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Junk food is causing pet obesity epidemic

What is junk food? Give examples of junk food. Why has junk food become popular? Do you think that junk food is harmful? Why? Consider the headline of the text. What do you know about the subject? Try to frame one or two thoughts of your own. Then read the text to find out:

- what the reason for pet obesity is;

- what junk food is mentioned in this text;

- what animals are affected;

- the number of overweight animals in Great Britain;

- what obesity can result in.

Pet owners are increasingly feeding their animals a dangerously unhealthy diet of junk food, including curry, pizza and ice-cream, a charity has warned

Researchers for The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals found that in the past year there has been a 10 per cent increase in the number of overweight animals.

Around 500,000 pets are affected, ranging from cats and dogs to rabbits, rats and even budgerigars.

They are suffering symptoms identified with obesity in humans, such as low energy levels, breathing problems, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, liver and heart disease and poor fertility.

PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Sean Wensley said the pets' weight gain could be down to their owners giving them fatty and sugary snacks with little knowledge of what harm they were doing.

He said pets were being fed chips, cheese and scones.

"Others that have been mentioned are crisps, curry, pizza, ice-cream, cake, and sweets," he added.

He said owners appeared not to understand that a single biscuit or crisp for a pet could be equivalent to an entire packet for a human.

The experience of the PDSA is reflected elsewhere.

The Guinness Book of Records has withdrawn its listings for heaviest animals over worries that some owners may be overfeeding their pets to gain recognition.

Inspectors from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals last year took a labrador called Rusty away from Derek Benton, 62, of Fordham, Cambridgeshire and his brother David, 53.

The pair had allowed the dog to reach 74.2kg (162lbs/11st 5lbs).

There have also been cases of a cat called Ginger which was too fat to get out of the cat flap and a dog that was so overweight after being fed English breakfasts that it could not move.

Helen Briggs, of the RSPCA, said: "Overweight animals tend to be made objects of fun, but it's a serious animal welfare issue."

(Andy Bloxham “Telegraph”, 20 Jul 2008 www.telegraph.co.uk)

Practice 1. Look through the text to find out who this text is intended for:

1) general readers;

2) students in veterinary;

3) specialists.

Practice 2. Concentrate on discovery the author’s main idea. Select the statement which best expresses the author’s main idea:

1. Junk food is becoming increasingly popular with pets owners resulting in obesity.

2. The pet obesity results from owners giving them junk food with little knowledge of what harm they are doing.

3. Pet obesity is a serious animal welfare issue as there has been a 10 per cent increase in the number of overweight animals.

Practice 3. Discuss in groups. Why do you think pet owners feed their pets on junk food? Are there other reasons for obesity? What advice would you give to someone who cannot live without junk food and feed their pets on junk food?

Practice 4. Make a review of the article. (use the vocabulary from Appendix 2 on p.70)

Practice 5. Make a report about the problem of pet obesity as if you were PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Seam Wensley and give your ideas how this problem could be solved.

Text C

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