Saturday, June 16, 2007

Why Is the Pet Food Industry Killing Our Pets?

From AlterNet:

The first thing that came to light was the fact that the pet food industry is virtually self-regulated. The only requirement that the industry must meet is to adhere to the Labeling Act, which states that food must contain the name and address of the producing company, whether the product is intended for dogs or cats, the weight of the food, and the guaranteed analysis. The source of the protein included in the analysis can be anything: condemned material from slaughterhouses, road-kill, zoo animals and even euthanized companion animals. Of course, the industry denies all this, especially the use of dead dogs and cats in pet foods. However, a senior official from a large rendering conglomerate in the United States wrote to me, "I know of no rendering company in the U.S. that will segregate companion animals from the rest of the raw material they process."

Click here for the rest.

As if the creepy, cannibalistic, Soylent Green oriented ramifications of feeding our dogs and cats euthanized dogs and cats wasn't disturbing enough, the article goes on to observe that this kind of "food" necessarily contains the chemical used to put pets to sleep, pentobarbital. In other words, it's possible that we're feeding our pets a deadly drug, which the article suggests has a cumulative effect on the nervous system--over a long period of time, we might be slowly poisoning them. All this on top of what's turned out to be the biggest pet food recall in history, the recent scandal over melamine tainted wheat gluten from China.

This is all, of course, a very poignant example of why federal regulation of business should no longer be dismissed as "bad for the economy." Milton Friedman would tell you that the market would self-correct, that consumers would drift towards brands with better reputations. But this kind of shit is market wide, and consumers can't act on information about which they are unaware. Sure, it means less profit when the government requires that companies don't poison our pets, but fuckin' A, it's damned well worth it.