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Did you know the Non-GMO Project verifies food and wellness products for animals as well as products made for people?

It's true! Verified food and treats abound, and dogs and cats are common benefactors. There are also other Verified supplies, including pet wipes, supplements and first aid products designed for creatures great and small. 

Looking for Non-GMO Project Verified products in the pet supply aisle can help us move to a more sustainable, non-GMO supply chain. Acreage that goes non-GMO sees fewer pesticide applications than land planted with GMO crops — whether the end user is human or not. 

Verified food for your four-legged friend

A calico cat looks up at the person kneeling to give it a dish of food.Dogs and cats are by far the most popular pets in North America — and both depend on a meat-based diet for their well-being. They just aren't set up for vegetarianism. Their digestive systems and nutritional needs are best served by consuming animal products. Which is an opportunity for anyone who wants to expand the non-GMO supply chain.

If you use meat or dairy products, choosing Non-GMO Project Verified options is one of the most impactful ways to support a non-GMO supply chain. That's because most GMO crops don't go towards feeding people; they go toward feeding livestock. Genetically modified corn, soy, cotton and alfalfa occupy more than 200 million acres in the U.S., and more than half of U.S. grains are fed to livestock. 

For animal-derived products to be in compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard, the livestock must have received non-GMO feed. That applies to animal-derived products destined for people or their pets. Going non-GMO for food and treats offers the same benefits whether those products are for you or your pet! 

Rover says, 9 out of 10 squirrels prefer non-GMO corn

A fully frown doberman sits in front of a tree to have its portrait taken. The dog is wearing a stylish bandana around its neck to show its support for preserving biodiversity.In 2012, a farmer in South Dakota named Paul Fonder stocked a squirrel feeder with one cob of genetically modified corn and one cob of non-GMO, organically-produced corn. The results were unambiguous: Local squirrels preferred the non-GMO and organic corn. Fonder repeated the experiment several times using different genetically modified and non-GMO corn varieties. Each time, squirrels picked non-GMO corn.

Fonder was inspired by an earlier experiment he'd read about in The Organic and Non-GMO Report — one that went awry in a fascinating way. The earlier experiment was in Illinois in 2007, when Maynard Kropf stashed 10 ears each of non-GMO and GMO corn in his garage, planning to conduct a taste test over the winter with squirrels. But Kropf forgot about the corn, never putting it out. Local mice soon volunteered, chewing through the paper bags to consume every last kernel of the non-GMO corn and leaving the GMO varieties untouched.

Some ranchers have reported improved health outcomes after switching to non-GMO livestock feed, including better fertility and digestive health.

Admittedly, these taste tests were ad hoc affairs. The ranchers' observations are anecdotal, lacking the structure of a formal study. Still, the stories are compelling and underscore the need for rigorous, independent, long-term feeding studies on the effects of GMOs. 

Shoppers like you have many reasons for looking for the Butterfly. Are you looking for the best natural products for your best friend? Would you like to see more acreage converted to non-GMO production? Many reasons apply just as well to products you buy for your pet as to products you buy for yourself — and all of them help move the supply chain toward a non-GMO future.

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