The Importance of Critically Assessing Research

Books on a shelf

A criticism that is frequently levelled at those of us involved in teaching about species appropriate nutrition by our colleagues (many of whom have been educated by or are in the pay of the very big corporate pet food manufacturers) is that there is no research to support our ideas.

Lots of evidence is thrown at us by these same colleagues purporting to prove that our ideas are incorrect and unsafe, yet if you really drill down into the quoted research, it is very often either flawed, quoted inaccurately or out of context or quite clearly funded by an organisation with an agenda beyond pure science.

The Raw Feeding Veterinary Society Ltd and its members wholeheartedly endorse good research and evidence based medicine.  We are lucky to have many skilled researchers among our members (including the author of the recently published Feeding Dogs Dr Conor Brady and Dr Anna Hielm Bjorkman https://amzn.to/2T45zCC , who heads up the team at DogRisk.  Dr Brady’s excellent (and very readable) book is a real tour de force of research and referencing, we highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in nutrition and dogs.  Our own position statement cites 62 references in support of our arguments. The document was a labour of love for present and former committee members with help from many of our highly knowledgeable members, we’re so grateful to them for their help in putting the document together and working to keep it up to date.


There is a huge amount of evidence in the human field of nutrition that supports our ideas and our members typically have to carefully extrapolate from this to help their patients and clients.  It’s a skill to be able to critically assess such research and decide what information is useful and transferable and what is not.

Because this skill is so vital, RFVS is investing in a series of three bespoke webinars exclusively for our members to be given by Dr Morag Heirs. The first takes place on Monday 28th June.

Dr Heirs is currently a visiting lecturer for the University of Edinburgh (MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour) and supervises their MSc research students. She is also Course Director for three entirely online MSc programmes for practitioners of Nutrition Science, Oriental Medicine and Complementary Medicine, and teaches research skills for practitioners. 

Our first two webinars will teach RFVS members to critically and methodically assess published research and the final one will give all participants the chance to test their skills together by discussing their thoughts on a paper under the guidance of Dr Heirs.

If you are interested in these webinars, you will need to join RFVS as a Professional or Affiliate member, and you will then find details of how to follow the webinars in our private forum.

As a side note, RFVS Ltd is working hard to be in a position to be able to conduct good research and to publish this, but this costs money !  If YOU would like to see research into raw feeding in peer reviewed journals, you can help us by making a donation to our crowdfund campaign.

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