A new pet food company is making it easier for dog owners to make ethical and humane choices when it comes to feeding their four-legged friend.
The Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program, which gives consumers a way to choose sustainable seafood while limiting our impact on the world’s oceans, has just certified its very first pet food.
It’s an important milestone for the Ocean Wise program, which has added more than 600 restaurants, retailers and suppliers that offer sustainable seafood since launching 10 years ago.
Open Farm will use sustainable Ocean Wise-recommended fish in its “Catch-of-the-Day Whitefish and Green Lentil” recipe. The ocean-caught fish selection will rotate seasonally based on what’s available.
Each bag will be stamped with the local whitefish that’s used, like Pacific Cod, for example.
By sourcing seasonally, the company says it can guarantee the freshest fish while also maintaining its commitment to using sustainable sources.
“We can also give pet parents a high level of comfort in where their pet’s food comes from,” company founder Jacqueline Prehogan tells Vancity Buzz.
At a time where more Canadians are starting to demand more wholesome and ethically sourced food, the sustainable pet food marks a much bigger shift in consumer behaviour – and demands, says Ann-Marie Copping, program manager at Ocean Wise.
“Open Farm pet food has helped to send a message that eating sustainable goes beyond what we order in restaurants or buy at the fish counter. It’s a lifestyle choice. Consumer awareness has noticeably increased in recent years,” she told Vancity Buzz.
It isn’t limited to sustainable fish: Open Farm only uses humanely and sustainably farmed meats and local vegetables, and is the first and only dog food to receive the Humane Farm Animal Care Certified Humane® label. Their standards are extensive, and include how animals are handled, how much space they have and what they’re fed.
“We started this company because we could never understand loving our pets and feeding them factory farm meats that comes from animals that weren’t even treated with even a basic level of respect. We wanted to give people a humane option,” said Prehogan.
“Each purchase improves the lives of farm animals used in food production, rewarding family farmers who are doing things the right way, and incentivizing conventional farmers to adopt humane and sustainable practices,” said Prehogan.
Bowing to huge demand, the company is currently working on a dry cat food formula, and dog treats.
Open Farm’s philosophy is a breath of fresh air in an industry that has a less than pristine reputation. A recent Slate series exposed the darker side of the pet food industry, revealing that things like recalled meat, roadkill, dead zoo animals and even euthanized pets can end up being ground up and processed into pet food.
The food is available in pet specialty store in the Vancouver area as well as in Coquitlam, Kelowna, Port Moody, Langley, Burnaby, Penticton, Abbotsford and Richmond. You can find a complete list and store locator on its website.