Dog food proposed as a fix for hunger in Kenya
- Is someone trying to tell us that the Kenyan children are no better
than dogs? This article can be found at: http://www.stuff.co.nz
Dog food destined for starving children
30 January 2006
By JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
A Canterbury woman's plan to send powdered dog food to starving
Kenyan children has not been given the thumbs up by Oxfam New
A shipment of 6000 emergency packs of dog food mixture is bound for
Rusinga Island on Kenya's Lake Victoria as part of a relief effort
for the area's starving children.
Christine Drummond, founder of Mighty Mix dog food, said she was
working with a Kenyan aid agency to provide the raw ingredients for a
special nutritional food.
A shipment is due to leave Lyttelton in March.
But the scheme has failed to get the thumbs up from at least one
international aid agency.
Drummond said the relief food, called NZ's Raw Dry Nourish, used the
same ingredients as Mighty Mix dog food biscuits.
"The first plan was to send dog biscuits and change the vitamins then
when I heard there were so many little children I could not send them
a bicky," she said.
Instead she developed a powder that she says just needs water added
to form a sustainable meal.
The formula was packed with freeze-dried meats beef, mutton, pork
and chicken, deer velvet, green lip mussel, kelp, garlic, egg, whole
grain cereals and cold-pressed flax seed flour, she said.
"I made it out of ingredients they are used to eating, so the main
bulk product is corn."
Drummond said she was exporting the raw ingredients to Kenya where it
would be mixed by charity staff according to her recipe.
Drummond was devised the mixture after talking to North Canterbury
woman Lois McGirr whose daughter had recently returned from a poverty-
stricken village in Kenya. The pair had teamed up to get the food to
McGirr said she was distributing the food through the Mercy Mission
charity, based in Kenya, and was promoting the food as a "nutritional
supplement" rather than dog food.
"I do not think it's deceitful. I would be happy to tell them the
full story but as long as the doctors she (Drummond) has been working
with have been okaying it, I don't think it's an issue. It's not just
a dog food."
The Press tried to contact the Mercy Mission through a number on its
website, but calls were met by a recorded message.
Mighty Mix dog food agent Gaynor Siviter said that if the dog food
mixture helped the Kenyan children as it helped dogs, it would
"The dogs thrive on it. They have energy, put on weight. It's bizarre
but if it's edible and it works for these people then it's a
brilliant idea. It beats eating rice."
Oxfam New Zealand executive director Barry Coates said he had not
heard of the scheme but it was unlikely to achieve the desired
"I think it is much better to get food supplies from within Kenya
rather than sending it around the world.
"Sending food shipments from New Zealand to Kenya does not seem to be
the best use of time and effort and the fact it's coming from a dog
food manufacturer could make people suspicious."
Drought, crop failures and massive food shortages in parts of the
east African country have left millions of people without access to
adequate food supplies.
Oxfam International estimates the number of people at risk is between
2.5 million and 3.5 million.
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I remember when dog food was primarily made from ingredients unfit
for human consumption. Broken down ingredient by ingredient, many may
be inclined to consume most if not all of which comprises this
mixture. I actually eat garlic, flax and whole grains daily. In all
fairness, judging by the ingredients, lots of tender loving care
seems to have gone into making this product wholesome and healthy for
dogs. However, there seems to be something inherently wrong with
sending something marketed as dog food to the children of Kenya for
their personal consumption. I wonder if this woman sits down and
feasts on her product herself.
Famine in Kenya and other third world countries is a major issue, for
which there just isn't any quick fix. Perhaps this money would be
much better spent otherwise in famine-ravaged Kenya by using it to
target some of the contributing factors to food shortages. This idea
of feeding hungry children some type of "dog mixture" just seems to
test the notion of what many would deem ethical.