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John Burns’ Response to Stan Rawlinson Criticism

Published: Monday, February 22, 2016

In voicing his opinions or the opinions of others, Stan Rawlinson has written some negative comments about Burns foods and I would like to respond.

In the words of a (fairly) wise person “Everyone is entitled to their opinions but they are not entitled to their own facts.”  Putting the boot on the other foot, I wonder how Mr Rawlinson would take it if I criticised his dog training skills as a result of picking up a few bits and pieces on the internet.

 Last month I attended a lecture by Dr Sheryl Sanderson at the North American Veterinary Conference in Florida.  Unlike Mr Rawlinson, Dr Sanderson knows a thing or two about pet nutrition.  Professor Sanderson DVM PhD DACVIM DACVN spoke, amongst other things, about some of the myths surrounding maize as a pet food.  She explained that maize contained many useful nutrients, the details of which I will spare you for now.  Ground extruded maize is 97% digestible (meats are about 87% digestible).  So maize like other whole grains is most certainly not a “filler".

Allergens (substances likely to cause allergic reactions) are usually proteins and maize barely appears on the list of potential problem causes.  The most common culprits are beef, wheat and dairy.

 None of this was news to me.  I've known for over thirty years about the benefits of maize which is a whole grain just like brown rice.  I expect maize to give similar health benefits.

What is most important, and Mr Rawlinson doesn’t seem to have thought of this in his evaluation of Burns, or other foods for that matter, is the effect on the dog.  This is where Burns really shines. We have a marvellous reputation among pet owners, vets, stockists and yes, behaviourists, for the beneficial effects of our foods on health, both physical and mental.  Most of our new customers come via personal recommendation. And that’s very much down to the choice of ingredients and their proportions in the foods.  The Burns Choice Range which is based on maize may not be our biggest seller but that’s because customers tend towards the more established varieties.  (And perhaps also because of negative comments from people who don’t know any better!)

But no need to take my word for it.  Look on-line at the comments by pet owners who, unlike Mr Rawlinson actually use Burns.  Over 90% of users give Burns Choice a 5* rating, yes five stars.  One review site notes that of 17 Chicken Choice reviews, 16 gave 5 stars and one gave 4 stars.  Ok it's not 100% but this isn't North Korea.

 As to price, customers often remark that Burns is good value.  Whole grain maize is part of the human food chain so pet food manufacturers pay the same as for human food. The maize in Burns is not a by-product of another manufacturing process.

 On the subject of poo-eating, I recommend Burns as a remedy for poo eating.  If it happens on Burns this is usually due to feeding other foods with Burns or overfeeding Burns food.

 So much for Mr Rawlinson's opinions.  When it comes to the facts, on the subject of white rice, brown rice and Burns he strays close to the realm of corporate defamation. He says that Burns used to use brown rice but has been “moving towards” cheaper white rice.  Not so.  All Burns adult brown rice formulae use brown rice exclusively and that goes back to 1993 and the Burns Maintenance recipe which is unchanged but now called Original.  I'm not so daft that I would change such an excellent product.  We do use white rice in some of our higher-energy foods (puppy and Active) but there is virtually no difference in price of the two types of rice.

 If Mr Rawlinson fancies himself as a commentator on pet nutrition I suggest he sets aside a considerable chunk of his time for Continuing Professional Development before writing any more.

 If anyone would like more information or has any questions please look on this website or contact the Burns Health and Nutrition Team.

 

John Burns BVMS MRCVS

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