The FDA recently released a video about pet food to reassure us that commercial pet food is just fine: (FDA video)…
But this video is incredibly misleading, and (if you ask me) even downright patronizing. A brand new, hard-hitting video from our good friend Susan Thixton at TruthAboutPet Food.com totally–and accurately–refutes the FDA’s claims: truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/response-to-fda-pet-food-video.html.
AAFCO shares a lot of responsibility for the abysmal state of pet food today. Unfortunately, the only outside input AAFCO normally gets is from the pet food industry (although Susan and I are now “advisors” to two AAFCO committees!). The AAFCO ingredient definitions provide the perfect “cover-up” for the trashy and toxic ingredients going into pet food. Every state has a representative; here’s how to contact them: www.aafco.org/Directory/FindMembersbyState.aspx
And here are the folks at FDA that need to hear from us:
- Bernadette Dunham, Director CVM email@example.com
- Dr. Bill Burkholder, Veterinary Medical Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
- Eric Nelson, Supv Consumer Safety Officer email@example.com
When you write, please remember that these individuals are just cogs in a great big wheel. I’ve known Dr. Bill Burkholder, who narrates the video, for many years, and he is a genuinely nice guy. These folks believe in what they do, and they really don’t *get* that there’s a serious problem. Individuals who work in the pet food industry are also good people. None of them gets up in the morning thinking, “How am I going to cheat consumers and poison pets today?” (Although there are probably a few industry bigwigs DO get up in the morning thinking, “How am I going to increase corporate profits today?”–which deep down is the same thing!) The problem is the culture of the industry and its regulators. So be civil when you’re contacting people–no personal attacks. That old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” is absolutely true!
Look, nobody else cares about our pets as much as we do, and nobody is going to protect them for us. So, what else can we do to force the FDA to adhere to the letter and intent of the FD&C Act, instead of allowing pet food companies to use disgusting, potentially toxic ingredients–and then lie to us about it? Unless there is a massive grassroots effort, the likelihood of change is virtually zero. While it’s worth contacting AAFCO and the FDA, we must really get organized. Pet food is not on the main radar for any major animal rights or welfare groups…except the Pet Parents Action Group, a fast-growing pet advocacy organization. So go there, and sign up!
The other thing we really need is media attention. So let your favorite local and national radio, TV, and news outlets know about this outrage! Most of them encourage news tips, so go for it! Don’t fall into the trap of “Oh, surely someone else will do it.” YOU do it. Multiple tips on the same topic will generate more interest, and a greater chance that someone big will get involved. Think big! Think huge! Think USA Today, The View, Ellen DeGeneres, Howard Stern, Bill O’Reilly, 60 Minutes…politics be darned, 65% of Americans have a dog or cat, so there’s a good chance that the staffers who monitor these tip lines have pets themselves, and will be very interested in what you’re telling them! Let’s rock it!