00:00:33 Glenn:       Welcome back to Natural Health for People and Pets. I'm your co-host, Glen Cooke, and introducing the host of the show we have Narelle Cooke.  

00:00:41 Narelle:       Hello everyone.  

00:00:42 Glenn:       Welcome back.  

00:00:42 Narelle:       Good to be back, always.  

00:00:44 Glenn:       It's episode six.  

00:00:45 Narelle:       I know we are getting there, aren't we?  

00:00:46 Glenn:       Yep, and we've got a live guest on the show today.  

00:00:49   Narelle: I know today is my first official interview. So today we have Brittany Young, she is The Pet Girl from Queensland, on the Gold Coast,  

00:00:58 Glenn:       The Pet Girl,  

00:00:59 Narelle:       Really excited to have Brittany with us today. Just a bit of a backstory before we get onto you, Brittany. When I did my episode 5, I was talking about complete and balanced. I mentioned briefly that generally pet food manufacturing and safety and recalls are poorly regulated and voluntary. A lot of people were quite interested in that aspect and touched base with me as did Brittany, and whilst I have a background in regulatory affairs, I must say, sitting down at night and reading codes of practice and Australian standards is not my go-to.  

00:01:36 Glenn:       Not your strong suit.  

00:01:37 Narelle:       No, but Brittany has a wealth of experience in that area and she's got her own amazing story and journey in the dog world. So welcome Brittany.  

00:01:47 Brittany:       Thank you so much Narelle for that incredible introduction. 00:02:02 Brittany:       And for having me on the show, and as your first guest that is a humongous honour, so thank you very much. I massively appreciate it.  

00:02:12 Narelle:       Pleasure. So as I mentioned, I love to hear people's stories because I think it's so fascinating the direction that people's lives take and things that you don't often expect. 

00:02:39 Narelle:       So if you wouldn't mind just sharing your journey Brittany, how you got into dogs, how you got into training, how you got into the police force, and more specifically for today's episode, how you got into manufacturing dog food yourself. 

00:02:55 Brittany:       My story's a little bit different. A lot of amazing dog people have these stories of them running through fields with dogs at the age of three years old, and it just wasn't the case for me. I studied film and television and drama at school, which probably lends itself to my live videos and craziness, but I went through and did a university Degree in Fine Arts and Drama and then I just couldn't find exactly what I was looking for and at that stage I was working with youth at risk, and working and doing community cultural development. I found myself falling into hospitality doing community stuff and I was like, this is not really reaching my goals. It's not really where I wanna go. So I applied for the police force and I got in, I passed all my exams, I did all my physicals with flying colors and I got through and I got into the police force into an intake of 80 males and 10 females.  

00:03:54 Brittany:       And I was one of I think six women to actually graduate from that specific intake, so that was very exciting. I did my first year and unfortunately at the time I had a couple of different scenarios play out that didn't really lend itself to being able to transfer to remote locations. My first posting would've been in rural Queensland, particularly in Mount Isa, and those kind of regions. When you're single and you're just free and flexible, it's great to go and travel to those places and boom your career, but for me love always perseveres and prevails. I was engaged and my husband to be and I had a house together on the Gold Coast and we had multiple businesses here on the Gold Coast.  

00:04:45 Brittany:       So unfortunately I had to turn in the police force. That wasn't such a bad thing because at the time we were starting to think about pet food. And I know that sounds like a really strange jump from being a police officer to being into pet food, but how it actually happened was that our dogs were always fed a raw diet. The man that I married ended up being a guy that lived next door to a cafe that I managed and he used to travel away for work and he had two little puppies. And believe it or not, as naughty as this is, I used to jump the fence on my lunch breaks and go and play with his puppies that were crying. So those two puppies, Yogi and Pepsi, and we still have them today, Yogi is eight and Pepsi is seven.  

00:05:34 Brittany:       That's how I met him, and we'd always been feeding a fresh food, raw food diet at that stage. I didn't really understand why you feed raw food, it didn't make sense. I'd had a dog back when I was 16 or 17, my first dog, and it was always fed, I would say premium kibble. And that dog was absolutely nuts. Anyway, people used to comment about our dogs and how well they were behaved and whatnot, and we'd always tell them, oh yeah, we feed them this raw food. Now it started happening that all our friends were super interested in what we were feeding and then my husband started calculating, if we can get this in bulk and we can get it for cheaper, then that might give us savings on our dog food and we could deliver it to all our friends.  

00:06:29 Brittany:   That's how it actually started. Then through inquiries we were making, we asked, could we actually do this as a business? So fast track, we sold our gyms, we basically quit everything in our lives and we dedicated ourselves to building a manufacturing business. So that is how our manufacturing journey started off. We were manufacturing raw dog food and delivering it. Our slogan was from our kitchen to your door. It was straight from the manufacturer's hands and into the hands of the consumer or the pet parents which was something that wasn't happening. There was always a middleman, like a retail middleman and we also decided that we wanted our model to be a subscription based service. Meaning that you just signed your dog up, you could modify the daily intake and then dog food would turn up at your house every week, fortnight, or every four weeks as you allocated. You would never run out of dog food so there would never be a pack left over. It would be pretty much to the 250 grams of the dog food that you needed. So that's how the manufacturing journey started.  

00:07:55 Narelle:       Maybe because of your background with the businesses that you did have and the cafe, your mind went beyond where the average person's mind would go in terms of, okay, we can do something with this. Why just accept paying the prices that we pay, let's bulk it up and let's spread the love.  

00:08:15 Brittany:       Yeah, I owe that to my husband Tyson. He is completely incredible when it comes to pulling businesses out of nowhere. I'm like the cheerleader, the excited, motivating cheerleader in the background. I like to make things happen and get people excited about stuff, but he's definitely the brains behind it and he came up with it and was the numbers person. That's how we just came out of nowhere, and we were looking for a change anyway, after leaving the police force and selling the gyms that we had. We were looking for a change in scenery and we wanted to do something together. We're excited about doing a business together, so that's where it took off.  

00:08:53 Narelle:       Yeah, I think that's great. You need those two different styles, I think, in a business. 'cause there's no point having a great business and dealing with all the numbers and the practicalities if you don't have someone cheerleading on the side to get the message out and the product sold. I think that's great. But tying that all back into what we spoke about on the last episode, you've gone into this business model for raw food feeding. What are the challenges? You know, I've said that it's quite poorly regulated, but if you can talk a little bit about what's actually involved in running your own raw food manufacturing business. 

00:09:27 Brittany:       This is a really huge topic and I think that a lot of people have the idea that it's as simple as making dog food and selling it. It sounds in your mind that it makes a lot of sense and it's a super easy business model and there's a market for raw food out there, but it's just not the case. What people don't realise is that you can't just make food in your kitchen and sell it to other people. There are so many different legalities and hoops that you have to jump through and that changes from state to state depending on where you are. So if I bring it back to where our manufacturing facility was, we had a commercial premises in New South Wales, just south of the border. Now at that stage, that premise was just perfect for us. It was great.  

00:10:14 Brittany:       And we didn't even think twice about whether it was going to be in New South Wales or Queensland. We lived south of the border of Queensland anyway, so it was just a 45 minute trip over the border. Now the legislation from New South Wales and Queensland is different. First and foremost, I should probably say that it took me about three months to really get my head around what actual legislation was required and what hoops I had to jump through. So from state to state, it varies. Each state has their own regulatory body. In Queensland it's Safe Food Queensland, for Victoria it's Prime Safe Victoria, for New South Wales it's the New South Wales Food Authority and it goes on and so forth. Now you have to apply for licensing in your individual state.  

00:11:07 Brittany:       And then there's other things that contribute to that. For example, in Queensland you apply for your safe foods manufacturing or meat processing license and you've gotta jump through the hoops that they ask you to jump through, pay your registration fee, which is a couple of thousand dollars, and then you're inspected by them. Then in New South Wales, which is what we applied for, we had to do the same thing, but what we found was we were super confused because when we started going through the licensing and whatnot, the New South Wales Food Authority were incredibly concerned about having raw offal in the product. Our product was a BARF model formula which contained liver and another secreting organ. Now they were super, super strict on us. We were working with biosecurity New South Wales and we were working with our relevant food authority as well.  

00:12:10 Brittany:       And we had to do such a range of checks. One of the things that you have to do when you are applying for a meat processing license, is you have to do what's called a food safety program. Our food safety program was over a hundred pages, I've got it sitting in front of me right now and I did that all myself. People think it's just a matter of, oh yeah, you just pay for a license and that's the end of it. No, it's not like that at all. You have to detail your HACCP. So, hazard analysis critical control point manual. And you need to break down all the different procedures and protocols you have in place for making sure that the meat that you are putting out there is safe and not contaminated, and you need to make sure all your product's not contaminated.  

00:12:57 Brittany:       On top of that, you have a detailed product description and every single ingredient has to be detailed in your product. You have to have flow charts about how food comes into your facility. There's even legislation about the type of people that you can buy off. So in New South Wales we had to have what was called an approved supplier list, and that approved supplier list had to meet a certain criteria to be a supplier to us, and if they didn't meet that criteria, then we couldn't use their food. Things like conducting temperature checks when I picked up produce, things like conducting temperature checks throughout the manufacturing process and having written documentation of that, maintaining fridge and freezer temperatures. There’s such a range of things that you need to cover. Things like making sure you are covering pest control, fire safety, chemical cleaning, making sure that you're cleaning things properly. There are a range of different hoops to jump through for the New South Wales Food Authority, detailing your recall strategies. I had to have a whole section on my recall strategy, and if something was wrong with our food, what we were gonna do about it.  

00:14:12 Narelle:       It is really interesting, and it is super confusing because even this morning, I was going through the New South Wales Food Authority website on animal food processing and it does outline all of those requirements for the facilities and the quality of the meats and things like that. But there was something there in those guidelines saying that for animal food processes there isn't a requirement for routine microbial and chemical testing of a product. It just seemed odd that they've got all these control processes around, HACCP and safety and the facilities, but then the actual testing of the product seemed to have a loophole. I don't know if you know anything about that, but it just stood out to me when I was reading through it this morning.  

00:14:56 Brittany:       Absolutely. That is as well one of the biggest flaws that I feel is in the pet food industry, and I can't necessarily speak for the whole of Australia, but I can certainly speak for my experience, is the product testing. If you think about it, let's talk about packaging wise. Now when you put something on a packaging order, you don't just order 10 packets. When we did a packaging order, we ordered a quarter of a million bags, so if you think of a quarter of a million bags and the cost to print a quarter of a million bags and then you test your product and it doesn't come up to what it was, what do you do in that situation? And this is where there's a flaw, because if you're not constantly testing a product then your product's not safe and you might not know. If you do test a product and say for example, you tested it and your typical analysis has changed, then what have you got printed on your bag? It's something different. So there's a definite sticking point and a definite challenge point in the processes and it seems strange that we would have all these procedures in place, but then we don't have that other testing there as well, or requirement to have that testing.  

00:16:14 Narelle:       Yeah, there's all these standards and codes of practice, but there's no real sort of overarching regulation of the industry. And you know, when you mentioned recalls, you've got this whole procedure in place for what you could do if you needed to recall your product, but there's no one to make you do that if you didn't want to, is my understanding of the situation.  

00:16:35 Brittany:       Yeah, that's right. From my understanding, just to make it clear, I have experience with the New South Wales Food Authority, but I've done research into other states, particularly Queensland and Victoria. If there's a problem with your food, then what is the recall strategy from there and how do you recall a product and who manages that. I have no doubt that if you wanted to, you could just sweep that under the carpet. If multiple dogs start presenting as being ill, that was always a concern, and it links into why we left the business. The stress of what happens if a dog gets sick from eating your food and then multiple dogs get sick from eating your food, that's a responsibility that you have to bear.  

00:17:32 Brittany:       And that's where, going back to your previous question about how challenging is it to become a manufacturer? That is one of the biggest challenges, being able to deal with the fact that you are responsible for nutrition. And I'm not talking about you're responsible for someone's collars or harnesses. You are responsible for something that is keeping that animal alive, that's a huge burden and a huge responsibility placed on someone that's a manufacturer. That's why we have insurance and things like that, but someone that's manufacturing, say out of their home kitchen and selling their stuff on marketplace, they don't have that licensing, they don't have that strategy if something does go wrong. They don't have insurance if something does go wrong and they're liable, what are they gonna do, 'cause it's not just about insurance protecting the manufacturer. It's about insurance of what happens if that dog has an illness and has to be treated, who's gonna pay those vet bills, if that makes sense.  

00:18:35 Narelle:       It does. 

00:18:36 Brittany:       It's scary.  

00:18:37 Narelle:       Yeah. I don't blame you for feeling overwhelmed by that burden of being responsible for so many dogs with their nutrition and their lives. But I wanted to highlight to the listeners just how convoluted and confusing the industry is because there are different standards and codes for different types of foods. Whether it's a wet food, or a pet meat, or a therapeutic food, but with everything, and it varies, as you've mentioned Brittany, it varies from state to state. And I'm sorry for all our overseas listeners today that this is very Australian centric today, but what concerns me is that the standards are voluntary. If 95% plus of pet food manufacturers in Australia adhere to the standards, but they don't have to, and if something goes wrong, the enforcement of that is a gray area in my mind. So maybe you can take us through Brittany, because this has been an interest to you in the quality control side of things with particularly the raw food manufacturing, how you developed your transparency project and where that's led you and what you've discovered in that area.  

00:19:47 Brittany:       Yeah, definitely. Firstly, I think it's important to explain why we left the industry. We left the industry because we started to become bigger than Ben Hur, as I like to say it, and we just couldn't keep up with the demand and supply. The jump to scale is really challenging. Our commercial premise was actually doing half a ton of dog food a week and you know the ability to jump up to the next level is just an astronomical investment. And so unfortunately it's a sad but good thing that we decided we didn’t wanna pursue manufacturing anymore and that's why we had to turn it in. But one of the biggest challenges that I found was the more I read and the more I was into the Australian standard of marketing, manufacturing of pet food, and the more I was reading about it, I was like, gosh, people just don’t know.  

00:20:41 Brittany:       People just have no idea and that's where The Pet Girl formed because I was super interested in highlighting to people what I was reading. I was like, this is insane. How is this a thing? I started to have that interest of thinking, why don't people know about this is because when we had all these hoops to jump through in New South Wales and it was so strict, we had to take photos of the offal that we were cutting, and cut it up into little pieces and inspect it for parasites and whatnot. And then in Queensland, the legislation seemed a lot less intense. I was like, what is going on? How is this so different from state to state? People need to know about this. So what I started to do is to reach out to manufacturers and say, people need to know more about the process behind what is going on.  

00:21:31 Brittany:       I guess a part of me as well was frustrated that everybody was saying, oh, you can just become a pet food manufacturer, anybody can become a pet food manufacturer. And I had dedicated two years of my life to it, and I can tell you right now, not everybody can become a good pet food manufacturer and not everybody should. And so I wanted to highlight to pet parents or consumers that the people that are transparent and that are opening their doors and are willing to answer these challenging questions, they're the kind of people that you wanna get to know, and you wanna talk to as manufacturers, because they're proud of their product and they have some amazing strategies in place and they're doing a really great job. That's why I created The Transparency Project. In the beginning it was kind of, well, oh well are they following legislation?  

00:22:22 Brittany:       And, I won't lie, initially it felt to me if there's going to be places to expose, let's expose 'em, let's get 'em out there, let's filter the bad and push up the good ones. But what I started realising is that fresh food manufacturers are some of the most transparent manufacturers that you'll ever find, even more than human food. They are passionate, completely passionate people that have a dog's best interest at heart, or the ones that I've interviewed anyway so far. No one's proven me wrong otherwise, they're amazing. They really care about how you feel about their food and about how your dog's longevity is on their food.  

00:23:08 Narelle:       That's great, and I dunno if you wanted to mention some of the companies that have allowed you behind the scenes in their premises. I know not everyone has opened their doors to you either and I'm not saying name names for that. There are challenges and not everyone's so excited to have you see what's going on, but for those that do, I think that's amazing and that's a great sign that consumers should be paying attention to.  

00:23:32 Brittany:       Yeah definitely. The project started about a year and a half, two years ago, and I reached out to a bunch of manufacturers. At first I wanted to go and hit the big manufacturers, to get them out of the way. I wanted people to take the project seriously, so I went straight to the top guns of the industry, and that was Proudie, Big Dog, Prime 100 and Leading RAW which is part of Big Dog. I reached out to those manufacturers and said, Hey, look, any rumors that are out there, I wanna put them to bed and I wanna open up what you are doing. And believe it or not, I was super surprised by their willingness to participate. I visited wherever their facility was located, and I filmed inside their facility.  

00:24:26 Brittany:       They gave me a tour of their facility, they showed me their processes, they showed me their product in preparation, and from start to finish of their product. Diana from Frontier Pets actually showed me from start to end how their product is manufactured and we talked about that, and then we got down to the nitty-gritty. I asked them consumer questions, why do all your products have chicken in it? How much synthetic vitamins and minerals are you using in your product? How often do you test those synthetic vitamins and minerals? What's your recall strategy? How do you implement all these things to ensure pet safety? And they answered those questions very willingly and very passionately. At Big Dog's facility I was there for I think four or five hours, they even gave me lunch.

00:25:20 Brittany:       I sat down and I talked about my pet hates and what I was unhappy with, with what they're doing and honestly voiced my opinion to them about any issues that I had with what was going on in the industry. The question that I asked every single one of them was, how important is transparency in the pet food industry? And every single manufacturer that I interviewed couldn't speak more highly of transparency. They said, we need to be transparent. We need a standard that we can all go off that isn't confusing, and that's what they want just as much as everybody else. So, yeah, it's interesting. It was a great project and I've just rebooted it and I'm hoping that once the covid stuff dies down, I can get out and get back into it and start opening the doors and checking out some of the smaller manufacturers and the not so large scale manufacturers.  

00:26:17 Glenn:       Brittany, just a question I've got in relation to your investigations. What would you recommend that consumers pay more attention to in regards to raw feeding manufacturers? What questions should they be asking, or what should they be looking into themselves?  

00:26:34 Brittany:      I think the first thing that people need to understand when you start asking questions of manufacturers is that when you ask a question, you need to be prepared to listen to the response. I find that a lot of people ask questions, but they don't know why they're asking the questions in the first place. So first and foremost, you have to understand what your values and expectations are. What is it that you want for your pet, and what is it that your standard is. If you don't really care about feeding pet grade or pet consumption meat versus human consumption meat, then it's not a question that you can ask, but you need to be prepared to listen to the answers. So the things that I look for, or I recommend that people ask or look for is, first and foremost, does a manufacturer have a recall strategy?  

00:27:23 Brittany:       And what is their recall strategy? If the product has synthetic vitamins and minerals, how often are those synthetic vitamins and minerals being tested? The ingredients, where do the ingredients come from? Are they coming from Australian farmers? If you value this, is the meat free range meat, or is it factory farm style? It depends on the standard and the quality of what you want. The biggest thing that I look for with manufacturers is that when I ask them a question, is the response generic, as in, is it a response that's got a lot of words but not a lot of reason? And does it lead you in a million different directions? And if it's that I say, oh, excuse me, can you just clarify that a little bit for me?  

00:28:08 Brittany:       Prime 100 were really great at that. Peter Slattery from Prime, he's great. I ask him questions all the time, and when I don't understand something, instead of going, oh, well, I don't understand, he must be lying to me. I just ask him to detail what his answer is and explain. Can you just break it down for me? I just don't understand what you're trying to tell me. Big Dog's the same, they're really great. Jean’s really great at answering questions and helping the consumer understand what it is she's saying. That's the kind of stuff that I look for. I guess the main thing that I encourage people to do is understand the values of the company. If the company is preaching that a natural diet is best and they wholeheartedly believe that a raw diet is best, then are they producing products that are counterproductive to that? Because how can they produce a product that's counterproductive to that and be backing that product a hundred percent and tell you it's the best thing that you can feed to your dog and then tell you that the raw product is also the best thing that you should be feeding your dog, or what is it? Is it a natural diet or a processed diet? So that for me is a big one.  

00:29:14 Glenn:       Yeah, interesting questions because just being out in the community and reading the limited amount of blogs and social media pages on raw feeding, I know you and Narelle pour over these type of things religiously and do a lot of external research, but as a person who has an interest in it, there is so much convoluted information out there. And it's nice that there are people like you and Narelle and various other people that are looking a little deeper into it. Because you're right, Brittany, there are a lot of pop-up raw feeders happening. And it reminds me when you were talking about earlier on in the show, it's kind of like breeding. There's a lot of people who have a go at breeding too and do a terrible job of it and flood the market with problem puppies and dogs with health issues.  

00:30:01 Glenn:       And it's no different from people who just have a go at it with raw feeding as well. When I see and hear Narelle talking about getting the balance right, when you're doing raw feeding and all the meticulous ingredients that you need to go through in order to make sure that you don't get imbalances. There is a science behind it. It's not just about throwing some ingredients in a bowl, grinding it up and throwing it into your pet. I give a lot of credit to people who put recipes together properly and do go through a process. And if they do need consultation with industry professionals that they reach out and get a structure in place to do that.  

00:30:50 Brittany:       Well, the biggest thing there as well is that, fresh food feeding is based on the premise of rotation and variety, right? So the one thing that I do look for is if you have a manufacturer that only has two varieties of proteins, how are they communicating to their consumers that rotation is important? Because if they're preaching that their product is the only thing that the dog should eat and they should be loyal to that brand, then how is that dog going to get that rotation and variety? And if they're constantly eating that protein over a long period of time are we gonna start to see intolerances there? I'm not saying that manufacturers have to have 50 proteins but you have to have eight different proteins available to their consumers.  

00:31:42 Brittany:       But I think that manufacturers identifying and knowing that just because their product is available, it doesn't mean that it's all a dog should eat. You know, a dog should have rotation and variety to achieve those balances over time, and they should be open to that and be open to telling people, no, we recommend you rotate through our different proteins. We recommend making sure that you're getting a variety and diversity of foods for your dog. And I think that's what Big Dog does really well. I know that they obviously have a large protein range, but I know that they talk about that rotation and variety a bit. I've seen them post about it and I've certainly had conversations with them about it as well. So that's something that I think is really important. Talking about your popup breeders and things like that, I'm always on the hunt for fresh food or cooked meal varieties, they're servicing their local community, but everyone starts somewhere. Everybody starts as a small business somewhere and develops their business and grows into a large business. But it's just making sure that before, you know, when you're looking at your manufacturer, are you sure that they're manufacturing in a commercial premises? Do they have insurance, who's guiding them and formulating their recipes and things like that.  

00:33:04 Narelle:       Brittany, I think you make a really good point because in terms of feeding a variety of different foods and fresh foods over time, because a lot of my clients, and I think it's just a mindset or if it's the way we've just been raised, but we tend to feel that we need to be loyal to one brand. And one brand, as amazing as it might be, may not give everything that they need to live a long and healthy life. I'm always telling my clients, I know your dog does well on this brand, but I encourage you to try different flavours, different brands, and it's hard, people are reluctant to let go, but I think it's really important. So I'm glad you made that point as well. People may not realise that Britney is … 

00:33:38 Brittany:       Constantly doing that.  

00:33:40 Narelle:       Yeah, it's just a thing, isn't it, that people find one recipe, they find one brand, and that's what they stick with. But people may not realise that your admin to an amazing Facebook group called Fresh Food Feeding for Dogs, Kibble Feeders Welcome, which I must say I always find quite a mouthful, but it's an amazing group and you and Sasha Packer do a phenomenal job with the information you provide to your members and the resources that you have available to them. I don’t know if you're taking on new new members before I advertise your group, but I recommend that people do check out your Facebook page. Is there anything else you wanna share with the listeners, Brittany, about the commercial side of things.  

00:34:25 Brittany:       In terms of understanding commercial legalities and whatnot? I was actually speaking to a manufacturer just prior to this interview. I'm actually going to revisit that manufacturer and do another version of what I did when I went into their facility and redo my review on them. But we were talking about the kind of checks that individual premises have to go through. So they're a member of the PFIAA, and they get checks conducted and inspections conducted through that organisation. Then any major pet retail store that they sell to, those individual retail stores conduct audits as well. Then they have their internal audits, and then they also have their state food authority audit on top of that. So if you think about it, that's four or five different audits, and depending on how many major retail stores they're in, that's so many audits for that one manufacturer.  

00:35:29 Brittany:       So I guess my biggest thing is that for me, sometimes people view manufacturers as not the devil, but they view manufacturers in a poor light. You know, oh, it must be poor quality, it's manufactured on a large scale, but honestly, I don't feel it's the case. There are some manufacturers out there that are doing a spectacular job and really care about pets, and feeding pets properly. And I think it's important to support those manufacturers and to keep the standard high. That's what I aim to do through my transparency project, keep the standard high, keep fresh food manufacturers at a very high standard. Because when we compare that to other types of food manufacturers in the industry, I don't know if they're that transparent, I can almost bet that they're not. And it's something that I think that we need to give credit to and be grateful that a lot of our manufacturers, our fresh food manufacturers, are being more transparent than even our human food manufacturers. So I think that we need to pay respect to that, and we need to be grateful for our manufacturers and and really support them in their business and on their journey  

00:36:42 Glenn:       In regards to that too, with manufacturers who are using high grade meats and vegetables and supplements, they're going to generally offset that by charging a little bit more for it too. So I think people have gotta be understanding that when they do find quality material, there is going to be a premium cost attached to that. Essentially with a lot of these people you pay for what you get. I mean, they can't do high grade material or high grade foods, and then produce it at a low cost to satisfy everybody. I know that they would like to do that, and they always are market researching to find a middle ground. However, I have heard people say before, oh, I'd love to do this, but it's so expensive. Well, it's also expensive to pay for excessive vet bills when your dog starts getting sick and ill later in life. So there is a cost associated with that and I understand that. We looked at it when we changed from kibble to raw feeding for our own dogs, and then the supplementation that Narelle adds in on top of that. 

00:37:39 Narelle:       That's just an occupational hazard of being a naturopath.. 

00:37:43 Glenn:       Well that's right. But the point for us is that we looked at it from what are we preaching to other people, and what are we expecting in longevity out of our own dogs as well? I think there is a responsibility on us to accept that there are gonna be costs associated with owning pets, especially in feeding them. But it also comes with a moral responsibility too, at the end of the day.  

00:38:13 Brittany:       I think too when you look at a product, you think, oh, okay, it costs $9 a kilo to feed. So what you have to think about is that, yeah, sure, it costs $9 a kilo when you've got the pretty packaging and it's just scooped into your bowl. But, you know, when we set up our kitchen, you've gotta think of everything. We had a piece of equipment that we used, it's a $50,000 piece of equipment, and we had one of them. Imagine if we were manufacturing a couple of tons a week, how many of those machines would we use? You know, like a mix and mincer alone was $20,000. Then you gotta think of electricity, insurance, manual labour, accounting, wages, products, licensing, there's so many expenses. When you're thinking about how much a product costs, sure, there are definitely more expensive products on the market, but you definitely get what you pay for.  

00:39:14 Brittany:       There're companies that are producing produce that is organic, and they're only buying organic produce to put into their product. When I look at how I feed myself when I choose to purchase organic foods, it's more expensive, it definitely is. But you get what you pay for. So I think it all comes down to what your goals are with your individual pet, and long-term, how you wanna achieve those goals. And for me, I know that feeding a fresh food diet prevents me from having to go to the vet a million times. My oldest dog Yogi has never had a dental and she's eight years old and her teeth are sparkling clean. Now obviously genetics plays a role in that, but diet is a huge component of that. And so avoiding $3,000 dentals every couple of years, I've avoided that.

00:40:06 Narelle:       A hundred percent on board with everything you're saying. So Brittany, you've got your business on the Gold Coast. Do you wanna tell the listeners a little bit about that and how they can find you and what you can offer them?  

00:40:15 Brittany:    Thanks, Narelle. I am not a manufacturer anymore. Now I am The Pet Girl on the Gold Coast. So I am an NDTF certified Dog Trainer Trainer. I have also completed a canine athlete specialist course with Northeast Canine Conditioning, and I'm an animal nutritionist, so I offer a range of services from private training, nutrition consults, but not for clinical nutrition. And then I have a dog training school in the Gold Coast called That Dog School and I work with the amazing Julia Terry. We offer group classes and workshops and hopefully seminars to come soon. But yeah, that's what we do over on the Gold Coast. So thepetgirl.com.au or thatdogschool.com, or if you are interested in fresh food feeding, you can head to the Fresh Food Feeding for Dogs. Kibble Feeders Welcome. And it's a really good introductory level for people that don’t know much about fresh food feeding and want a safe and secure space to learn, and want people to support them on their journey. So it's a little tribe that we've got going over there. I think we're 30,000 members deep, but it's grown a lot in two years. It's been an exciting journey. I love it. 

00:41:29 Narelle:       Just for listeners on that page, what I love about the Fresh Food Feeders page is if you're gonna make a claim, or if you're gonna say something, you need to explain why you're saying something, and I love that. So people just can't throw out random statements or misinformation on the page without being pulled up in a really kind and gentle way, and saying, look, hey, what's the basis behind that? Can you explain it so the others can know and learn for themselves? I think that's great Brittany, you and Sasha do a great job on that page. 

00:42:00 Brittany:       Sasha's awesome. She's definitely a mentor of mine and I really enjoy learning from her. But yeah, she's a huge driving force of that group. She does a fantastic job, so thanks. It's good fun. It keeps me entertained, first hours of the morning and late hours of the night. 

00:42:17 Glenn:       Yeah, Sasha's very generous with her information and time that she spends with people, and she's quite a skilled advocate for what she's doing in the industry as well.  

00:42:26 Brittany:       Definitely. 

00:42:26 Glenn:       Okay. Well that's it for the episode. So thank you very much for joining us as our first guest on the show, Brittany. So when we do the wrap up with Narelle, where do people find you?  

00:42:36 Narelle:       Oh, me? Yeah, sorry, I forgot …

00:42:38 Glenn:       You forgot that this is your show. 

00:42:39 Narelle:       Thought it was a Brittany show, in the loveliest way I said that. People can find me at naturalhealthandnutrition.com.au. I also have the Facebook page, Natural Health for People and Pets to support this podcast. So jump onto either of those. If you wanna email me, it's narelle@naturalhealthandnutrition.com.au.

  00:43:00 Glenn:       Wonderful. Okay, well thank you very much for joining us on the show today Brittany.  

00:43:04 Brittany:       Thank you so much for having me. Again, like I said, it's an honour to speak to you both. Narelle, you are amazing, so thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.  

00:43:13 Glenn:       Our pleasure. 

00:43:14 Narelle:       Thanks Brittany, bye. 

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