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May 2, 2007

Chickens Contaminated with Melamine from China

Chickens have been contaminated with melamine after being fed the same contaminated feed from China that caused the deaths of so many animals in the pet food recall. These chickens have already made it into the human food supply. Though the amount isn't enough to cause illness according to officials, it does raise alarm bells over the safety of our food supply and whether or not we should be relying upon China for ingredients.

Hundreds of other producers may have similarly sold an unknown amount of contaminated poultry in recent months, they added, painting a picture of much broader consumption of contaminated feed and food than had previously been acknowledged in the widening pet food scandal.

This is causing growing concern about the overall food supply for both humans and pets. The main worry is the quality of ingredients imported from China.

With the new knowledge that the Chinese deliberately put melamine in pet food to boost protein levels, I would prefer not to eat anything that comes from China nor feed it to my pets. Perhaps we as consumers should start demanding to know exactly where the ingredients in our foods come from.

Millions Of Chickens Fed Tainted Pet Food
In China, melamine use not seen as risky

April 11, 2007

Menu Foods CFO Mark Wiens Doesn't Want to Talk About It

Menu Foods CFO Mark Wiens says the fact that he sold half his shares in the company two weeks before the pet food recall had nothing to do with the recall. Indeed! Even though the company knew that animals were getting sick from the food before he sold his shares, the company says Mark Wiens was not aware of the fact. They say it was a "horrible coincidence."

Wiens called it a "horrible coincidence" in Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper. He did not immediately return phone calls yesterday and Bornstein said Wiens didn't want to talk about his shares any more.

Doesn't want to talk about his shares anymore? That's too bad, because a lot of pet owners are going to want to talk to him about those shares and the timing of their sale. Good luck with that, Mr. Wiens.

Menu Foods CFO sold shares 3 weeks before recall

March 22, 2007

Pet Food Recall: Menu Foods Knew Food Was Deadly

The pet food recall that has caused at least 16 deaths of cats and dogs is worsening by the day. These are the reported deaths, but I believe the number is much higher.

On message boards across the internet, people are reporting that their animals have died of mysterious kidney failure over the past few months. These animals were all eating foods on the recall list.

The sinister part of all this? Menu Foods knew the food was deadly as early as February but did nothing to recall the products.

In tests the company performed in February, one in six (!) animals that ate the food died! Yet the food was not immediately recalled! This is beyond criminal. People have lost their pets because of these greedy bastards. There is absolutely no excuse for this.

Veterinarians are angry. On one veterinarian blog, they are venting their frustrations and anger that they weren't informed sooner of the problem. One vet says:

It’s bad enough that the brands outsourced their production. It’s bad enough that Menu Foods bought from known poor quality suppliers. It’s bad enough everyone in-the-know sat on their heels for a month. It’s bad enough they released the information on a Friday. Did they also have to display their disregard so flagrantly as to fail to provide proper support for the vets who recommend their foods and the people that feed them to the pets they care for? (doolittler.com)

It has been hard for me to sit down and write about this because I have been personally affected. I feed my cat Innova Evo dry food and that isn't on the list of recalled foods, but every now and then I feed him pouches of Nutro Natural Choice as a treat. I was under the impression, as were many others, that Nutro was of a higher quality than most other pet foods. Given that I gave this to him as an occasional treat, I knew it wasn't as healthy as Innova, but I had no idea Menu Foods was the supplier. If I had known, I never would have given it to my cat.

The pouches that my cat ate are included in the date range that is being recalled. He last ate a pouch about 7 days ago. He is not showing any symptoms of kidney problems, but some vets are recommending all animals who ate recalled foods be tested just in case. I'm going to call the vet tomorrow and see if he recommends testing, but I'm confident that he's okay. I'm so grateful that he wasn't affected by this disaster and my heart goes out to those who have lost their pets or whose pets are fighting for their lives right now.

Also upsetting are reports that Nutro and other companies are not responding to calls from customers whose animals are in kidney failure. A dog in California named Pebbles is suffering from kidney failure and her owner says Nutro hasn't returned his calls.

I am terrified to think about how many cats and dogs are going to end up affected by this. Nutro and the other companies really need to step up to the plate and start answering calls and acting like they care.

February 6, 2007

Are you an irrational spoiler? A pet zealot?

In perhaps the most offensive article of the year, consumers who feed their pets healthy food are called "spoilers" and "pet zealots." Del Monte, the makers of Meow Mix, have exposed themselves as idiots.

Trying to learn more about the inner thoughts of pet people, Del Monte has boosted its research budget by 15% to fund focus groups, in-home observations and brainstorming sessions like that one last fall. Del Monte execs are also scrutinizing taped interviews with pet zealots, including Cynthia Zaino, 33, of Pataskala, Ohio.

Pet zealots? The inner thoughts of "pet people"?

These pet owners, most of them women the company calls "spoilers," make up one-third of cat-owning households.

This article makes it sound as if the people at Meow Mix/Del Monte think it's strange that people like to treat their pets well. Is feeding your pet healthy food "spoiling" him? How about your child? If he gets a healthy, nutritious meal instead of a Big Mac are you spoiling him?

It's pretty simple - we want our animal friends to be happy and healthy, just like any other member of our family. We don't treat them like walking garbage cans who will consume any food scraps we throw at them.

Pup-Peroni Ribs, slow-cooked meat wrapped around a chewy bone, were given out with Weber grills and at doggy parks when introduced last fall. Says Wolford: "If you ever feel depressed take a Pup-Peroni home and give it to your dog. You instantly feel great about yourself."

Is he saying the only reason to give your dog a treat is so you feel great about yourself?

Here's my favorite part:

... consumers "really become irrational" about what they will spend on their pets, he says gleefully. Now he just needs to get more "spoilers" to spend their money on Del Monte.

I, for one, am happy to be an irrational pet spoiler. Pets give us their companionship and love and ask for nothing in return except that we love them and take care of their health. The people at Del Monte can do all the focus groups they want but it's clear they will never understand that.

Animal House


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