In part one of this series I introduced you to a man you constantly hear about when the discussion is about raw food. Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., MD was an original thinker and keen observer whose imagination, integrity and common sense gave him the courage to question official dogma. Dedicated to the cause of preventing chronic illness, he made significant contributions to the understanding of the role of nutrition in maintaining good health.
In his classical experiments in cat feeding, more than 900 cats were studied over 10 years. Dr. Pottenger found that only diets containing raw milk and raw meat produced optimal health: Good bone structure and density, wide palates with plenty of space for teeth, shiny fur, no parasites or disease, reproductive ease and gentleness.
Today I want to take a closer look at his summarized findings in his cat study. Ron Schmid, ND, writes in “Francis M. Pottenger, MD and "The Hazards of a Health Fetish":
"In the first series of experiments, one group of cats was fed a diet of two-thirds raw meat, one-third raw milk, and cod-liver oil. The second group was fed a diet of two-thirds cooked meat, one-third raw milk, and cod-liver oil. Within the ten-year period, approximately nine hundred cats were studied. The amount of data accumulated is large. “
The cats receiving raw meat and raw milk reproduced in homogeneity from one generation to the next. Abortion was uncommon and the mother cats nursed their young in a normal manner. The cats had good resistance to vermin, infections, and parasites. They behaved in a predictable manner. Their organic development was complete and functioned normally.
Schmid goes on: "Cats receiving the cooked-meat scraps reproduced a heterogeneous strain of kittens, each kitten of the litter being different in skeletal pattern. Abortion in these cats was common, running about 25 per cent in the first generation to about 70 per cent in the second generation. Deliveries were in general difficult, many cats dying in labor. Mortality rates of the kittens were high, frequently due to the failure of the mother to lactate. The kittens were often too frail to nurse."
Based on this quote, one might reasonably conclude that the problems observed were due to differences in the nutrition provided by raw versus cooked meats. We see here how a true statement in the "Health Fetish" article ("Pottenger observed many diseases in cats fed raw milk and cooked meat") may be placed in a context designed to lead the reader into making false conclusions.
The next half-truth is even more subtle: "Smaller experiments in the same article showed that a diet of one-third raw meat and two-thirds milk (pasteurized or not) did not provide adequate nutrition for the cats." Further examination of Pottenger's article is required to understand the deception involved.
Again quoting Pottenger: "We did three other series of feeding experiments. In these series we used the following kinds of milk: raw milk, raw metabolized vitamin D milk, pasteurized milk, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Roughly, our results corresponded with those of the previous experiments; animals on raw milk and raw meat reproduced a homogenous strain, the usual causes of natural death being old age or injuries from fighting.
"The male cats fed on [raw] metabolized vitamin D milk (from cattle fed irradiated yeast) and raw meat showed osseous disturbances very like those on pasteurized milk. . . . Young males did not live beyond the second month, and adult males died within ten months. . . . The cats fed pasteurized milk as their principal item of diet, and raw meat as a partial diet, showed lessened reproductive efficiency in the females, and some skeletal changes, while the kittens presented deficiencies in development. . . . Later, we made a comparative study of several types of milk on white rats, the general results of which coincided with those found in the cats."
A lot of detail is being presented here. What I am going to take home as being the important “bottom line” is that Pottenger’s comprehensive 10-year investigative study on and with about 900 plus cats was quite comprehensive and due to the large amount of data collected definitely can be considered as being a representative foundation. His experiments dealt with the outcome of various types of feeding, specifically raw or processed food. The end results of his study are definitely pro raw feeding. While cats receiving raw meat and raw milk had basically no reproduction difficulties, had good resistance to vermin, infections, and parasites, behaved in a predictable manner and their organic development was complete and functioned normally, the other group being fed processed food showed quite the opposite: Cats reproduced a heterogeneous strain of kittens, each kitten of the litter being different in skeletal pattern. Abortion in these cats was common, running about 25 per cent in the first generation to about 70 per cent in the second generation. Deliveries were in general difficult, many cats dying in labor. Mortality rates of the kittens were high, frequently due to the failure of the mother to lactate. The kittens were often too frail to nurse."
Maybe now I can say “See, I told you so”. Maybe this time you are going to believe me since Dr. Pottenger is definitely an authority on the subject matter. Stay tuned whan in the concluding part 3 we look at some of the doctor’s word games to learn if we can silence the last doubts about his findings.
Contribution in part by Ron Schmid, ND: “Francis M. Pottenger, MD and "The Hazards of a Health Fetish"” (www.price-pottenger.org Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation Source: Reprint by Animal Food Services, Inc. (AFS))
Image/Photo: Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation
1. Hotchkiss, Thomas. A Personal Memoir of Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., M.D. The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 1975.
2. The Oxford Encyclopedic Dictionary, Oxford, 1991.
3. Potter, M., Kaufmann, A., Blake, P., and Feldman, R. "Unpasteurized Milk - The Hazards of a Health Fetish." The Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 252, No. 15, 2048-2052, October 19, 1984. 4. Pottenger, F.M., Jr. "The Effect of Heat-Processed and Metabolized Vitamin D Milk on the Dentofacial Structures of Experimental Animals." American Journal of Orthodontics and Oral Surgery, Vol. 32, No. 8, 467-485, August, 1946.