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An Update on The Burns By Your Side Raw Feeding Policy

Published: Wednesday, August 2, 2017

We have recently received criticism from the raw feeding community regarding our decision to eliminate raw feeding from The Burns By Your Side scheme. We invite those concerned to read our account of the scheme’s aims, and the reasoning behind the decision.

Burns By Your Side

In 2015, we launched the Burns By Your Side reading-to-dogs scheme with a simple aim: to improve child literacy levels and instil confidence in schoolchildren with the help of trained volunteers and reading dogs.

Research has shown that reading to a dog as a companion can reduce stress levels, increase relaxation and provide a comfortable situation where there is no peer pressure. This creates an environment where a child feels empowered and motivated.

Two years on, the award-winning scheme is active in 30 schools, colleges and libraries across West Wales. We delivered over 760 reading sessions in the first half of 2017 alone and are currently preparing for the new school term when we will also be active in Ceredigion, South Wales and Ireland.

We're also thrilled to announce that over the past year, researchers at The University of Wales Trinity Saint David have conducted a study into the impact of bringing dogs into classrooms. Schools and children involved have reported favourably and teachers have noted that pupils respond positively to the presence of dogs, look forward to sessions and are motivated and enthusiastic about taking part.

Eliminating Raw Feeding as a Safeguarding Measure

We feel that we have a duty of care towards children involved in the scheme and that their safety is paramount. A great deal of training is undertaken to eliminate risks, and we cannot ignore any evidence that suggests feeding dogs raw meat comes with health risks.

The decision to eliminate raw feeding within the Burns By Your Side scheme is a safeguarding measure only. Whether the evidence is true or not, we are not prepared to take the risk, especially when children are involved. 

We are not condemning feeding choices per se, neither are we insisting that everyone feeds our products. What pet owners choose to feed their dog is entirely up to them and we respect that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Burns Pet Nutrition is not a large corporation and never has been. We are an independent, family run business led by Veterinary Surgeon, John Burns. The BBYS scheme is part of our company charity - The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation - which aims to make a difference to the lives of people and pets throughout the UK.

We're extremely proud of what our volunteers and reading dogs have achieved so far and can't wait to see what the future holds. Visit www.burnsbyyourside.org for further information.

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