No Menu For Tibbles

We all adore our pets, but do we focus all our love for animals on them, or is some left over for the less fortunate dogs and cats – like those which end up in the testing laboratories of Menu Foods of Ontario, Canada, who have recently recalled millions of tins of pet food, when some pets contracted kidney failure and died as a result of eating it.

Sad, you may think, but even more appalling – at least to this writer – is that following the allegations, the company fed their product to a further fifty dogs and cats in their laboratories, then waited while seven of them died. All, apparently, with the knowledge and approval of the FDA.

This was widely reported in the media, yet no-one showed any shock or surprise at the revelation. Given the modern analytical techniques available, the only possible reason for using dogs and cats to determine the toxicity of the product, was cost. It saved the company money. Except, of course, it didn’t. Seven dead animals later, the company still hadn’t a clue what was causing the toxicity, and further analytical tests have to be implemented.

Such concern at the needless deaths of seven domestic animals may seem petty, given the human losses in Iraq and others around the world, but there is a bigger issue to be considered. It concerns ourselves. We shower love and affection on our pets, yet no pet owners have complained at the manner in which Menu Foods has conducted its “research” into the matter. Because the cats and dogs condemned to die by Menu Foods are no-one’s pets, it becomes acceptable to sacrifice them, just so long as our pets may live.

That’s a fine example of truly selfish love. It smacks of George Bush’s ideal of inflicting pain, suffering and death on another nation so America does not have to fight the “terrorists” on its own turf.

The deaths of other, nameless creatures – whether animals or Iraqis – are less important than the lives of American citizens, or in this instance, their pets.

The whole incident highlights how grotesque our industries have become. Menu Foods (owned by Menu Foods Income Fund, would you believe?) manufactures 53 separate brands of dog food and 42 separate brands of cat food for the retail industry, and also supplies contract pet food to other multi-national companies like Nestle. Yet it only employs 958 staff.

Next time you dither in front of Wal-Mart’s pet-food array wondering which of the many delectables little Tibbles or Rover would fancy for his dinner, just remember that most of them will have been manufactured by Menu Foods, and while the labeling and pricing may vary substantially, the odds are that the contents of them all will be fundamentally the same.

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3 Replies to “No Menu For Tibbles”

  1. PM – very wise. Sadly most people won’t realize what they’re buying.

    Flimsy – it’s a slogan, and like most other slogans – meaningless.

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