Dorothy Hunter, co-owner of Paw's Natural Pet Emporium in Washington State, has been eating only pet food products since June 19 in order to prove that the food she stocks in her stores is as healthy and delicious as human food, the Tri-City Herald reported.
“You would be surprised how tasty dog and cat food can be when it’s made right,” she told the newspaper. “You really are what you eat and it’s the same for your pets.” Hunter plans to persist with her unusual menu for a full month, eating from her stock only, which excludes food with corn, wheat, soy, all byproducts, fillers, corn gluten, BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, or propylene glycol. “There are no fillers, or animal (byproducts) or preservatives,” Hunter told the Herald. “We also do our best to make sure we do not carry any edible foods from China or products whose ingredients come from China.”
She selects her products, including dry kibble, canned food, and treats, for nutritional value above all else as this is what she feeds her own dogs — a standard and two teacup Shih Tzus. For herself, favorite treats include dehydrated green beans, while the yummiest selection among her canned cat foods is Tiki brand succulent chicken. "In the dry kibble, I really like the Italian brand and the Natural Balance," Hunter told the Herald.
Comments on Hunter’s publicity stunt inevitably include those who compare her actions to the money-saving measures of the very poor. “As a senior citizen, on social security, I visualize that menu as part of my future,” wrote Carbar4647 in a Fox News comment section. According to the most recent figures from the Department of Agriculture (USDA), 14.5 percent (17.6 million) U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2012. Of these, 5.7 percent (seven million) had very low food security. As defined by the USDA, very low food security occurs when normal eating patterns of one or more members is disrupted and food intake is reduced at times due to insufficient money or other resources for food.
While hunger is an issue for a substantial number of Americans, hunger and obesity often co-exist within the same communities, families, and most shockingly of all, individuals. The non-profit Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) reports that women who were food insecure were more likely to be overweight than women who were food secure. FRAC also notes that childhood insecurity is “associated with [being] overweight even after controlling for age, race, gender, and family poverty index.” This data suggests that hunger may not exist entirely due to a lack of money but may also be based on poor food choices.
Hunter has a mission that goes beyond publicity and she will not be deterred by haters. "I know people think this is crazy, but I can't stress enough how important it is to read labels and see what's in the food you eat — whether it's pet food or human food,” she told the Herald. “If this month of eating pet food enlightens people to the importance of that, then I'll be happy."