Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

April 3, 2007

Pet Food Rats (2)

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 8:01 pm

In case any one is in doubt about the behavior of the pet food executives responsible for this hideous corporate scandal, consider this excerpt from the best reporting I’ve seen so far–in today’s San Francisco Chronicle by Christie Keith:

Nearly one month passed from the date Menu got its first report of a death to the date it issued the recall. During that time, no veterinarians were warned to be on the lookout for unusual numbers of kidney failure in their patients. No pet owners were warned to watch their pets for its symptoms. And thousands and thousands of pet owners kept buying those foods and giving them to their dogs and cats.
At that point, Menu had seen a 35 percent death rate in their test-lab cats, with another 45 percent suffering kidney damage. The overall death rate for animals in Menu’s tests was around 20 percent. How many pets, eating those recalled foods, had died, become ill or suffered kidney damage in the time leading up to the recall and in the days since? The answer to that hasn’t changed since the day the recall was issued: We don’t know.
We at Pet Connection knew the 10-15 deaths being reported by the media did not reflect an accurate count. We wanted to get an idea of the real scope of the problem, so we started a database for people to report their dead or sick pets. On March 21, two days after opening the database, we had over 600 reported cases and more than 200 reported deaths. As of March 31, the number of deaths alone was at 2,797.

I rest my case.



  1. Re: the pet-haters / “actual children” folks mentioned in your most recent (comment-disabled) post — there is an unfortunate correlation between extremist brands of the Abarahamic religions, and a vicious attitude towards animals. “God gave us dominion over the creatures of the Earth.” “Dominion” is how they like to translate that particular word, in Genesis 1:26. (Dominion by men over women can be read toin Genesis too, of course, and some people actually take that idea seriously: Taliban, Promisekeepers, same difference.)

    But one can just as well translate it as “stewardship” or “guardianship”. In fact a significant number of evangelicals are now doing that — hence the “Creation Care” movement.

    And of course, my favorite annual event at the Episcopal church I grew up with was Saint Francis’ blessing of the animals.

    Best of luck tolerating the crazies — I set my blog to screen comments from unknown users, for similar reasons. And best wishes from Hoshi and Tsuki to Bruno.


    Comment by RM 'Auros' Harman — April 9, 2007 @ 12:58 am | Reply

  2. “there is an unfortunate correlation between extremist brands of the Abarahamic religions, and a vicious attitude towards animals.”

    There is also an unfortuante correlation between some antisemitic, Richard Dawkins-type nihilists and animal rights activism. Not that it’s relevant to any of this creepy shit.

    Comment by Shmuel — April 9, 2007 @ 8:55 am | Reply

  3. a) If you think Dawkins is a nihilist, you either don’t know what nihilism is or have not actually read or listened to Dawkins, who, far from believing that life is futile and meaningless, is passionately engaged with the beauty of the world.

    b) Where did “anti-Semitic” come from? Certainly Dawkins isn’t — he’s anti-religion, generically. I’ve usually heard him discussing Islam and Christianity. He doesn’t have anything against practitioners of Judaism, or any other religion, as people; he just thinks they believe something untrue, and that they would behave more rationally and ethically (e.g. not blowing themselves up in marketplaces) if they didn’t think they had license from G*d to do so.

    c) It’s may or may not be true that non-religious people are more likely to be animal-rights advocates. But how is that unfortunate? I’m not a vegetarian, but I do think we should have humane standards in how we treat animals (both pets, and food animals). I can justify that in the terms Saint Francis used (these are God’s creatures, not ours) or on the basis of observing that their nervous systems aren’t all that different from ours (so they probably have some form of cognition and experience suffering). If more non-religious people, and fewer religious ones, prefer harmony over domination… well, that says something unfortunate about religion, or at least religiosity. (“I have no problem with G*d, it’s his fan club that bothers me.”)

    d) If you don’t understand how vitriol towards people concerned about animals is tied up with the various other kinds of hostility expressed by a certain type of religious-nationalist conservative, you haven’t been paying much attention to such people or their rhetoric for, oh, the last 20 years or more. There are certainly crazies on the left as well, but their rhetoric looks different and focuses on different topics.

    Comment by RM 'Auros' Harman — April 9, 2007 @ 7:44 pm | Reply

  4. While we’re talking about unfortunate correlations, there’s another one between Dawkins appreciation (how did I know?) and a Christian upbringing (oh, that’s how). A culture of dogmatic universalism and proseltyzation is the common variable in my opinion. Although Jewish atheists are a dime a dozen, Jewish Dawkins disciples are quite rare. We have no need for his particular “fan club” (although I have no problem with atheism).

    Otherwise, the unfortuante correlation between Christianity and antisemitism is obvious I hope and requires no explanation. But, remind me, how did we get on this subject of superficial correlations?

    Comment by Shmuel — April 9, 2007 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

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