Making Amends

On Monday I shared a story of a store owner that kicked out a family with a Service Dog, Golden Retriever Ellie. Well, Susan Ivancevich and Robert Bryant met yesterday at his store to make amends.

First I have the initial video with the man screaming to the family about getting out of his store. Then, you can see the second video showing the apology. You will notice towards the end of the clip how Ellie has just been lying down under the table and not budging during the entire interview. And, you know, of course, that there was much activity there given the crew shooting the film.

I hear that folks in the area have not taken to kindly to this store owner and that some boycotting had already taken place, so prompting his attempts to make amends.

FIRST ENCOUNTER

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A CHANGED MAN

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Humane Society Legislative Fund Endorses Obama-Biden

Senator Obama is featured in book about puppy mills, A Rare Breed of Love, with this photo of him holding Baby, the three-legged poodle rescued from an abusive puppy mill operation.

Press Release: Humane Society Legislative Fund Endorses Obama-Biden

One of the guiding principles of the Humane Society Legislative Fund is that we evaluate candidates based on a single criterion: where they stand on animal protection policies. We don’t make decisions based on party affiliation, or any other social issue, or even how many pets they have. We care about their views and actions on the major policy debates relating to animal welfare.

It stirs controversy to get involved in candidate elections. But we believe that candidates for office and current lawmakers must be held accountable, or they will see the animal protection movement as a largely irrelevant political constituency. In order to have good laws, we need good lawmakers, and involvement in elections is an essential strategy for any serious social movement, including our cause.

While we’ve endorsed hundreds of congressional candidates for election, both Democrats and Republicans, WE’VE NEVER BEFORE ENDORSED A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. We have members on the left, in the center, and on the right, and we knew it could be controversial to choose either party’s candidate for the top office in the nation. But in an era of sweeping presidential power, we must weigh in on this most important political race in the country. Standing on the sidelines is no longer an option for us.

I’m proud to announce today that the HSLF board of directors — which is comprised of both Democrats and Republicans — has voted unanimously to endorse Barack Obama for President. The Obama-Biden ticket is the better choice on animal protection, and we urge all voters who care about the humane treatment of animals, no matter what their party affiliation, to vote for them.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been a solid supporter of animal protection at both the state and federal levels. As an Illinois state senator, he backed at least a dozen animal protection laws, including those to strengthen the penalties for animal cruelty, to help animal shelters, to promote spaying and neutering, and to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption.  In the U.S. Senate, he has consistently co-sponsored multiple bills to combat animal fighting and horse slaughter, and has supported efforts to increase funding for adequate enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal laws to combat animal fighting and puppy mills.

In his response to the HSLF questionnaire, he pledged support for nearly every animal protection bill currently pending in Congress, and said he will work with executive agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to make their policies more humane. He wrote of the important role animals play in our lives, as companions in our homes, as wildlife in their own environments, and as service animals working with law enforcement and assisting persons with disabilities. He also commented on the broader links between animal cruelty and violence in society.

Obama has even on occasion highlighted animal protection issues on the campaign trail, and has spoken publicly about his support for animal protection. In reaction to the investigation showing the abuse of sick and crippled cows which earlier this year led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history, he issued a statement saying “that the mistreatment of downed cows is unacceptable and poses a serious threat to public health.” He is featured in Jana Kohl’s book about puppy mills, A Rare Breed of Love, with a photo of Obama holding Baby (shown above), the three-legged poodle rescued from an abusive puppy mill operation, and his political mentor, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), is the author of the latest federal bill to crack down on puppy mills.

Importantly, Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) has been a stalwart friend of animal welfare advocates in the Senate, and has received high marks year after year on the Humane Scorecard. Biden has not only supported animal protection legislation during his career, but has also led the fight on important issues. He was the co-author with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in the 108th Congress on legislation to ban the netting of dolphins by commercial tuna fishermen. He was the lead author of a bill in the 107th Congress to prohibit trophy hunting of captive exotic mammals in fenced enclosures, and he successfully passed the bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On the Republican ticket, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has also supported some animal protection bills in Congress, but has been inattentive or opposed to others. He has voted for and co-sponsored legislation to stop horse slaughter, and voted to eliminate a $2 million subsidy for the luxury fur coat industry. But he has largely been absent on other issues, and has failed to co-sponsor a large number of priority bills or sign onto animal protection letters that have had broad support in the Senate.

The McCain campaign did not fill out the HSLF presidential questionnaire, and has also not issued any public statements on animal welfare issues. He was silent during the downed animal scandal and beef recall, which played out during a high-point in the primary fight. Yet he did speak at the NRA convention earlier this year, and is the keynote speaker this weekend in Columbus, Ohio, at the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance rally—an extremist organization that defends the trophy hunting of threatened polar bears and captive shooting of tame animals inside fenced pens.

While McCain’s positions on animal protection have been lukewarm, his choice of running mate cemented our decision to oppose his ticket. Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-Alaska) retrograde policies on animal welfare and conservation have led to an all-out war on Alaska’s wolves and other creatures. Her record is so extreme that she has perhaps done more harm to animals than any other current governor in the United States.

Palin engineered a campaign of shooting predators from airplanes and helicopters, in order to artificially boost the populations of moose and caribou for trophy hunters. She offered a $150 bounty for the left foreleg of each dead wolf as an economic incentive for pilots and aerial gunners to kill more of the animals, even though Alaska voters had twice approved a ban on the practice. This year, the issue was up again for a vote of the people, and Palin led the fight against it — in fact, she helped to spend $400,000 of public funds to defeat the initiative.

What’s more, when the Bush Administration announced its decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, Palin filed a lawsuit to reverse that decision. She said it’s the “wrong move” to protect polar bears, even though their habitat is shrinking and ice floes are vanishing due to global warming.

The choice for animals is especially clear now that Palin is in the mix. If Palin is put in a position to succeed McCain, it could mean rolling back decades of progress on animal issues.

Voters who care about protecting wildlife from inhumane and unsporting abuses, enforcing the laws that combat large-scale cruelties like dogfighting and puppy mills, providing humane treatment of animals in agriculture, and addressing other challenges that face animals in our nation, must become active over the next six weeks to elect a president and vice president who share our values. Please spread the word, and tell friends and family members that an honest assessment of the records of the two presidential tickets leads to the inescapable conclusion that Obama-Biden is the choice for humane-minded voters.

Weighing in on Oprah’s Show on Puppy Mills

I am no expert on puppy mills, but I am intelligent enough to know that there are varied points of views and assorted experts who have weighed in on this topic over the years. I am just as horrified as others are about the puppy mill situation but have difficulty when Oprah decides to take on the subject.

Folks are led to believe that all of the persons that Oprah brings to her show are the best and the most definitive in their respective expert positions. But, I am not one of those folks. I have shuddered when I see the dog training experts that have graced her stage, and was aghast when she decided to adopt 3 Golden puppies at one time.

That said, I would not be the best person to critique her recent show on puppy mills and early spaying/neutering. I do have to say that the jury is still out on the best age at which to spay or neuter as doing these procedures too early can have other health repercussions with respect to bone development and development of cancers.

Here is an intelligent discussion from Roberta Pliner, a woman who writes professionally along with being the owner of Irish Wolfhounds.

Well, almost everyone who’s weighed in on this topic thinks the show wasn’t as bad as expected, and even not bad at all. Really?

But the program asserted:

1. Ninety-nine percent of all dogs in pet shops come from puppy mills, such as the horrible substandard kennels as shown on the program.

Answer: If this were true, the pet shops would have been out of business a long time ago for lack of healthy puppies. The truth is that 99 percent of pet shop puppies come from clean, highly regulated, well-managed commercial kennels. Whether some of us think commercial kennels are good or less good ways to breed dogs is another question, but the vast majority selling to pet shops are not filthy puppy mills. Nor are their dogs overbred, inbred, and given no veterinary care. State and local law at both ends of the sales equation demand proof of vaccinations and health certificates, thereby mandating veterinary care.

1A. A corollary to the above was the assertion that 99 percent of all dogs acquired through the Internet came from substandard kennels who inbred, overbred, and gave their dogs no veterinary care.

Answer: The Internet includes in large measure breed and all-breed lists, breeder websites, dog club websites, general dog care lists and websites….IOW, a host of ways in which breeders and prospective buyers meet on the Internet, after which they can check each other out much more thoroughly and easily than was ever possible pre-Internet. The Internet makes it possible to find more good breeders and more good buyers than any other way of finding good dogs and good homes for dogs.

2. Spaying and castrating dogs are very easy operations, as shown on the program.

Answer: But only a small part of the castration operation was shown and that shot through a filter, and none of the spaying (OHE) operation was shown or even discussed. Castrating dogs and spaying bitches are NOT easy operations. The assembly-line low-cost spay/castrate programs don’t tell you how many patients they lose. For that matter, most good vets won’t even tell you how many patients they lose during or after those very surgeries.

3. People looking for a new dog can find any breed, any age in shelters or breed rescue groups.

Answer: There are over 300 pure breeds in the U.S., of which only about 40 or so will be found in shelters, and perhaps another 20 or 30 with some degree of regularity in rescue groups (though not necessarily wherever one lives). These are the 60 or 70 most populous breeds in the U.S. Beyond them, as the breeds become less and less populous, the chances of finding any in rescue, much less shelters, becomes infrequent to remote to nonexistent. However, that those less populous breeds continue to have loyal followings means that they and no other breed fulfill their owners’ preferences and needs. To persuade someone who wants one breed to take some other dog from a shelter is to invite another owner-relinquished dog.

4. The awful conditions of the Pennsylvania kennels shown on the program and identified as Amish concentrated in Lancaster County were said to be perfectly legal, therefore hard to correct.

Answer: Pennsylvania, like every other state, has specific anti-neglect and anti-cruelty laws mandating a certain minimum standard of care. Moreover, Pennsylvania has very stringent laws governing the management, structure, and husbandry of all kennels with more than 26 dogs on the premises. As well, all kennels who sell wholesale are subject to USDA regulation, all 66 pages of it. The conditions in those kennels shown on Oprah are NOT LEGAL, so the problem there is enforcement. That has nothing to do with whether dogs are spayed or castrated elsewhere. If every dog in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were spayed or castrated tomorrow, that wouldn’t change conditions in those bad kennels one iota. If they are not meeting state and federal standards of care, then inspect, investigate, and correct as needed on that basis.

5. Shelters all over the country are at or above capacity, which is why all dogs who are not adopted have to be euthanized. This is happening in shelters in every community all over the country.

Answer: This is not true. Shelters in most of the Northeast, parts of California, and parts of Florida are so underutilized that they import most of their dogs from other states or countries. At present, 300,000 dogs are imported from third-world countries every year, and they’re coming in with rabies and other zoonoses. If shelters in the South (as shown on the program in Ft. Worth) are killing their excess dogs, it is because they are not doing good outreach as taught by Nathan Winograd, founder of the No-Kill ethodology, and/or are not networking with Northern shelters to transport some of their excess dogs to where there is a greater demand for them. Other than dogs who are very old, seriously chronically ill, or bad-tempered, there is no reason to euthanize any dogs in the U.S.

6. The main reason cited for too many dogs for available homes was the failure of Americans to spay or castrate their dogs.

Answer: According to the current edition of the APPMA’s National Pet Survey, the bible of the pet supply industry, 75 percent of all owned dogs in the U.S. and 87 percent of all owned cats are spayed or castrated. Far from not spaying or castrating enough dogs, the numbers of intact dogs are so low at present that many breeds are at risk of extinction.

Animal Rights Activist Treated as Terrorist

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WARNING: The story and video below are unbelievably disturbing, on many, many levels. But, it is just too important an issue to ignore.

John Ehrenfeld has written the following very upseting post, but one that is very important in understanding.

After you tuck your kids in tonight, say a prayer and give thanks that George Bush and his intrepid band of warriors are tirelessly fighting the war on terror and defending our homeland. For thanks to their efforts, another dangerous terrorist no longer walks the streets among us.

For months the FBI clandestinely tracked the dangerous suspect, watching his every move and those of his friends. They tapped his phone, intercepting and recording more than eight thousand calls. They read his e-mails, they bagged his garbage, and they followed him everywhere he went. Finally, in May of 2004, the authorities felt they had enough and the suspect was indicted by a grand jury on federal charges of orchestrating an interstate campaign of terrorism and intimidation. A conviction would mean a $1,250,000 in fines and 23 years in prison. Warrants were issued, clips were loaded, and soon it was go time.

One cold, foggy morning a squad of hardened agents in black moved in on the terror suspect’s hideout near San Francisco as an agency helicopter flew cover overhead. Equipped with a battering ram and heavily armed, the agents easily secured the premises, the terror suspect was taken into custody and the country exhaled a collective sigh of relief.

Then the questions started. Who was this terrorist that the government spent so many millions of dollars pursuing? In what country was he trained? How did he get here? What God does such an evil man worship? The average American would be shocked to know the answer.

It turns out that the suspect was not a terrorist at all. His name was Kevin Kjonaas, a born in the USA, twenty-something, Catholic school grad who worked at a doggy daycare. His crime? Being president of SHAC USA, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty an animal rights group dedicated to shutting down Huntingdon Life Sciences, the New Jersey based British company who tests products on animals.

Every year HLS kills about 180,000 beagle dogs, mice, primates, rabbits, cats, farm animals like goats, chickens, sheep, guinea pigs, and rats to test a range of products from diet drugs, toothpastes, tanning lotions, food supplements like Splenda, adhesives and pesticides. The animals in the testing process, endure weeks, months, and sometimes years of isolation, poisoning, and violently invasive experiments.

What were the specifics that warranted Kjonaas to be labeled a terrorist? Surely to be labeled a terrorist and to be facing most of his life in prison, he must have done something pretty evil. Not even close.

Kjonaas, and six other animal rights activists were convicted on March 2, 2006, under the controversial Federal Animal Enterprise Protection Act. The Act punishes anyone who “physically disrupts” an animal enterprise. Kjonaas and his colleagues fought to stop the torturing and live dissection of animals, many of which were household pets. He posted the home addresses and telephone numbers of Huntingdon employees on the group’s website and sometimes Kjonaas helped organize protests in front of workers’ homes. When he couldn’t make it to a demonstration, he posted other people’s accounts of the event, seeing himself as a conduit for information.

The bottom-line, these activists are alleged to have operated a website that reported on and expressed ideological support for protest activity against Huntingdon. That was it.

Support the SHAC 7! Their prosecution and incarceration is just another example of the Bush administration’s relentless pursuit of their corporate agenda and their defense of those pursuing wealth at the expense of others. Let no one be fooled, this is not fighting terrorism; this is an assault on freedoms accorded all Americans by the constitution and a way to silence them using the fraudulent war on terror as an excuse.

Kevin Kjonaas is not only not a terrorist, he is an American hero and it’s critical that all social and political progressives and activists support people like Kevin. Please spread the word, contribute to his defense fund and take a moment to send him a letter in prison.

Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) is one of the world’s largest animal-testing labs. It operates two facilities in England and one in East Millstone, NJ. Animals are forced to inhale and ingest excessive amounts of chemicals such as pesticides, coffee sweeteners, diet pills and genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), for weeks or months on end. Then they are killed and dissected. Products known to have been tested at HLS include Splenda, Viagra, Olestra, and Baycol. Every day an average of 500 animals – including dogs, cats, mice, primates and rabbits – die inside HLS

HLS has been exposed in five undercover investigations revealing vicious animal cruelty and sloppy, fraudulent science. Among other atrocities, workers were exposed punching 4-month-old beagle puppies in the face, dissecting a live monkey, falsifying scientific data, and violating Good Laboratory Practice laws over 600 times.

Besides the fact that HLS tests frivolous products such as tanning lotion and weed killers, many M.D.s and scientists are speaking out against animal research as an outdated and dangerous form of pseudo-science (driven primarily by tradition and financial incentives). They argue that enormous physiological variations exist between species, making it impossible to extrapolate experimental results from one species (i.e. a rat or a monkey) to another (i.e. humans). They cite examples like Thalidomide, which was deemed “safe” in animal tests, but caused horrendous birth defects in humans.

Animal research wastes limited research funds, which could instead be directed towards more reliable forms of research such as cell cultures, non-invasive imaging, and epidemiological studies. Jonas Salk, inventor of the Polio vaccine, stated that his efforts were held up for 20 years due to misleading results in studies of non-human primates.

HLS researchers themselves have been caught by investigators stating that their research is “only reliable 5-25% of the time.” What about the other 75-95% of the time? When a worker was questioned as to whether an experimental procedure was done correctly he replied, “Nope. Not supposed to, never saw it, never did it, can’t prove it.” Vivisection in its truest form.

The SHAC7 are 6 activists and a corporation, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA Inc., that have been found guilty of multiple federal felonies for their alleged role in simply campaigning to close down the notorious animal testing lab, Huntingdon Life Sciences. Five of the individuals are currently in federal prison (the sixth, Darius Fullmer, has been released, after completing his one year sentence). They are not accused of actually smashing windows, liberating animals or even attending demonstrations, rather reporting on and encouraging others to engage in legal demonstrations and supporting the ideology of direct action.

After being found guilty, they are beginning their appeal. Unfortunately this appeal will be done from prison. During their stay they need your support! Finances, spreading the word about their case, books, letters or just a friendly ‘hello’! It just takes a few minutes to brighten the lives of political prisoners!

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Learn more about responsible medical research.

The following is contact information for those who can make a difference. Please consider getting in touch with them.

Financial Supporters:

John Thain
CEO
NYSE Group, Inc.
20 Broad Street
New York, NY 10005
212.656.3000
jthain@nyse.com

Lloyd Blankfein
Chairman & CEO
Goldman Sachs Group. Inc.
85 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004
212.902.1000
e-mail: Lloyd.Blankfein@gs.com

Major Investors:

Christopher “Kip” Condron
Head of North American Operations
AXA Financial
1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10104
212.554.1234
e-mail: christopher.condron@axa-financial.com

Ken Thompson
Chairman, President & CEO
Wachovia Corporation
One Wachovia Center
Charlotte, NC 28288
800.922.4684 (800.WACHOVIA)
Ken.Thompson@wachovia.com

HLS CUSTOMERS:

James D. Robinson III
Chairman
Bristol-Myers Squibb
345 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10154
1.212.546.4000
e-mail: james.robinson@bms.com

Derryck Maughan
Director
GlaxoSmithKline
200 N. 16th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
1.215.751.1300

As always, please keep all correspondence polite and informative. Let them know what they are enabling.

Golden Retriever Princess is now safe at home

This story from Bill Cornwell, editor and publisher of The Facts, has a happy ending but it brings up some very tragic circumstances related to dog-fighting and how weaker and mild-mannered dogs are used as bait for aggressive breeds ready to fight in the ring.

Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue, a not-for-profit organization that rescues retrievers, helped with this golden ending.

It is an understatement to say reuniting Princess with her family was gratifying. There wasn’t a dry eye among the adults present when Princess bounded into her family’s car and happily rode away.

Certainly, identification tags would have made our search for Princess’ owners much easier, and perhaps a microchip implant might have directed her owners to us much quicker. Still, it is impossible to guard against every scenario. In the case of Princess, her owner thinks it was loose fence boards and noise from nearby construction that caused her to bolt from her yard.

Losing a pet to the unknown is perhaps one of the most painful feelings a pet owner can experience, and with people the likes of Michael Vick out there, the unknown just got a lot more worrisome.

Golden Retriever Riley – Victim of a divorce-related dispute

Riley With Family
Photos by Patrick Raycraft

It is sad to think that such a sweet family has been impacted in such a way, but Riley is among the first beneficiaries of a new Connecticut law that allows judges to issue protective orders on behalf of pets.

 

On Sept. 24, a Superior Court judge in Manchester ordered that the South Windsor dog be protected from Cassandra Reynolds, who police say had kicked the animal the day before. Believing the law was already in effect, a prosecutor asked that Riley be added to the list of parties with whom Reynolds, who lives in Manchester, must have no contact.

The order lists Riley, a family pet, as a “protected person” along with Brian Reynolds, Cassandra Reynolds’ ex-husband, and Mary Ann Reynolds, his new wife. Cassandra Reynolds must refrain from coming within 100 yards of all three, it states.

Riley, a 6-month-old golden retriever has been issued a protective order by Manchester Superior Court Judge Bradford Ward as the result of a domestic case involving the dog's owner, Brian Reynolds, and his ex-wife, Cassandra Reynolds.
Just look at Riley’s sweet 6-month-old face!

Can someone explain this? It is downright hideous.

We have all seen the articles talking about the relationship between melamine and cyanuric acid (Scientists track chemical reactions in pet food).

And, I’ve learned that Feed Grade Biuret, which is allowed in feed, is a non-protein nitrogen “protein booster” for use in cattle feed. It is produced by the partial hydrolysis of urea and consists of a mixture of: Biuret, Urea, Cyanuric acid and Triuret. Like Wheat Gluten and Rice Protein Concentrate, Feed Grade Biuret is a white powder. It was implicated in this April, 2005 Chinese Gluten Importer website as being sold as a “Pseudo Rice Protein”.

Well, with the FDA allowing biuret, cyanuric acid and triuret (April 2006 update) as food additives in feed and the water of animals, we are all in big trouble.

Percent
Biuret — 55 minimum
Urea — 15 maximum
Cyanuric acid and triuret — 30 maximum
Mineral oil — 0.5 maximum
Total nitrogen (equivalent to 218.75 pct 35 minimum crude protein)
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Check out this part of the federal register about all of the additives allowed.

PART 573 Food Additives Permitted in Feed and Drinking Water of Animals

§ 573.120 – Acrylamide-acrylic acid resin.
§ 573.130 – Aminoglycoside 3′-phospho- transferase II.
§ 573.140 – Ammoniated cottonseed meal.
§ 573.160 – Ammoniated rice hulls.
§ 573.180 – Anhydrous ammonia.
§ 573.200 – Condensed animal protein hydrolysate.
§ 573.220 – Feed-grade biuret.
§ 573.225 – 1,3-Butylene glycol.
§ 573.240 – Calcium periodate.
§ 573.260 – Calcium silicate.
§ 573.280 – Feed-grade calcium stearate and sodium stearate.
§ 573.300 – Choline xanthate.
§ 573.310 – Crambe meal, heat toasted.
§ 573.320 – Diammonium phosphate.
§ 573.340 – Diatomaceous earth.
§ 573.360 – Disodium EDTA.
§ 573.380 – Ethoxyquin in animal feeds.
§ 573.400 – Ethoxyquin in certain dehydrated forage crops.
§ 573.420 – Ethyl cellulose.
§ 573.440 – Ethylene dichloride.
§ 573.450 – Fermented ammoniated condensed whey.
§ 573.460 – Formaldehyde.
§ 573.480 – Formic acid.
§ 573.500 – Condensed, extracted glutamic acid fermentation product.
§ 573.520 – Hemicellulose extract.
§ 573.530 – Hydrogenated corn syrup.
§ 573.540 – Hydrolyzed leather meal.
§ 573.560 – Iron ammonium citrate.
§ 573.580 – Iron-choline citrate complex.
§ 573.600 – Lignin sulfonates.
§ 573.620 – Menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfite.
§ 573.625 – Menadione nicotinamide bisulfite.
§ 573.640 – Methyl esters of higher fatty acids.
§ 573.660 – Methyl glucoside-coconut oil ester.
§ 573.680 – Mineral oil.
§ 573.685 – Natamycin.
§ 573.700 – Sodium nitrite.
§ 573.720 – Petrolatum.
§ 573.740 – Odorless light petroleum hydrocarbons.
§ 573.750 – Pichia pastoris dried yeast.
§ 573.760 – Poloxalene.
§ 573.780 – Polyethylene.
§ 573.800 – Polyethylene glycol (400) mono- and dioleate.
§ 573.820 – Polyoxyethylene glycol (400) mono- and dioleates.
§ 573.840 – Polysorbate 60.
§ 573.860 – Polysorbate 80.
§ 573.870 – Poly(2-vinylpyridine-co-styrene).
§ 573.880 – Normal propyl alcohol.
§ 573.900 – Pyrophyllite.
§ 573.914 – Salts of volatile fatty acids.
§ 573.920 – Selenium.
§ 573.940 – Silicon dioxide.
§ 573.960 – Sorbitan monostearate.
§ 573.980 – Taurine.
§ 573.1000 – Verxite.
§ 573.1010 – Xanthan gum.
§ 573.1020 – Yellow prussiate of soda.

Pet Food & Human Food Crisis …. Saga for years to come (with continuing updates)

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If only this mess could be relieved by the calming sucks on a pacifier ….

Here are some wonderful articles and a marvelous link to an evolving page that has created a summary of the current crisis:

1. Wikipedia’s 2007 Pet Food Crisis Outline

2. The Coalition for a Stronger FDA

3. Rise and shine: the GM wake-up call

4. U.S. Contaminated Pet Food Investigation Update: Phantoms at large in the poisoned pet food tragedy

5. YOUR WHOLE PET: Is Your Pet’s Food Safe Yet? Why pet owners are worried, and why that’s not likely to change soon

6. Washington Post Article Collection: Pet Food Recall

7. Pet Deaths Spur Call for Better FDA Screening: Imports Raise Concern About Human Foods

8. Senate back tighter pet food standards

9. Hey, FDA, here’s a tip for you

10. Senator Dick Durbin on Pet Food Recall & FDA

Oversight Hearing on the FDA’s Mission: Waxman’s Opening

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing today: “The FDA’s Vital Mission and Challenges for the Future.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays a large and influential role in the health and safety of the American people. The FDA is responsible for ensuring that drugs and devices are safe and effective, and that food is uncontaminated and properly labeled. This hearing marks the first of a series designed to bring competence and efficiency back to federal agencies.

Food Safety? Sorry to say but there is none …. for any of us!

FDA widens Chinese import alert
By Elizabeth Weise and Julie Schmit, USA TODAY

 

The Food and Drug Administration is enforcing a new import alert that greatly expands its curtailment of some food ingredients imported from China, authorizing border inspectors to detain ingredients used in everything from noodles to breakfast bars. The new restriction is likely to cause delays in the delivery of raw ingredients for the production of many commonly used products. …

The agency for the first time also said it has received reports, which it has yet to confirm, that approximately 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died after eating contaminated food. The only number of pet deaths that the FDA has confirmed thus far is 14.

An import alert of this breadth is rare. Before this new FDA action, only products from two Chinese companies that exported the melamine-tainted wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate had been detained.

Now for the products to reach U.S. foodmakers, the importers will have to prove to the FDA that they are safe. The ingredients restricted include wheat gluten, rice gluten, rice protein, rice protein concentrate, corn gluten, corn gluten meal, corn by-products, soy protein, soy gluten, mung-bean protein and amino acids.

___________________________________________________________

From the above article, you’d think that the FDA was finally getting to work. But, after reading the remarks below, maybe you will think again.

1. Did you know that the FDA does no testing to prevent adulterated imported food from entering the US?

2. Did you know that when food is actually denied entry it is often brought to another U.S. port and then admitted?

3. Did you know that FDA’s current practice is to tell food importers whether their shipments will be inspected even before the shipment is put on a boat or a plane for delivery to a U.S. port of entry?

4. Did you know that the FDA lacks the authority to “trace back” food borne illness beyond the border?

5. Did you know that the FDA does not have mandatory recall authority? That is, if a recall is believed appropriate, the only thing it can do is ask the states to use their recall authority to take a particular food article out of commerce.

6. Did you know we have no mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for meat, poultry, seafood and fresh produce? A voluntary program is a joke as every major packer and retailer is not participating and labeling their products.

7. Did you know that the FDA is unable to prohibit importation of food from foreign food firms or foreign governments that deny it the ability to perform an inspection there? They also are unable to prohibit importation from countries, such as China, that do not provide the same level of food safety protection as the U.S.

8. Did you know, that as of 2002, there were only 150 FDA inspectors covering the 307 ports of entry where food now enters the U.S.?
_____________________________________________________________

Just read this … and weep … because our Republican congress has sat on needed food safety legislation.

 

REMARKS OF THE HONORABLE JOHN D. DINGELL
RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE
BEFORE THE CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA’S
25TH ANNUAL NATIONAL FOOD POLICY CONFERENCE 2002
“FOOD SAFETY AND THE BIOTERRORISM LEGISLATION”
APRIL 23, 2002

Thank you for inviting me to speak today before the 25th Annual National Food Policy Conference sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America. I salute the members of CFA who dedicate themselves to advocating for, and educating consumers on, a wide range of issues, both nationally and at the state level.

This is the largest group of food safety advocates I have ever had the opportunity to address, and for that I want to sincerely thank you. For the past five years, I have had the pleasure of working with Carol Tucker Foreman, Caroline Smith DeWaal and other consumer food safety advocates on improving the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) inspection and regulation of imported food.

This conference is particularly relevant to the current work of Congress, in particular defending our Nation’s food supply against threat of terrorist attack. Important work is being done in the House-Senate conference on bioterrorism, and I hope that you will lend your voice to the urgent need for additional resources to improve the safety of our food system.

We knew that something as important as strengthening the Nation’s food safety system would not be an easy task. But the difference now is that the issue is finally getting attention, from the public, the press, from government, and from both proponents and opponents of strong food safety measures. My hope is that this attention will translate to action.

All the past work done by this great organization of consumer advocates, and by all those represented here today, is now paying off. You have an audience that is listening. Much more will be demanded of you in the future as we fight to keep food safety at the forefront of public attention.

In each of the past two congresses, most of my Democratic colleagues on the Committee on Energy and Commerce have joined me in sponsoring legislation aimed at improving the safety of imported food that Americans eat.

Unfortunately, few others have shared our enthusiasm for acknowledging and taking steps to address the threats to food safety generally, and in particular threats to the safety of imported food. The legislation I have introduced in this and past Congresses has not received so much as a hearing. Then came September 11th, and instantly our vulnerabilities as a Nation were exposed to the alarm of everyone. For the first time, we had a Secretary of Health and Human Services say there is a need to take steps to detect the intentional adulteration of food coming into the United States and to prevent entry of food which presents risk of injury to American consumers.

From that came the bioterrorism bills that passed both the House and the Senate. The bioterrorism legislation is clearly the most important food safety legislation to be considered by the Congress in years. It has new money and much needed new authorities for FDA to improve its regulation of imported food. This legislation, for the first time, gives FDA authority to act independently at the border. FDA would no longer need to rely on the Department of the Treasury either for information about food at the border or for the ability to detain shipments it suspects are adulterated.

For those of us who advocate stronger food safety protections, our first and most important challenge is to make sure Congress passes the bioterrorism bill with the strongest possible food safety provisions. Although I am generally pleased with the work the conference is doing, I would be less than candid if I did not say I’m more than a little concerned at how long the conference is taking. And the longer it is before agreement is reached, the more opportunity there is for those who don’t want a strong food safety bill to undermine our work.

Furthermore, it should be remembered that the bioterrorism legislation is a big bill. Food safety is only one of several titles in the legislation. While the conference is closer to agreement on food safety than on some other titles of the bill, agreement on the whole bill must be reached before the food safety provisions can be enacted into law.

All who care about food safety should now be making your voices heard. The conferees need to know that you have high expectations for the work they are doing and very long memories should they fail. American consumers have for too long been treated like guinea pigs. A successful bioterrorism conference is critical to defending our food supply.

But, the bioterrorism legislation is only one step in the right direction. Once the bioterrorism legislation becomes law, and I am hopeful it will become law, much will still need to be done on food safety. A high priority for all food safety advocates must be building on and sustaining the concern about food safety that last year’s horrific events created. Active grassroots support will be needed to maintain the momentum for greater food safety.

This afternoon, I want to give you an overview of my food safety goals in the bioterrorism conference. Before I do, however, it’s important to understand what the regulation of imported food looks like today. And I know you will not be surprised that it is not a pretty picture.

As bad as you may believe FDA controls are at the border, the reality is they are much worse than you think. As a result, imported food that is intentionally or unintentionally adulterated is much more likely to end up on America’s dinner table than it is to be detected and held at the border. This is true largely because FDA doesn’t have enough inspectors at ports of entry, but FDA’s own practices and lack of authority make matters worse.

FDA does no testing to prevent adulterated imported food from entering the United States. It should. And when food is actually denied entry it is often brought to another U.S. port and admitted.

FDA’s current practice is to tell food importers whether their shipments will be inspected even before the shipment is put on a boat or a plane for delivery to a U.S. port of entry. This must stop.

FDA lacks authority to “trace back” food borne illness beyond the border. Congress must provide that authority.

And FDA often lacks timely information. Consider this: 54 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables that come into the U.S. enter at either the Canadian or Mexican border. Yet FDA gets no documentation on more than 10 percent of all food imports entering the United States from Mexico or Canada until 10 days after the food arrives in this country. By then, the food very likely has been eaten. That is almost certainly true in the case of fresh fruit and vegetable imports. We must do better.

But the most pressing problem is straightforward — resources. Currently, there are only 150 FDA inspectors to cover the 307 ports of entry where food now enters the U.S. If there is no FDA inspector present when imported food arrives at a U.S. port, that food is allowed into the U.S. and is eaten by American consumers without FDA so much as reviewing its paperwork.

It would take six times the current number of inspectors just to put one FDA inspector at each port on a full-time basis. It is clear that we cannot detect adulterated imported food at the border unless we have inspectors at the border to inspect and examine shipments of food coming into the United States. More inspectors are needed, and they are needed now.

Over the last five years, the volume of food imported into the U.S. has almost doubled, forcing FDA to admit it is “in danger of being overwhelmed by the volume of products reaching U.S. ports.” With more imports reaching U.S. ports, FDA’s inspection rate for imported food has fallen from eight percent in 1992 to less than one percent last year. At a minimum, FDA needs to be inspecting 10 percent of food imports, and that can only happen if FDA is given greater resources than even the bioterrorism bill envisions.

That’s what things look like today, and here are my goals for the bioterrorism conference:

FDA must have the ability to detain food, at the border and elsewhere, on its own authority. And when no inspector is present at a port of entry, FDA needs the ability to order food held until an inspector can be dispatched to the location. Before imported food can be seized now, FDA must first convince the Justice Department to initiate a case on its behalf, and then Justice has to convince a judge that the seizure is warranted. That’s unacceptable, and the bioterrorism legislation must give FDA this needed authority.

FDA needs to know in advance when food is going to be presented for importation. At the same time, notice must not be given so far in advance that shippers learn whether their shipments will be inspected even before they are ready for transport to the U.S. Unless FDA receives adequate advance notice that a shipment of food is coming to port, it faces a serious handicap in being able to determine whether that shipment should be detained. FDA needs to know what is being imported, the manufacturer and shipper of the article being imported, and if known, the grower of the article, the country of origin, the country from which the article is shipped, and the anticipated port of entry. Without this basic information submitted sufficiently in advance of the food’s arrival, FDA cannot effectively evaluate when a shipment of imported food may present a threat of serious illness or death.

FDA needs to have inspectors present when food comes through a U.S. port of entry. There is no substitute for on-site examination of product and product documentation that can only be performed effectively by a trained, inquisitive, inspection professional. The Administration says it can hire 600 new inspectors with the funds authorized by the bioterrorism legislation. That’s a big increase over the 150 FDA inspectors who must now cover 307 ports of entry. But even this sizeable increase in the inspection force will ensure that only one inspector will be on duty at all times at all 307 ports. That’s a good start, but it’s not enough. And it’s not at all clear to me that the 600 new inspectors will actually be hired. We will need to address the adequacy of FDA’s inspection force again in the future, and I hope I can count on your support for making sure FDA has the inspectors it needs to do a thorough and effective job at the borders.

FDA also needs to know who it is regulating. Today it does not know this. Sounds like a simple enough proposal, but it has caused much controversy. To remedy this deficiency, both the House and Senate bioterrorism bills provide that every food warehouse, factory, or establishment must register with the FDA and provide its name and address. Access to records gives FDA its best chance of identifying food that is adulterated, intentionally or not. For this reason, a strong recordkeeping and records access provision must be retained in the conference bill.

Other important new powers I expect the conference bill to provide include the ability for FDA to “debar” importers who are convicted of felonies in connection with the importation of food into the U.S. or who repeatedly offer adulterated food for importation. FDA also needs the authority to mark food it does not permit to be imported with a “refused entry” stamp so that if the importer tries to bring a rejected shipment of food through another U.S. port, inspectors can readily identify it as having already been “refused entry.” And to make sure food that has been refused entry stays out, such food must be deemed to be adulterated, allowing FDA to bring legal action to stop the food itself.

We must also develop rapid test technologies that will allow inspectors to detect contaminants on imported food right at the border. Currently, inspectors don’t even bother to test imported food because it can take up to two weeks to get test results back, and by that time the food has most likely already been eaten by American consumers.

These new authorities and resources that I expect to be included in the bioterrorism bill will be a great start. But in the coming years, more will be needed.

My ongoing goals for food safety include the following:

FDA needs, but does not have, mandatory recall authority. If FDA believes a recall is appropriate today, the only thing it can do is ask the states to use their recall authority to take a particular food article out of commerce. It is very interesting that all but one state has food recall authority, but FDA does not.

FDA needs a user fee to fund the additional cost of inspecting imported food. This would insure a steady revenue stream for much needed inspectors and tests to detect pathogens at the border.

Imported food regulated by the FDA should be labeled to identify its country of origin. American consumers have a right to know whether their food was grown halfway around the world or at the local farm down the street.

FDA needs, but does not have, the ability to file a seizure action without the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice does not always have the same priorities as FDA, and as a result, FDA enforcement suffers along with the safety of our food supply.

If a foreign food firm or foreign government denies FDA the ability to perform an inspection in a foreign country, or if the foreign country does not provide the same level of food safety protection as the U.S., then FDA should be able to prohibit importation of food from that country. Either FDA can establish with some certainty the safety of imported food, or it cannot. And if it cannot, the food should not be allowed into the U.S.

These deficiencies, which we were unable to resolve in the bioterrorism bill, must be addressed in the future. The legislation my Democratic colleagues on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and I have introduced contains many of these additional authorities that FDA very much needs. H.R. 3075, the “Imported Food Safety Act” that so many in this room have supported, needs your help. I urge you to contact your Members of Congress and encourage them to cosponsor this important legislation.

The key to being able to do these important things in the future lies right here in this room. You must not let the American people, the Congress, or the Administration forget how vulnerable our food supply is. We must not wait for the unthinkable to happen again before we do what is needed to protect the safety of our food, both imported and domestic. Our window of opportunity to do something important is still open. Don’t let it close without getting the job done. I pledge my efforts to this cause. Together we can make it happen.

Thank you.

Prepared by the Democratic staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee
2322 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

Just the tip of the iceberg

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How one supplier caused a huge crisis, and why it’s just the tip of the iceberg
CHARLIE GILLIS AND ANNE KINGSTON, Macleans.ca, April 30, 2007

Sometime in the next couple of years, when the public gaze has drifted from the tainted pet food epidemic and we’ve all forgotten what melamine is, a judge in Ohio or California or Ontario will take up the daunting question of what a dog or cat is worth. There was considerable legal debate on this topic even before the current uproar. But if an animal’s curative effect on the human heart plays any part in the calculation, the courts might start at a small house in Floral Park, N.Y., where the wounds wrought by the poisoning epidemic will stay raw for a long time to come.

Read on for the rest of the story . . . . 

 

Our pitiful FDA at work …. or lack thereof –Updated

Additive that tainted U.S. pet food is commonly used in China
By David Barboza and Alexei Barrionuevo, International Herald Tribune, April 29, 2007

ZHANGQIU, China: American food safety regulators trying to figure out how an industrial chemical called melamine contaminated so much pet food in the United States might come to this heavily polluted city in Shandong Province in the northern part of the country.

Here at the Shandong Mingshui Great Chemical Group factory, huge boiler vats are turning coal into melamine, which is used to create plastics and fertilizer.

But the leftover melamine scrap, small acorn-sized chunks of white rock, is then being sold to local entrepreneurs, who say they secretly mix a powdered form of the scrap into animal feed to artificially enhance the protein level.

The melamine powder has been dubbed “fake protein” and is used to deceive those who raise animals into thinking they are buying feed that provides higher nutrition value. “It just saves money,” says a manager at an animal feed factory here. “Melamine scrap is added to animal feed to boost the protein level.”

The practice is widespread in China. For years animal feed sellers have been able to cheat buyers by blending the powder into feed with little regulatory supervision, according to interviews with melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.

Unfortunately, there’s lots more to this story . . . .

Updated: The above link to the rest of the story has become non-functional, so in the interest of providing this important information, I am providing the rest of the text to the article below:

But now, melamine is at the center of a massive, multinational pet food recall after it was linked earlier this month to the deaths and injuries of thousands of cats and dogs in the United States and South Africa.

No one knows exactly how melamine – which had not been believed to be particularly toxic – became so fatal in pet food, but its presence in any form of American food is illegal.

U.S. regulators are now headed to China to figure out why pet food ingredients imported from here, including wheat gluten, were contaminated with high levels of the chemical.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned imports of wheat gluten from China and ordered the recall of over 60 million packages of pet food. And last week, the agency opened a criminal investigation in the case and searched the offices of at least one pet food supplier.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also stepped in Thursday, ordering more than 6,000 hogs to be quarantined or slaughtered after some of the pet food ingredients laced with melamine were accidentally sent to hog farms in eight states, including California.

Scientists are now trying to determine whether melamine could be harmful to human health.

The huge pet food recall is raising questions in the United States about regulatory controls at a time when food supplies are increasingly being sourced globally. Some experts complain that the FDA is understaffed and underfunded, making it incapable of safeguarding America’s food supply.

“They have fewer people inspecting product at the ports than ever before,” says Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington. “Until China gets programs in place to verify the safety of their products, they need to be inspected by U.S. inspectors. This open-door policy on food ingredients is an open invitation for an attack on the food supply, either intentional or unintentional.”

The pet food case is also putting China’s agricultural exports under greater scrutiny because the country’s dubious food safety record and history of excessive antibiotic and pesticide use.

In recent years, for instance, China’s food safety scandals have involved everything from fake baby milk formulas and soy sauce made from human hair, to instances where cuttlefish were soaked in calligraphy ink to improve their color and eels were fed contraceptive pills to make them grow long and slim.

China’s government disputes any suggestion that melamine from the country could have killed pets. But Friday, regulators here banned the use of melamine in vegetable proteins made for export or for use in domestic food supplies.

Yet it is clear from visiting this region of northern China is that for years melamine has been quietly mixed into Chinese animal feed and then sold to unsuspecting farmers as protein-rich pig, poultry and fish feed.

Many animal feed operators advertise on the Internet seeking to purchase melamine scrap. And melamine scrap producers and traders said in recent interviews that they often sell to animal feed makers.

“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” says Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”

(Page 2 of 2)

Most local feed companies do not admit that they use melamine. But last Friday here in Zhangqiu, a fast-growing industrial city southeast of Beijing, a pair of animal feed producers explained in great detail how they purchase low-grade wheat, corn, soybean or other proteins and then mix in small portions of nitrogen-rich melamine, whose chemical properties give a bag of animal feed an inflated protein level under standard tests.

Melamine is the new scam of choice, they say, because urea – another nitrogen-rich chemical that works similarly – is illegal for use in pig and poultry feed and can be easily tested for in China as well as the United States.

“If you add it in small quantities, it won’t hurt the animals,” said one animal feed entrepreneur whose name is being withheld to protect him from prosecution.

The man – who works in a small animal feed operation that consists of a handful of storage and mixing areas – said he has mixed melamine into animal feed for years.

He said he was not currently using melamine, which is actually made from urea. But he then pulled out a plastic bag containing what he said was melamine powder and said he could dye it any color.

Asked whether he could create an animal feed and melamine brew, he said yes, he has access to huge supplies of melamine. Using melamine-spiked pet food ingredient was not a problem, he said, even thought the product would be weak in protein.

“Pets are not like pigs or chickens,” he said casually, explaining that cheating them on protein won’t matter. “They don’t need to grow fast.”

The feed seller makes a heftier profit because the substitute melamine scrap is much cheaper than purchasing soy, wheat or corn protein.

“It’s true you can make a lot more profit by putting melamine in,” said a second animal feed seller here in Zhangqiu. “Melamine will cost you about $1.20 per ton for each protein count whereas real protein costs you about $6, so you can see the difference.”

Few people outside of agriculture know about melamine here. The Chinese media, which is strictly censored, has not reported much about melamine or the pet food recall overseas. And no one in agriculture here seems to believe that melamine is particularly harmful to animals or pets in small doses.

A man named Jing, who works in the sales department at the Shandong Mingshui Great Chemical Group, said Friday that melamine scrap prices had been rising but he was not aware of how the company’s product was being used.

“We have an auction for melamine scrap every three months,” he said. “I haven’t heard of it being added to animal feed. It’s not for animal feed.”

David Barboza reported from Zhangqiu and Alexei Barrionuevo reported from Chicago. Rujun Shen also contributed reporting.

My Pet Counts! Postcard Blitz

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My Pet Counts! Postcard Blitz (from Companions for Life)

We are calling on all pet owners, parents, guardians who have lost a pet due to contaminated pet food to join us in a post card blitz to demonstrate the full scope of this pet food recall disaster. The FDA continues to publicize only “16 confirmed deaths.” This number has often been repeated by the media. Reliable sources report that the number of pet deaths are and will be much higher – most likely in the thousands. In fact, 4,474 pets have been reported as deceased in the Pet Connection database.

If you want your pet’s death to count for something good, please join the My Pet Counts! Post Card Blitz.

Who: Anyone who has lost a pet due to contaminated pet food.

What: Post cards may have a picture of your pet, or can be blank. Purchase cards or design your own. Each set of postcards represents one pet. If you have lost multiple pets, send multiple cards to each address. Only one set of postcards per dead pet, please. Postcards ONLY, this is to ensure the mail is delivered with no security delay.

Where: No need to leave home. You can mail your postcards from your own mailbox.

When: All postcards should be mailed on Saturday, April 28th. This coincides with the national march organized by KOPS (Keep Our Pets Safe). If all postcards are mailed on the same day, the impact will be all the greater when received at the other end.

Why: By sticking to the “only 16 confirmed deaths” wording this disaster is being grossly minimized. The word must get out!

How: Mail a postcard to each of the addresses provided. The message should be very short, easy to read, no anger, profanity, or rudeness of any kind. Let them see your grief. Tug at their heartstrings. Use your pet’s name. Use the words “My Pet Counts!”

Post card Mailing List:
Marcia K. Larkins, D.V.M
FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine
Ombudsman
7519 Standish Place HFV-7
Rockville, MD 20855

Senator Richard Durbin
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Your own senator: addresses at http://tinyurl.com/b1lm

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Anderson Cooper
c/o CNN
One CNN Center
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2762

For more information – http://www.petconnection.com/category/2007-food-recall/

Please cross post this message and send this on to family and friends. Thank you!

Pet Food Recall Must Lead to a Revolution — with handy shopping chart!

Pet Food Recall Must Lead to a Revolution
The Honest Kitchen Provides Educational Resources to Help Owners Select and Prepare Healthy Foods

By Lucy Postins, Canine nutritionist for The Honest Kitchen, a San Diego pet food manufacturer whose human-grade, dehydrated raw diets are produced in a human food facility, not in a pet food plant.

SAN DIEGO, April 20 /PRNewswire/ — The huge, tragic surge in companion animal illness and fatalities in recent months continues to stun pet owners across the nation. As investigators attempt to unearth the cause, there is a hope that those animals who have lost their lives or been sickened from eating contaminated products, won’t have done so in vain.

The pet food revolution must begin. The industry needs to stop chortling at the fact that pet owners see their pets as members of the family, and address the truth: Pets don’t deserve food that is unfit for people. Pets deserve quality. Pets trust us with their lives and they deserve wholesome, healthy, safe food that is manufactured under higher scrutiny. Manufacturers and their suppliers need to be accountable, and integrity must prevail.

The recall has at least served to enlighten pet owners about the perils of feeding conventional, feed-grade products to their companions — and now owners are hyper-vigilant, on high alert for any adverse health conditions. Now, people understand how diet can affect health, and pet guardians are eager to learn about how to feed their animal companions more healthfully.

Humans don’t expect to maintain optimal health on a diet that consists entirely of breakfast cereal or fast food — and it stands to reason that the same holds true for other species, too.

The incidence of cancer in pets has increased directly in proportion to the introduction of commercial, low quality foods during the 1940’s and 50’s. Even before this terrible recall, kidney disease was already the leading cause of death in cats and 25% of dogs were thought to have some form of this condition. (Source: Goldsteins’ Wellness & Longevity Program).

The link has been made between a highly-processed diet that contains by products, fractions of foods (versus whole foods), laden with chemicals and fillers, and the resultant, less than perfect health. When fed as the sole diet day after day, fast ‘convenience’ food eventually leads to an increased risk of illness, including renal problems, digestive issues, dental decay, hypo-thyroidism and urinary tract disease. http://www.api4animals.org/facts?p=359&more=1 is an excellent resource.

Newspaper articles have cautioned owners not to feed home cooked or raw diets. For those who have been raising their animals to lead long, healthy lives by doing so for many years, this information is most irritating.

It certainly takes some homework to prepare balanced, nutritional meals (The Whole Dog Journal is an excellent resource) — but it’s not all that much trickier than providing our children with wholesome nutrition, when a broad array of foods is offered throughout the week.

While raw diets can present a minimal risk of contamination or trauma when stored or handled incorrectly, or fed improperly, these ‘innovative’ approaches to nutrition may be the key to better health when prepared and served mindfully.

The risks of acute or chronic detrimental effects on health, from feeding low grade commercial canned and extruded foods far outweigh the slight risks from other options.

CLICK HERE for a ‘clip and carry’ table that outlines ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ of pet food. Pet owners should try to purchase diets that contain ingredients only found in the ‘Good’ column.

Golden Retriever Elli’s mom receives an apology – Update

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Disabled L.I. Lawyer Says Court Frowned on Her Service Dog
1010 WINS Boroughs and ‘Burbs pages: Long Island, Photo by Mona Rivera

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — A disabled lawyer has received an apology after being asked to wait outside the courtroom with her service dog, 1010 WINS has learned. …

Waters was given an apology from the department and was promised it would never happen again, 1010 WINS reported.

[This is an update to our previous post on Jeanie and Eli.]

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2nd update: Lawyer’s service dog can return to court
BY EDEN LAIKIN, Newsday
April 20, 2007, 5:58 PM EDT

Elli will have her day in court. The 9-year-old golden retriever, who was barred from a county courtroom this week with her owner — a quadriplegic attorney — will be allowed access in the future. And so will other disabled residents who require the help of trained service or guide dogs.

In a telephone call Friday, Pat Reilly, the executive director of the Nassau County Traffic Violations Agency, apologized to Jeanie Waters after staffers denied access to Elli, and assured her that the episode would not be repeated.

“Customer service is my highest priority and if someone is not treated fairly, I make every attempt to investigate and get back to them and apologize for the agency if they feel like they had a bad experience,” Reilly said.

“That’s all I wanted,” Waters of Rockville Centre responded. “I couldn’t imagine this happening to somebody else … This was the first time in my life I could not convince someone to let me in.”

Reilly said she notified staffers, including the agency’s private security guards who stopped Elli from entering the courtroom on Tuesday, about protections under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act as well as agency protocols on service and guide-dogs.

Later, Waters got another interesting call — from state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). Skelos has been working with the state Division of Human Rights on legislation that would clarify existing laws regarding guide, hearing and service dogs.

The bill would define service dog as one “trained to work or perform specific tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability by a recognized hearing dog training center.”

Currently, it illegal to discriminate against a disabled person on the basis of his or her use of such a dog. “It’s to make sure that schools and courts won’t have the ability to hang their hat on some technicality,” said Tracy Lloyd, Skelos’ chief of staff. “We want to clean this up and make sure it doesn’t happen down the road.”

Service Golden Retriever Elli thrown out of court!

Skelos Presents Senate Achievers’ Award Rockville Centre Resident Jeanie Waters
Monday, June 5, 2006

New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) presented Ms. Jeanie Waters, Esq. from Rockville Centre with the New York State Senate Achievers’ Award during the 26th annual Senate Disability Awareness Day at the State Capitol in Albany on May 23rd. This award recognizes the recipient’s ability to overcome personal and physical challenges and celebrates both their accomplishments and contributions to the community.

“Jeanie is an achiever in every sense of the word and is truly deserving of this award,” said Senator Skelos. “She is an inspiration who hasn’t allowed her physical limitations to limit her in any way and, by sharing her talent and time with young people, she’s helping them fulfill their potential.”

Ms. Waters was born with Muscular Dystrophy. At age 17, she broke her upper spine, paralyzing many of her lower body functions. Demonstrating leadership at a young age, she became a representative on the Rockville Centre Economic Opportunity Commission’s (“EOC”) Board of Directors. In addition, she helped start a new program promoting legal rights for handicapped youth.

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Now that you have a pretty good idea about how special Jeanie is, look at the treatment she recently got trying to do her job as an attorney. I think it puts it into such a better perspective.

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Lawyer’s dog has no day in court
BY EDEN LAIKIN, Newsday

Jeanie Waters, a quadriplegic attorney, has been around the world with her service dog, Elli. But the pair couldn’t get into a courtroom in Hempstead this week. Employees at the Nassau County Traffic Violations Agency on Tuesday night refused to let the 9-year-old golden retriever into the courtroom where her owner was to argue a case, said Waters, of Rockville Centre.

After Waters insisted that she could not be without the dog, agency staff allowed Waters to arrange a plea deal for her client in the hallway.

Officials at the traffic agency, however, deny that they refused Waters courtroom access. “We strongly recommended that the dog stay in an area where there were less people,” said David Rich, the agency’s chief deputy director. “There was a full waiting room, and we thought the dog might feel confined or people might be afraid of it.”

The agency’s executive director has since told security guards, who are supplied by a private company, that the next time someone comes in with a service dog to find a supervisor immediately.

Meanwhile, Waters, 48, is considering legal action and has retained a Hempstead attorney, Fred Brewington, who said the agency is offering excuses. “When government officials make a mistake, they have to learn that it’s all right to admit we made a mistake and we’ll do better, rather than engage in a shell game that is bound to lead to costing the taxpayers money,” he said.

It’s against state civil rights law to deny anyone with a disability and their service dogs access to public areas.

Waters, who suffered a spinal cord injury while fixing a car in 1984, said a police liaison at the courthouse said no dogs were allowed in the courtroom. The liaison said she would hold Elli while Waters went into the courtroom. “I said, ‘No, that’s why I have a service dog,'” said Waters, who added the arrangement was unacceptable. “She didn’t even know what a service dog was.”

Elli helps Waters, who also has muscular dystrophy, by pulling her wheelchair, holding her briefcase and picking up things she drops, Waters said. If she falls, the dog will either help her up or get someone to help. “Elli has been to other courthouses and jails,” Waters said. “She goes to church just about every week.” And they have been together to the traffic violations agency two or three times before, said Waters.

Waters got Elli seven years ago and they were trained to work together — Elli even turns lights on and helps do the laundry, Waters said. “People joke that Elli does the plea bargaining for me,” she said. “We go everywhere. It would be like saying: leave your wheelchair home and crawl in.”

A lax FDA – Pesticides and chemical fertilizers for us all

If you think you are safe and only a very small percentage of companion animals have been affected by our horrid food inspection regulatory process, please think again. They are closing the number of labs that inspect our human foods, which of course filters down to those facility services available for pets. I have talked about this now a few times (go here and here and here to read about all of this if you’ve missed my earlier posts)

China’s food safety woes now a global concern
Pet food crisis focuses attention on frightening potential health hazards

Associated Press

SHANGHAI, China – The list of Chinese food exports rejected at American ports reads like a chef’s nightmare: pesticide-laden pea pods, drug-laced catfish, filthy plums and crawfish contaminated with salmonella.

Yet, it took a much more obscure item, contaminated wheat gluten, to focus U.S. public attention on a very real and frightening fact: China’s chronic food safety woes are now an international concern.

In recent weeks, scores of cats and dogs in America have died of kidney failure blamed on eating pet food containing gluten from China that was tainted with melamine, a chemical used in plastics, fertilizers and flame retardants. While humans aren’t believed at risk, the incident has sharpened concerns over China’s food exports and the limited ability of U.S. inspectors to catch problem shipments.

“This really shows the risks of food purity problems combining with international trade,” said Michiel Keyzer, director of the Center for World Food Studies at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit.

Just as with manufactured goods, exports of meat, produce, and processed foods from China have soared in recent years, prompting outcries from foreign farm sectors that are feeling pinched by low Chinese prices. Worried about losing access to foreign markets and stung by tainted food products scandals at home, China has in recent years tried to improve inspections, with limited success.

The problems the government faces are legion. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used in excess to boost yields while harmful antibiotics are widely administered to control disease in seafood and livestock. Rampant industrial pollution risks introducing heavy metals into the food chain.

Farmers have used cancer-causing industrial dye Sudan Red to boost the value of their eggs and fed an asthma medication to pigs to produce leaner meat. In a case that galvanized the public’s and government’s attention, shoddy infant formula with little or no nutritional value has been blamed for causing severe malnutrition in hundreds of babies and killing at least 12.

China’s Health Ministry reported almost 34,000 food-related illnesses in 2005, with spoiled food accounting for the largest number, followed by poisonous plants or animals and use of agricultural chemicals.

There’s more . . . . .

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If you missed the hearing yesterday on these food-related issues, you missed allot. While there was much posturing from some of the questionable witnesses, Senator Durbin was certainly right on his game. My respect for him, and his efforts for many years now with respect to wanting to retool our entire food inspection system, is just huge. Here is his summary of the hearing and his recommendations:

DURBIN CALLS FOR BETTER OVERSIGHT OF PET FOOD INSPECTIONS; TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR COMPANIES

Thursday, April 12, 2007 [WASHINGTON, DC] – At a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing today, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called on the Bush Administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take meaningful action in addressing problems in federal regulation of the pet food industry. The hearing comes in the wake of a widespread recall of contaminated pet food.

“Many cats, dogs and other pets, considered members of the family are now suffering as a result of a deeply flawed pet food inspection system,” said Durbin. “The FDA’s response to this situation has been wholly inadequate – we need to establish standardized inspections, impose penalties on companies who delay reporting health problems and increase communication between the FDA and the state inspectors so that we can catch potential problems more quickly. These sound like basics steps but the FDA has failed to put them in place.”

At the hearing, Durbin heard testimony from FDA officials and outside experts including Dr. Stephen F. Sundlof, the Director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine; Duane Ekedahl, Executive Director of the Pet Food Institute; Eric Nelson, President of the American Association of Feed Control Officers; Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, Veterinarian and Dr. Claudia A. Kirk, Associate Professor of Medicine and Nutrition at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Durbin said the FDA’s response to the problem has been problematic and urged the FDA to take action in three specific areas:

1. Delay in reporting. According to materials supplied to Durbin’s office, it appears Menu Foods, Inc. first noticed a potential problem on February 20, 2007 but did not contact FDA until March 15, 2007. In the meantime, other companies were selling tainted product and the supplier wasn’t aware that it had provided wheat gluten contaminated with melamine. Durbin wants companies that delay reporting to the FDA and endanger human and animal health to face penalties.

2. Lack of inspections. According to testimony today, the Menu Foods facility in Emporia, Kansas where many of these products were made had never been inspected by the FDA. The agency has been relying on the states to conduct inspections, but the FDA has jurisdiction over all pet food manufacturing facilities and the ultimate responsibility to ensure facilities comply with FDA standards. Where there should be federal regulation, there is instead a patchwork of state inspection systems and voluntary guidance. Durbin wants to require the FDA to work with the states to establish a standardized set of regulations and inspection requirements.

3. Incomplete data and reporting from the FDA. Blogs and nonprofit websites have filled a gap and become the most efficient way to share information on contaminations. Durbin wants to direct the FDA to create a similar information sharing system that would allow state veterinarians, pet owners and others to alert the FDA of possible contaminations.

Durbin said the list of problems associated with food safety – both pet food and safety of the human food supply – is growing and the federal government must act.

The Illinois senator said legislation he has introduced to consolidate all federal food safety responsibilities into a single, independent agency has taken on new urgency because of a possibly heightened need to respond quickly and effectively to any acts of bioterrorism or agroterrorism. Currently, there are at least 12 different federal agencies and 35 different laws governing food safety. With overlapping jurisdictions, federal agencies often lack accountability on food safety-related issues.

“I did not call this hearing to create false concern, but we heard testimony today that the melamine-tainted wheat gluten was supplied as a ‘food grade’ additive and may have made it into the human food supply, but was pulled before anyone was harmed. This is very serious problem and we need to make changes to a system in which chronic shortcomings could turn critical,” Durbin said.

The non-partisan U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) has been unequivocal in its recommendation for consolidation of federal food safety programs. In February of this year, the GAO deemed federal oversight of food safety as “high risk” to the economy and public health and safety. Over the past two decades, GAO has also issued numerous reports on topics such as food recalls, food safety inspections and the transport of animal feeds. Each of these reports highlights the current fragmentation and inconsistent organization of the various agencies involved in food safety oversight.

Durbin and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have introduced legislation that calls for the development of a single food safety agency and the implementation of a food safety program to standardize American food safety activities (S 654 – The Safe Food Act.). Durbin and DeLauro have worked on this effort for over a decade in Congress and the bill has gained momentum from recent events.

Lawyers Set to Argue New Legal Theory in Pet-Poisoning Cases

Lawyers Set to Argue New Legal Theory in Pet-Poisoning Cases
Lynne Marek, The National Law Journal

Class action litigators and animal law attorneys are joining forces across the country to sue Menu Foods Inc. and pet food distributors over the poisoning of dogs and cats, with some lawyers aiming to set a new precedent in recoveries for pet-owner clients.

They may get bigger damages awards than from similar past cases partly because the incident is unique in the high number of pets — hundreds or perhaps thousands — that have been injured or killed by the poisoning, the lawyers said.

In the past, U.S. courts have viewed pets as property and therefore mainly allowed damages for the cost of an animal, which is typically low for most cats and dogs, and veterinarian bills. Efforts to recover for emotional distress over the loss of a companion animal have met with little success.

‘SPECIAL PROPERTY’
Some of the lawyers who have filed the lawsuits say they’ll argue that pets are “special property” that have an intrinsic value beyond market worth.

“In terms of real world value, that pet really is priceless,” said Jay Edelson, an attorney at Blim & Edelson in Chicago. “We think we have some arguments where we can recover those same types of damages, even if we have to do it under a different legal theory.”

Edelson filed a March 20 lawsuit on behalf of Dawn Majerczyk, whose 9-year-old cat Phoenix had to be euthanized on March 17 after the alleged poison in his Special Kitty Select Cuts caused the cat’s kidneys to shut down.

Phoenix’s death was devastating to Majerczyk and her two children, the lawsuit said. They spent $300 trying to save the cat, according to the filing. Majerczyk v. Menu Foods, No. 07CV1543 (N.D. Ill.).

The lawsuit alleges that Menu Foods, which is based in Streetsville, Canada, and has U.S. operations, knew the pet food could kill animals weeks before its March 16 recall, and that the company’s requirement that pet owners return tainted food in order to receive a refund is unethical.

Calls to Menu and pet food maker Iams Co. for comment weren’t immediately returned.

“They’re going to be the only witness as to whether the food was actually contaminated,” Edelson said. “You can’t do that. You can’t destroy evidence.”

There’s more . . .  

Concerns with Senate Hearing on Pet Food Contamination

Senate Hearing on Pet Food Contamination on April 12th

The U.S. Senate will hold an oversight hearing on the ongoing investigation and the regulatory mechanisms that govern the pet food industry as the widespread recall of contaminated pet food continues. Durbin, a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, has worked with Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), the Chairman of the Subcommittee, to schedule the hearing which will be held at 2:00 p.m. (1:00 p.m. Central Time) on Thursday, April 12, 2007 in Room 192 Dirksen Senate Office Building. To watch the hearing on the web just click here.

One of the expert witnesses, unfortunately, is Dr. Claudia A. Kirk, Although an Associate Professor of Medicine and Nutrition at the U of TN College of Veterinary Medicine, Kirk is a former employee of Hill’s Pet. Her close ongoing relationship with Hill’s and the pet food industry clearly calls her objectivity into question. And, if you read these posts about her background, you will understand our point:

Claudia Kirk, DVM – Skank for the pet food industry
Claudia Kirk gets $100,00 from pet food industry – in just two months

Eric Nelson is another one of the expert witnesses. Read it and weep.
Eric Nelson, AAFCO lies and FDA spoon feeds it to public
FDA and AAFCO explained

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They want you to believe that you will be hurting your pets if you do a homemade diet. I do not believe that at all and feel that it is part of a campaign to get us to think we can only do best by trusting the pet food industry. The following post speaks to studies that show that nutrition was not adversely affected by utilizing a home-prepared diet.

Can we have the whole story, please?

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To add salt to the wound, it was hideous to find out about the director at Menu Foods, Robert W. Luba. Just look at the following . . . in horror.

Menu Foods Director ruined American’s health, now targeting our pets
Should this guy be feeding your pets?

Now, this is scary — poor Li Tiao Tiao

retriever_tv_3jan07_150.jpgChina Enforces New Laws Limiting Dog Ownership
By Sam Beattie, Beijing

2006 is China’s Year of the Dog, but in Beijing, man’s best friend is being forced into hiding. Authorities have started to enforce dog ownership laws, restricting households to just one dog, which must also be smaller than 35 centimeters tall. Beijing is estimated to be home to at least one million dogs, but only a fraction are registered or vaccinated — this is what authorities say is the cause of the city’s rabies problem.

Some Beijing dog owners have taken their pets into hiding. The crackdown on large and unregistered dogs has many loving owners keeping their pets indoors, out of sight of prying neighbors and police.

Angela Zheng is project coordinator for International Fund for Animal Welfare, a prominent animal rights lobbying group in Beijing. She says the harsh enforcement of the laws has really impacted the lives of city dog owners.

“It caused a very serious mental pressure on them. Many dog owners hold a respected role in the community, are the backbone of society. If they were to bring their unhappiness out into the open, it would have a great affect on the community. The laws are creating an inharmonious element within society,” she says.

Authorities say the crackdown is an attempt to curb the growing number of rabies deaths. Chinese state media report some 1700 people died from rabies between January and August of this year. That’s almost a 30 percent increase over the previous year, making it China’s most deadly infectious disease. But it’s the crackdown on large dogs that has most dog owners upset, and wondering why they have been singled out by the new law.

Li Shen has taken her golden retriever Li Tiao Tiao to her art studio on the outskirts of the city for safety. She says the laws are forcing her to act like a criminal, and she has no means to lobby the lawmakers for change. “There is anger in my heart, I don’t know how to express it. I cannot destroy things, I cannot protest, but I really feel angry, it is so unreasonable.”

There’s more

Golden Guide Dog Refused Entrance

Suit Claims A.C. Senior Bus Refused to Transport Guide Dog
By Elaine Rose, The Press Of Atlantic City Staff Writer

Thomas R. Schieroth, who is visually impaired, claims in the suit that he and his certified guide dog waited outside his doctor’s office at about 3 p.m. July 21, 2004, for the bus to give them a ride home.When the bus arrived, the driver told him that she was terribly afraid of dogs and that he could ride, but his seeing-eye dog had to stay put, Schieroth’s attorney Thomas Reynolds, of Northfield, said Wednesday.

“That was kind of bizarre to leave the dog there and get on the bus,” Reynolds said.

Read more……

Appreciating, not Hurting Animals

I love this photo of this Golden carrying around his new kitty pal. And, his soft mouth is perfect for the job, except for giving the little darling a wet head, of course.

I am waiting for my Golden Alfie and Kitty Cindy become this close. I do catch Cindy sometimes licking Alfie’s head or fur on different parts of his body, and you can tell that he is really taking it all in, trying not to move an inch so that she will continue.

Our animals are too precious and important to not care about their welfare.

See how you can stay on top of animal protective legislation. Urgent action is needed.