For a vegan nation to be completely successful creating low budget vegan pet foods for animals that usually eat meat will be essential. This blog is for dealing with the logistics of going about creating such foods. For more on the political side of this issue please click here.
The easiest (and arguably the best) way of going about this would be to first create a food for dogs. Dogs are known to be less particular about the food they eat and are natural scavengers. It is becoming increasingly more acknowledged that dogs are naturally omnivorous by mainstream society, and the two oldest dogs in the world are known to be vegan. Vegan dog food is already more successful and varied than vegan cat food and it is a success that can be built upon. There are many people out there who are convinced by vegan dog food but not vegan cat food. Breaking down the myth that dogs cannot be vegan will open up the opportunity to convince people of the validity of vegan cat food.
Economically a vegan dog food product would also be easier to achieve as it will not (necessarily) require costly supplements such as vegedog. For dogs vegedog would be an enhancer but is not essential the way vegecat (or equivalent) is for cats.
I personally think simplicity is the best approach. Please click here to see my blog on Okara Power Cake. OPC is a low budget, flexible, high protein food. Prepared correctly I believe it could be very suitable for dogs. A flavour combination that is popular with cats and dogs is inactive yeast flakes and soya sauce,sometimes with parsley.
A FOOD SUITABLE FOR DOGS AND HUMANS
Bizarre as it may seem, I believe this product could have great commercial and social potential. As vegan dog food does not have to be adulterated with nutrients that may not be beneficial to humans, it would be possible to make a food fit for both species. Eating different food from people or pets you co-exist with creates a sense of distance. As animals get second rate meat considered unfit for human consumption it automatically subordinates them and make them appear as inferior beings as they have "special" food made for them. By having humans and dogs eating the same food even if it is only one product, would elevate dogs to a more equal sense of being with humans.
The bizarreness of a food fit for dogs and humans is sure to raise eyebrows. People may even defer the common outrage made against vegan dog food due to the dual nature of the product. Giving us the chance to get in our pitch first without having to be defensive. All the same should it come down to the vegan issue (which it no doubt will) a good argument to use in our favour would be that of human starvation. Meat still causes human starvation regardless whether it's intended for pets or humans. When people argue against vegan dog food they usually just stick to the one issue of "how dare you corrupt a dog's natural diet". Well who are they to deny the natural diet of starving humans? Vegans are often viewed as being against humanity, and when they advocate vegan pet food they are also thought of as being against animals as well. With this philosophy and product we could turn that perception around on both accounts.
Sanctuaries would be an excellent area where we could help many animals at once. Sanctuaries run by vegans would I think welcome the opportunity to rid themselves of their paradox, and I believe sanctuaries runs by non-vegans may be convinced just on economic grounds. They could even perhaps sell the product on their premises. As a side note this video shows an example of how people could rid themselves of leather dog leashes in cheap environmentally way.
I'm not currently a pet owner and have never owned a dog, so a lot of what I'm writing is speculative. There will be a need for willing dog owners of our nation to experiment with recipes so we can get a realistic result. I've already researched packaging and am willing to take care miscellaneous issues but other people will be needed to obtain the ideal recipe. The main question is of course what kind of food. Kibble would be the most pragmatic for transport and storing but is not that easy to make or that tempting for humans. (I'm not dead set on the human/dog food aspect but I see no reason why it shouldn't or couldn't be done.)
I think chunks of Okara Power Cake about the same size of soya chunks would be quite accessible. Baking them would make them easier to deal with and would require little oil. Large use of oil would make them unhealthier but perhaps more accessible. Below the OPC was baked then cut into chunks then stir-fried with soya sauce and herbs. This ca n be done without baking first but I don't know if they would be as neat (not that they were here, they weren't cut very well) but I don't think that would matter much.
OPC is made from very cheap sources such as corn and soya. At retail I could buy 15 kilos of corn for £9.90 in the U.K. and 5 kilos of soya beans for the same price. As a nation we might want to start synchronizing to some extent on the kinds of foods we eat. Buying special food for your dog and then having them not like is a setback in both time and finance. But if you make a food both suited for humans and dogs you can eat it yourself if they do not like it. If we were to bulk buy as a nation then we would also of course save financially.
Mailorder can vastly accelerate costs and so it is worth considering alternative marketing areas. One area I like the idea of is Nightmarkets which I've written a bit about here. I've mentioned packaging and it is an area of concern on both financial and environmental grounds. Selling at nightmarkets could be accessible to dog owners if the food can last for a week or so and the nighmarket is a regular event. This way the food would only require the most basic of packaging. Heavier duty packaging would have to be considered for places for isolated places. People who live in isolated places are usually better off and often for them the product is more important than the price.
That said the potential packaging I have researched is not overly expensive but there's still the environmental aspect to consider.
This is a good video which gives a comprehensive account of how to make a vegan dog food. I think this one is a bit complicated for our goal but it's a very good demonstration all the same.
LIVE ENZYMES - A growing trend in dog food is to add mixtures which contain live enzymes. Both mainstream and vegan dog food is usually cooked and so does not have these. They could however make a significant boost to the dogs health and so something to consider.
FORAGE FOOD - The addition of food that we can obtain for free such as foraged food would help this project if they can be skillfully incorporated. If something with a fairly anonymous taste such as clovers could be put in after being cooked it provide live enzymes and vitamins. This would be difficult with packaged food that is being sent long distances but can be considered for food sold at nightmarkets. Even if it is cooked it would retain vitamins and would make the cost cheaper.
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