For those of you resident in Australia, you will probably remember that late in 2008 there was a pet food recall of a boutique brand of kibble manufactured in Canada that had been gamma irradiated on entry to Australia to satisfy our strict quarantine requirements.
There was a thread on this board about it.
As a result of eating this food, around 90 cats developed ataxia and some progressed to full paralysis, my own cat included. Thankfully my cat is better but her hind legs are still unable to function and she cannot walk yet. She is also incontinent of urine. Many of the younger affected cats have recovered either fully or to a great degree, the older ones are taking longer. My girl is 10.
There are documented studies that show that cats fed irradiated diet develop ataxia and paralysis.
I made a submission in January this year to the Australian Government to the Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry for a full review of the safety of gamma irradiation as a quarantine measure for human and animal foods and requested that the labelling laws also be amended.
Following this, and lobbying by interest groups, other affected owners, and representations from the veterinary neurologist attending the cats and documenting the syndrome, Australian Quarantine issued a Notice to Industry in March which contains a carefully worded caution to pet food importers. It still leaves the decision to the importer whether to irradiate. Australian Quarantine have not at this stage discontinued offering irradiation as a treatment option, but we know they are reconsidering it. However the wheels of government turn very slowly.
My contention is that gamma irradiation of foodstuffs is a dangerous procedure and that our cats could just be "the canaries in the coal mine"
The requests I made in my letter to the Minister were not fully addressed and I am now seeking public support.
If you would like to sign a letter of support and send to the Minister, please follow the link below, download print and sign the letter and send to:
The Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry
POB 6022, House of Representatives
Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600
Here is the link to the letter:
P.S. It would be very nice if you could PM me and let me know, if you do choose to send a letter of support, so I can "keep count". No need to disclose your real name. Thanks.