentalists. Some are well-known names, like musician and animal advocate Moby and well-known feminism rights lawyer Lisa Bloom.

Related: Why is Protein Essential in a Dog’s Diet?

Approximately 33,000 dogs enter the system each year, and Moby testified at a board meeting saying that adopting this proposal shows that LA is ahead of the curve when it comes to rights and care.

If passed, the shelter system would be the first in the nation that would feed its dogs a vegan diet, and the chief veterinarian of the LA shelter system, Jeremy Prupas, strongly opposes the push. He says that often dogs at shelters are injured and malnourished, or they have special dietary needs that a plant-based diet simply would not support. Additionally, he says that pregnant or lactating dogs would suffer on a vegan diet.

And, astonishingly, changing to a vegan diet would mean that shelters would have to pay about $3.87/pound of vegan food as opposed to $.87/pound for meat-based kibble, and that could wipe out shelter funds that are already spread thin.

Still, supporters say that those are small prices to pay compared to what the meat industry does to the environment, saying that as many as 64 million tons of greenhouse gases are created each year as a result. That’s about like adding over 12 million cars and their pollution to the world, and Commissioner Wolfson says that raising and killing animals for food should only be done as a last resort. He believes it’s vital to the survival of every human.

Related: Study: A Dog’s Diet is Important To His Gut in More Ways Than One

And while there are no long-term studies about veganism and its effects in dogs, Dr. Lisa M. Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist and professor at Tufts University said that a balanced diet for dogs should include meet, or at least a high-quality-fish-based diet as an option over meat-based diets.

Denying dogs meat is also thought to be denying them the opportunity to protect themselves from diseases like cardiomyopathy or fatty liver disease, as they can’t make some of the necessary nutrients their bodies need like humans can.

The vote is expected Tuesday.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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