- Alexey Ilyin
Rosselkhoznadzor has been gradually banning the import of foreign pet food, many of which have been very popular with Russians for almost a year. Cat and dog owners complain that their pets have been cut off from access to healthy and dietary food, sign protest petitions and rush to stock up on rare foods. Representatives of the zoo companies are also sounding the alarm. The Russian service of the BBC tried to resolve the situation.
“When the food is finished, I have no idea what to do, because my pet is a blind young cat that eats only the food advised by the vet,” complains Olga Inzhuvatkina from St. Petersburg.
For her cat, Olga bought 1st choice food from the Canadian company PLB International Inc. However, on 11 June, Rosselkhoznadzor announced that it had asked the UK and Canadian regulators to suspend supplies to Russia of all feed additives and veterinary imports without export veterinary certification, explaining that registered GMO Ingredients in the products of both companies.
Following the news, Olga decided to store food for future use.
The cat owner says that the vet does not like the idea of changing the cat’s food, since the Canadian version is now ideal for him.
Productive and non-productive animals
The ban on the import of pet food from the Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Canada and a number of other countries has been phased in by Rosselkhoznadzor since last summer. The section explains this step by the presence of unregistered GMO components in the feed.
In June last year, Acana and Orijen, popular in Russia and produced by the Canadian Champion Petfood factory, were banned. At the same time, the import of products of two Dutch companies – Vobra Special Petfoods and PC van Tuijl Kesteren, as well as the Dutch factory of the American company Hill’s – was banned. In November, the ban on admission to Atletic Dog and Necon by the Italian company Necon Pet Food was extended.
The situation quickly raised concerns among pet owners and businesses. In late May, the Association of Animal Enterprises (SPZ) appealed to the head of the Ministry of Economic Development, Maxim Resetnikov, to help lift restrictions on the import of imported feed. The companies addressed a similar request to the ombudsman in the field of small and medium enterprises Anastasia Tatulova.
As explained by Kirill Dmitriev, head of the business committee of the Opora Rossii Zoo, the reason for the ban was the discovery of unregistered GMO ingredients in a feed additive for productive animals (ie animals – cows, pigs, sheep, etc.) However, the Rosselkhoznadzor mechanism operates in such a way that if breaches are found in individual companies, then the supply of other manufacturers from this country is prohibited, including those producing exclusively pet food.
At the same time, Rosselkhoznadzor itself claims that the ban originally applied to feed products for both productive and non-productive animals.
“GMOs can be found in any feed that has a multi-ingredient composition that includes plant ingredients. If we are talking about pet food, then GMOs are found in products imported from both European countries and North America,” the service said in a statement. statement received. from Bi- BBC
The SPZ letter notes that about 85% of pet food is produced in Russia, but there is no local production of higher quality occupational food, dietary pet food with health characteristics and medicinal food, vital for many cats and dogs, in Russia. As a result, the organization warns, problems can arise for both pet owners and import companies and veterinary clinics.
“Unfortunately, the Russian feed market (which is growing very actively and already offers high quality products) does not yet meet all the needs of the market and does not have analogues in many European feed. “This can lead to shortages and, as a result, jump in prices, which are not already happy,” the report said.
At the time of writing, more than 47,000 people have signed it.
Rosselkhoznadzor told the BBC they had received complaints from the National Feed Association and the Feed Producers Association and intended to negotiate with the pet company.
According to the department, they are concerned not only about the ‘inaccurate certification of feed products containing GMOs, but also about significant shortcomings in the laboratory monitoring of feed, ensuring the traceability of raw materials of animal origin and non-compliance with temperature treatment regimes in production of such goods “.
Ekaterina Tarasenko from Yekaterinburg has been working in the zoo for a long time, she has a lot of dogs, cats, fish and rats. Now, he says, he has no problem buying food only for rats.
The main problem, as Ekaterina notes, is that the so-called “holistic” category of feed, for the production of which only natural ingredients are used without artificial food additives, has been banned. Also, these foods are not overloaded with grain ingredients, they do not contain wheat gluten, corn and soy, he notes.
“For whom is this important? First of all, it is important for allergic animals. Since the most common pet allergies are allergies to chicken protein (including fat and eggs) and allergies to cereal ingredients. Therefore “The absence of these specific feeds is crucial in the first place,” says Ekaterina.
They do not yet exist according to foreign “holistic” in Russia, he complains.
“Everything produced in our country contains the” remnants “of human industry (bones, scallops, nails, some kind of garnish, by-products). Says Catherine.
Tatyana Khrapkova from Tver also feeds her cat “holistically”. He says he has long noticed problems with the supply of these feeds in stores.
“You have to look in different places for what used to be in almost any big pet store and there is a sense that these stocks are just diverging,” he says.
Pet stores confirm that the availability of banned foreign foods is declining recently.
Valery Sirotin, CEO of the Petshop pet chain, told the BBC that due to the sharp drop in the supply of imported feed, the company should limit their sales.
“To stretch [запасы кормов] for several months, we have to conditionally sell one package per hand. “But it is still temporary: a few months will pass and stocks will be depleted.”
Sirotin also complains that in Russia there are no foreign “holistic” and other types of special foods, although steps have already been taken in this direction.
“We have just started to build factories to produce such economical feed. We have built such a factory ourselves. But to produce expensive feed there, it takes some time. From cheap food and then to more expensive food – all “It takes about four years. In addition, it costs a lot of money,” explains Sirotin.
However, some industry experts are more optimistic and do not see Rosselkhoznadzor’s bans as unresolved issues. Thus, according to Mikhail Shelyakov, a veterinarian of the highest category, the world feed market is well developed, so the gaps will be filled quickly.
“In fact, no major problems are expected. We only know the market giants, but many smaller manufacturers would like to enter the Russian market and gain ground there. Of course, people may be wary of switching from one brand to another. “There are almost always analogues. Russian feed is also getting better, although, of course, it is inferior to a variety of foreign companies,” says the vet.