Tag: FDA

Well, we’re back!

And a dog food alert to be starting off with!

We got home at 11:30 yesterday morning and it’s going to be a while before I get back into the swing of things. Not taking into account the nearly 200 high-definition photographs each of one has to be looked at carefully and post-processed where necessary.

However, this was released on September 26th and I didn’t want to delay it any longer.

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FDA: Do Not Feed Performance Dog Raw Pet Food

September 26, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is cautioning pet owners not to feed their pets any Performance Dog frozen raw pet food after a sample tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono).

What Caused the Recall?

Two samples of different finished products collected during an inspection of Bravo Packing, Inc., the manufacturer of Performance Dog raw pet food, tested positive for Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes.

One of the products sampled had not yet been distributed.

The product that entered the marketplace is Performance Dog raw pet food, lot code 072219, sold to customers frozen in two-pound pouches.

Lot codes are printed on the outside of the boxes used to distribute the product, but the lot codes are not printed on the individual sealed plastic pouches, also known as chubs.

Therefore, there are no unique identification numbers on the individual chubs that would allow customers to verify whether their product belongs to the affected lot.

The FDA is cautioning about all Performance Dog frozen raw pet food produced on or after July 22, 2019 because the products do not have lot codes printed on retail packaging.

If you have any Performance Dog product that you purchased after July 22, 2019, throw it away.

Why Is FDA Concerned?

FDA is issuing this alert because Performance Dog raw pet food represents a serious threat to human and animal health.

Because these products are sold and stored frozen, FDA is concerned that people may still have them in their possession.

This is the second time Bravo Packing, Inc. product has tested positive for pathogen contamination. In September 2018, Bravo Packing, Inc. recalled all Performance Dog frozen raw pet food due to Salmonella.

Also, during a 2016 inspection, the FDA collected samples of Bravo Packing, Inc. horse meat chunk animal food that tested positive for the drugs pentobarbital and phenytoin.

Pet foods and treats contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria mono are of particular public health importance because they can affect both human and animal health.

Pets can get sick from these pathogens and may also be carriers of the bacteria and pass it on to their human companions without appearing to be ill.

People can get sick from handling contaminated pet foods and treats or touching surfaces that have had contact with the contaminated pet foods and treats.

Additionally, if a person gets Salmonella or L. mono on their hands, they can spread the bacteria to other people, objects, and surfaces.

Additionally, if a person gets Salmonella or L. mono on their hands, they can spread the bacteria to other people, objects, and surfaces.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that all animal food, like human food, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.

Without an effective control for pathogens, such as cooking, animal food is more likely to contain pathogens such as Salmonella and L. mono.

Refrigeration or freezing does not kill the bacteria.

About Salmonella

Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause illness and death in humans and animals, especially those who are very young, very old, or have weak immune systems.

According to CDC, people infected with Salmonella can develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.

Most people recover without treatment, but in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized.

In some patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Consult your health care provider if you have symptoms of Salmonella infection.

Salmonella in Pets

Pets do not always display symptoms when infected with Salmonella, but signs can include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite and/or decreased activity level.

If your pet has these symptoms, consult a veterinarian promptly.

You should also be aware that infected pets can shed the bacteria in their feces and saliva without showing signs of being sick, further contaminating the household environment.

About Listeria Monocytogenes

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can cause illness and death in humans and animals, especially those who are pregnant, very young, very old, or have weak immune systems.

According to CDC, listeriosis in humans can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected.

Symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.

Pregnant women typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches.

However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

Pregnant women and their newborns, adults age 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick with listeriosis.

Anyone with symptoms of listeriosis should contact a health care provider.

Listeria in Pets

L. mono infections are uncommon in pets, but they are possible.

Symptoms may include mild to severe diarrhea; anorexia; fever; nervous, muscular and respiratory signs; abortion; depression; shock; and death.

Pets do not need to display symptoms to be able to pass L. mono on to their human companions.

As with Salmonella, infected pets can shed L. mono in their feces and saliva without showing signs of being sick, further contaminating the household environment.

What to Do?

If you have any of the affected product, stop feeding it to your pets and throw it away in a secure container where other animals, including wildlife, cannot access it.

Consumers who have had this product in their homes should clean refrigerators/freezers where the product was stored and clean and disinfect all bowls, utensils, food prep surfaces, pet bedding, toys, floors, and any other surfaces that the food or pet may have had contact with.

Because animals can shed the bacteria in the feces when they have bowel movements, it’s particularly important to clean up the animal’s feces in yards or parks where people or other animals may become exposed, in addition to cleaning items in the home.

Consumers should thoroughly wash their hands after handling the affected product or cleaning up potentially contaminated items and surfaces.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to https://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

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Hopefully no follower of this place has had any problems with Listeria but, please, share this as widely as you can.

Chef Toby Pig Ears Recall for dog treats.

Yet another dog food (treats) recall.

There seem to be more than normal just at present.

But anyway let’s go directly to the recall.

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Dog Goods USA Recalls Chef Toby Pig Ears Dog Treats

August 16, 2019 — Dog Goods USA LLC of Tobyhanna, PA, is recalling its Chef Toby Pig Ears Treats due to possible contamination with Salmonella bacteria and its associated health risks.

Chef Toby Pig Ears Treats
Product Images

The images below represent the labels of the recalled products:

What Caused the Recall?

Dog Goods bought the affected products from a single supplier in Brazil from September 2018 through August 2019 and distributed them nationwide in retail stores.

The FDA sampled pig ears manufactured by its supplier in Brazil and one sample tested positive for Salmonella.

As previously reported on this website, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State partners, is investigating a suspected link between pig ear pet treats and human cases of salmonellosis.

What’s Being Recalled?

Dog Goods USA LLC is conducting a voluntary recall of the following bulk and packaged pig ears branded Chef Toby Pig Ears.

Product lot codes include: 428590, 278989, 087148, 224208, 1168723, 428590, 222999, 074599, 1124053, 226884, 578867, 224897, 1234750, 444525, 1106709, 215812, 230273, 224970, 585246, 327901, 052248, 210393, 217664, 331199, 225399, 867680, 050273, 881224, 424223, 225979, 431724, 226340, 880207, 334498.

About Salmonella

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting.

Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals and humans.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

For more information about Salmonella and its symptoms and health risks, please refer to the following link: FDA Investigates Contaminated Pig Ear Pet Treats Connected to Human Salmonella Infections.

Company Statement

Dog Goods has also launched an internal investigation to determine if, when and where the Products may have been contaminated.

To date, this internal investigation has not indicated any vulnerability in the company’s practices, including but not limited to the inspection, handling and storage of the Products.

No illnesses have been linked to the products to date.

Nonetheless, Dog Goods will continue to investigate the matter, collaborate fully with the FDA and the CDC, and provide further information to its customers and the public as appropriate.

What to Do?

Consumers who have purchased the products are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 786-401-6533 (ext 8000) from 9 am ET through 5 pm ET.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to https://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

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As always, please share this as far and wide as you can.

A dog food advisory.

Not a dog food recall!

This came in three days ago and is a head’s up.

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FDA Finds Salmonella and Listeria in Hare Today Pet Food

January 23, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning pet owners not to feed a specific lot of Hare Today Gone Tomorrow Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs because Salmonella and Listeria bacteria were discovered in the product.

What Products Are Affected?

The product is available in four sizes and varieties. All included the processing date of 12.04.2018 on the back of the bag:

  • Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs
    1-pound bag
    Fine Ground
  • Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs
    2-pound bag
    Fine Ground
  • Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs
    3-pound bag
    Coarse Ground
  • Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs
    5-pound bag
    Fine Ground

What Caused the Warning?

The FDA collected this sample while following up on a consumer complaint in which a kitten became sick with Salmonella after eating the affected product.

The specific lot of Hare Today Gone Tomorrow Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs that the sick kitten ate was not available for testing.

The FDA collected samples from lot 12.04.2018, which tested positive for both Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

Although the Salmonella isolated from the feces of the sick kitten did not match the strain found in the product sample, Federal law requires that all pet food not be contaminated with pathogens, including Salmonella and Listeria because of the potential impact on human and animal health.

Why Is the FDA Issuing This Alert?

The FDA is issuing this alert because the affected lot of Hare Today Gone Tomorrow Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs represents a serious threat to human and animal health and is adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because it contains Salmonella and Listeriamonocytogenes.

The FDA continues to work with the company on the affected product.

About Salmonella

What is Salmonella and what are the symptoms of Salmonella infection?

Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause illness and death in humans and animals, especially those who are very young, very old, or have weak immune systems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people infected with Salmonella can develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.

Most people recover without treatment, but in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized.

In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Consult your health care provider if you have symptoms of Salmonella infection.

Pets do not always display symptoms when infected with Salmonella.

But signs can include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite and/or decreased activity level.

If your pet has these symptoms, consult a veterinarian promptly.

You should also be aware that infected pets can shed the bacteria in their feces without showing signs of being sick.

About Listeria

What are the symptoms of Listeria infection (listeriosis)?

According to CDC, listeriosis can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected.

Pregnant women: Pregnant women typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches.

However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

People other than pregnant women: Symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.

People with invasive listeriosis, a more serious form of the disease, usually report symptoms starting 1 to 4 weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria.

Some people have reported symptoms starting as late as 70 days after exposure or as early as the same day of exposure.

Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

Pregnant women and their newborns, adults age 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick with listeriosis.

Anyone with symptoms of listeriosis should contact a health care provider.

Listeria infections are uncommon in pets, but they are possible.

Symptoms may include mild to severe diarrhea; anorexia; fever; nervous, muscular and respiratory signs; abortion; depression; shock; and death.

Pets do not need to display symptoms to be able to pass L. mono on to their human companions.

Once Listeria gets established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when it has a bowel movement, and the contamination may continue to spread.

If your pet has these symptoms, consult a veterinarian promptly.

Why Is the FDA Concerned About Salmonella and Listeria?

Pet foods contaminated with disease-causing bacteria such as Salmonella and Listeria are of particular public health importance because they can affect both human and animal health.

Pets can get sick from Salmonella and Listeria and may also be carriers of the bacteria and pass it onto their human companions without appearing to be ill.

The FDA is aware of recent cases in which humans and/or animals have gotten sick from exposure to contaminated pet foods (Salmonella-human cases, Salmonella-kitten, Salmonella-kitten, dog).

Once Salmonella and/or Listeria become established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when it has a bowel movement.

And the contamination will continue to spread.

Because animals can shed the bacteria when they have bowel movements, it’s particularly important to clean up the animal’s feces in yards or parks where people or other animals may become exposed, in addition to cleaning items in the home.

Federal law, including the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, requires that all pet food not be contaminated with pathogens, including Salmonella and L. mono.

Pet food manufacturers must effectively manage sourcing of ingredients, processing and packing to control pathogens.

Without an effective control, such as cooking, raw pet food is more likely than other types of pet food to contain pathogens such as Salmonella and Listeria.

Refrigeration or freezing does not kill the bacteria.

Pet owners who choose to feed raw pet food should be aware of the risks associated with these products.

The FDA is the Federal agency that regulates pet food, while the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates meat and poultry for human consumption.

USDA-regulated raw meat and poultry products are intended to be cooked and carry instructions to cook the product to a safe temperature.

However, raw pet food products are intended to be served without further cooking, which creates a potential health hazard for people and pets exposed to the product.

Company Response to FDA Warning

Click here to read the company’s response to the FDA warning and posted on Facebook.

What to Do?

If you have the affected product in your possession, stop feeding it to your pets.

And throw it away in a secure container where other animals, including wildlife, cannot access it.

Consumers who have had this product in their homes should clean refrigerators/freezers where the product was stored and clean and disinfect all bowls, utensils, food prep surfaces, pet bedding, toys, floors, and any other surfaces that the food or pet may have had contact with.

Clean up the pet’s feces in yards or parks where people or other animals may become exposed.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to https://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

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As before, the more this can be shared the better.

Raw Dog and Cat Food recall

This was received yesterday afternoon regarding G and C Raw Dog and Cat Food Recall

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G and C Raw Dog and Cat Food Recall

August 3, 2018 — G & C Raw of Versailles, OH is recalling 30 1–pound containers of Pat’s Cat Turkey Cat Food and 40 2-pound containers of Ground Lamb Dog Food because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

About Listeria Infections

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in animals eating the products.

Furthermore, there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Listeria monocytogenes should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, aches, fever, and diarrhea.

Listeria monocytogenes infections can also spread through the bloodstream to the nervous system (including the brain), resulting in meningitis and other potentially fatal problems.

Pregnant women are especially susceptible to Listeria infection, which can result in abortion.

The young, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems also are more vulnerable.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Listeria monocytogenes infections are rare, and pets may display symptoms such as mild to severe diarrhea, anorexia, fever, nervous, muscular and respiratory signs, abortion, depression, shock, and death.

In addition to the possibility of becoming sick, such infected animals can shed Listeria monocytogenes through their feces onto their coats and into the home environment and thus serve as sources of infection to humans and other animals in the household.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Where Was the Product Sold?

Pat’s Cat Turkey and Ground Lamb Dog Food products were distributed in OH, MI, IN, PAN, KY, NC, and GA.

They were also distributed by direct delivery by G & C Raw, LLC.

What’s Being Recalled?

The Pat’s Cat Turkey is sold in 1-pound clear plastic containers with the Lot number WWPKTF051618.

The Ground Lamb product is sold in a 2-pound plastic container with the Lot number MFF022718.

The Lot number codes are listed on the bottom right corner of the label.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

About the Recall

The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by the Ohio Department of Agriculture which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria

The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as the company continues its investigation as to what caused the problem.

What to Do?

Consumers who have purchased Pat’s Cat Turkey Cat Food with the lot number, WWPKTF051618, OR Ground Lamb Dog Food with the lot number MFF022718 are urged to return it to G & C Raw, 225 N. West Street, Versailles, OH, for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact: G & C Raw, LLC at 937-827-0010 ET, or by email at gcrawdogfood@yahoo.com.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

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Sincerely hope that no-one out there has a dog or cat that has eaten this potentially suspect food.

 

Resolutions

In twenty-four hours time it will be January 1st, 2017.

I saw the following recently on the Care2 website and thought that at many levels it would make a wonderful closing post for 2016.

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Seven New Year’s Resolutions to Protect Animals in 2017

3197109-largeBy: s.e. smith December 29, 2016

We’re about to turn over a new leaf on a new year — something I think we’re all pretty excited about — and it’s a good time to sit back, take stock, and think about what we want to do for ourselves, and the world, in 2017.

New year’s resolutions don’t have to be big and fancy, and sometimes they work best when they’re small and manageable, so I rounded up seven totally free ways you can help animals next year, from something you can do weekly (like writing letters) to bigger projects (like fostering animals).

1) Keep an eagle eye on upcoming animal-related legislation.

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Photo credit: Anthony

Chances are that there’s some animal-related regulation coming your way in 2017 on the local, state and even federal level. This includes laws and ordinances as well as rules, regulations and executive orders. You can make a big difference by weighing in on these issues — sometimes, surprisingly few members of the public comment!

You can take advantage of resources for animal welfare groups and sites like Care2 to keep track of big upcoming government actions. You may want to call or write to support legislation, to ask that it be more robust, or to oppose it, depending on the contents. For legislation, you need to contact your elected official to explain how you feel and provide a concrete action to take, like “Please cosponsor this bill” or “please vote against this bill.” Rules and regulations are opened to public comment by the agencies making them, allowing you to speak at public meetings or submit written comments.

The Federal Register is a great place to search for upcoming regulations — it’s a little bit intimidating at first, but don’t let that put you off!

2) Don’t be sheepish — speak up about nonlethal solutions to predators and pests.

Photo credit: Lennart Tange
Photo credit: Lennart Tange

No matter where you live, there’s probably a battle brewing over feral cats, mountain lions, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, alligators, or someone else from the non-human world who’s getting squeezed by human incursion into its habitat. Historically, many areas have favored a lethal response to animals deemed “pests.” You can change that — and you already are, across the country. When you see animals on the agenda, speak up to request investigation into a nonlethal solution to a problem.

For example, maybe a feral cat colony is causing controversy in the community. You can talk about how responsible colony management should control numbers and limit annoying smells. You could also discuss how research shows that TNR can be more effective at long-term colony management than just trapping and removing cats — in Florida, they found that doing this just allowed other predators to move in, creating an even bigger headache!

Come backed with research and evidence, rather than emotion. You can look to advocacy groups for their data, but also explore scientific papers, and see how other municipalities are dealing with the same problem, because they may have tips to share.

3) Lend a paw at a local animal welfare organizations.

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Photo credit: Chris Perriman

Animal welfare groups can always use volunteer help. At the shelter, they don’t just need a hand with cuddling cats, walking dogs, and handling other species. They need all kinds of help, from more boring stuff like cleaning and filing to web design, social media management, legal counseling, accounting, event planning, and much more. Even something as simple as taking your camera (or your photography class) to the shelter once a week to photograph everyone who’s looking for a home can make a huge difference. It turns out that great shelter photos save lives!

Advocacy groups that don’t run shelters or don’t have one in your area also need help. Lots of mundane office stuff is time consuming, and volunteers can make it go more smoothly, whether you’re stuffing envelopes or answering phones. If you have special training or skills, offer those too, especially if you’re willing to get into a long-term relationship with the group. Pro-bono legal services, for example, are incredibly valuable. Your graphic design skills could help them relaunch an impressive, gorgeous website. You get the idea!

4) Don’t duck the issues — teach youth about animal welfare issues.

Photo credit: Danny Chapman
Photo credit: Danny Chapman

Many kids love animals, and the best time to hit people with humane messages is when they’re young. Some organizations actually offer humane educator training to help people learn about how to communicate with children about animal welfare issues. Humane educators can lead classes and mentor kids in the community, whether they’re taking people on bird walks and teaching them about ecology or working with kids who are learning to ride horses to teach them how to handle their mounts respectfully and kindly.

If you already are an educator, consider working humane topics into your curriculum. If you’re not, look into what might be required to teach classes at a community center, mentor students in programs like 4-H and FFA, lead educational sessions at a local museum (another great volunteer opportunity!), or come into classrooms with presentations. You may need some training and a background check to work with youth, but once you’re squared away, you can establish lasting relationships with teachers and schools to introduce humane coursework to the classroom and beyond.

5) You’ve goat mail — or at least, someone will after you write a letter on behalf of animals!

Photo credit: Holly Occhipinti
Photo credit: Holly Occhipinti

Once a week — or every two weeks, or once a month — resolve to sit down and write a letter. It doesn’t have to be an epic, and you can establish a template, but pick a specific person to target, and go to town. Maybe you want to write a letter-to-the-editor once a month about an animal issue in your community that you’re concerned about. Perhaps you want to write a letter to a corporation to ask them to stop, or start, a practice related to animals — like dropping animal testing, or introducing tougher humane standards to the supply chain.

Keep your letter concise, polite and actionable. Explain why you’re writing, the basis for your concern, the solution you’re recommending and why. You can appeal to issues like cost efficiency, making your town more attractive for visitors, compassion for animals (that’s why we’re here, after all!), falling in line with industry-wide practices, setting an example for others, or any number of other things. Present a clear case for what you’re arguing so that the person reading your letter is moved to act, and has something to bring to other people while trying to convince them to get involved.

6) Be a mother hen — foster somebody in need.

Photo credit: normanack
Photo credit: normanack

If you can’t adopt more animals or don’t have room for a full-time friend in your life, consider fostering. Fostering saves lives, getting animals who can’t handle shelter stress or who need a little extra care to a safe place where they can unwind and grow into themselves. Some shelters have foster programs, and many animal welfare groups do — some run almost entirely on fosters, in fact!

Generally, participants in a foster program are provided with food, medication and veterinary expenses to keep things low-key for you. If you have a spare room, fostering can be a great fit for your life, although watch out for foster fail! (When that kitten you swore you were just fostering is still lying on the living room rug ten years later, you are definitely a victim of foster fail.)

When fostering, be honest about what you can and cannot take on: For example, if you have a barn, you might be able to handle horses and sheep, but not notoriously mischievous and curious goats. You might not be able to take a kitten who needs constant feeding, or a dog that has aggression issues.

That said, if you can stretch your comfort zone, do. Some animals need a little extra care because they’ve had a hard life. That makes them vulnerable to euthanasia, and a foster can make all the difference. Things like giving animals fluids or medications, managing diapers, or handling other vet stuff might sound scary, but it’s pretty easy to get the hang of it.

7) Don’t have a cow — on your plate or anywhere else.

Photo credit: Nicolas Vigier
Photo credit: Nicolas Vigier

We saved the easiest for last, because chances are that you’re already well on your way with this one. When it comes to what you eat, consider cutting animal products — or at least meat — out of your life. You’ll save a ton of suffering, and also, a ton of money, if you’re trying to cut back in 2017.

If you can’t cut animal products out entirely, consider moderating: Meatless Mondays are popular, for example! Something else that really works for me is a soup exchange — a group of us make huge batches of vegan soup and share them out once a month, so there’s always a go-to vegan meal hanging out in my fridge or freezer when I need it!

While you’re at it, think about what you wear and use, too. Leather is an obvious source of animal suffering, but some people also like to avoid fibers like wool and cashmere (cashmere also comes with a big environmental price tag). You’d also be surprised by where animal products sneak in, from bodycare products to that goop you waterproof your shoes with. (No really. Go look.)

And, of course, cutting animal testing out of your life is valuable too. Growing numbers of cosmetics are produced without the use of animal testing, though it’s always a good idea to independently verify to see if a company is skirting labeling conventions. For example, some companies say “made without animal testing” because they don’t test ingredients on animals, but third party contractors do. Ugh!

If you take medication, you’re caught in the animal testing trap — but it’s worth writing the manufacturer, as well as the FDA, which governs drug testing, to push for alternatives to animal testing so that you have cruelty free options for your health care needs.

You can also make your preference for cruelty free medical supplies clear to your health care providers as well, as they may be able to recommend alternatives if they’re aware that this is a concern for you. (For example, some sutures are made from animal products, which is weird and creepy, and pig valves are used in some valve replacement surgeries. Gross, right?)

Photo credit: Tracy

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All that is required from me is to hope that every one of you has a peaceful and healthy New Year.

We are what we eat!

But being careful about what our dogs eat is another story!

This is not the first time that I have used this title for a blog post.  The previous time was almost eighteen months ago when I highlighted a fascinating talk about the green revolution by Raj Patel, the award-winning writer, activist, and academic.

However, today is a first in that it looks at what our dogs eat.  It was inspired by a recent article by Brady Dennis in the Washington Post.  Here’s how that article opened:

Mystery of pet deaths related to jerky treats made in China continues to stump FDA

By Brady Dennis, Published: March 28

Andy lost his appetite. Then came the vomiting, the unquenchable thirst, the constant need to urinate. Over several days last year, the spunky 4-year-old West Highland white terrier grew lethargic and lost more than 10 percent of his weight.

“It got bad,” said Andy’s owner, Alfredo Gude, a retiree in Cape Coral, Fla. “I knew that he was in trouble.”

Gude and his wife rushed Andy to their veterinarian, who referred him to a clinic 15 miles away. Doctors there sent a urine sample to a specialized metabolic lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Days later, test results confirmed the diagnosis: Fanconi syndrome, a rare, often fatal illness that affects the kidneys. The suspected cause: chicken jerky pet treats manufactured in China.

The incident is part of a troubling mystery lasting more than seven years, with reports of at least 600 dogs dying and thousands of others sickened. It has outraged unsuspecting pet owners, confounded the Food and Drug Administration and put the pet food industry’s manufacturing practices under a microscope.

A little later on in the article, Brady Dennis writes:

Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, has called it “one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” a sentiment echoed by others at the agency.

“We are frustrated,” said Martine Hartogensis, who oversees the FDA’s ongoing investigation. “It’s been a long, winding, twisting road . . . [But] we haven’t given up.”

The FDA says it has tested more than 1,200 jerky treats in recent years, looking for salmonella, mold, pesticides, toxic metals, outlawed antibiotics, nephrotoxins and other contaminants. Federal officials have inspected factories in China that manufacture chicken jerky products for U.S. companies and sought input from academics, state and university research labs, foreign governments and the pet food industry. The agency even made its own jerky treats to try to duplicate the commercial process.

This is not some minor issue reinforced by the huge increase in dog food imports into the USA from China.  Back to Brady:

The long-running investigation has paralleled a striking increase in the amount of pet food China exports to the United States. That volume increased from barely 1 million pounds in 2003 to an estimated 86 million pounds by 2011, according to the FDA.

Pet treats, including the jerky treats at the heart of the current investigation, have made up a fast-growing sliver of the pet food market. Part of the reason many U.S. companies have looked to China to produce chicken jerky treats, industry officials say, is that unlike in America, people in China overwhelmingly prefer dark meat. That leaves a larger supply of the white meat used in pet treats available for exporting.

Then a few paragraphs later, he adds:

“It’s maddening that it has gone on this long,” said Susan Thixton, who runs the Web site TruthAboutPetFood.com, which has repeatedly demanded that the agency do more. “If this were humans dying, and they couldn’t figure out a cause for seven years, members of Congress would be screaming at them.”

The home page of her site displays a clock tracking how long jerky treats from China have been killing and sickening pets. It asks: “When will FDA make this clock stop?” As of Friday, the count stood at 2,643 days.

“My job is to point out that they aren’t doing their job,” Thixton said. “I have a lot of respect for what they have to accomplish. They have huge responsibilities, but this is one of them.”

When I read out the article to Jean what then jumped ‘off the page’ was this paragraph [my emphasis]:

Angry pet owners also have heaped criticism on U.S. companies that continue to manufacture jerky treats with ingredients from China. The backlash includes everything from skepticism over the industry’s assurances that the treats have never posed health risks to lawsuits alleging harm.

As Susan Thixton was reported earlier: “If this were humans dying, and they couldn’t figure out a cause for seven years, members of Congress would be screaming at them.”  Quite so!

Luckily, owners are responding as Brady highlights in these paragraphs:

Nina Leigh Krueger, head of the Waggin’ Train brand, said most retailers and customers have welcomed the treats back. “Thousands of consumers have been calling and asking us for Waggin’ Train treats to be back on the market,” she said.

Terry Safranek is not one of them.

“It’s a kick in the gut to see them back on the shelf,” said Safranek, whose 9-year-old fox terrier, Sampson, who had eaten jerky treats, died of kidney failure in 2012. Since then, Safranek has become a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against Nestlé Purina and retailers including Target and Wal-Mart. She helped create Animal Parents Against Pet Treats and Food Made in China, a group that has petitioned the FDA to do better in alerting people about the potential dangers of jerky treats produced in Chinese factories.

The link in the last paragraph takes the reader to the Facebook page for that group.  Do go there and ‘Like’ the page.

I will close by recommending you read the Washington Post article in full and then spend some time perusing the website Truth about Pet Food. This is not just about ‘Made in America’ but fighting to ensure that animal treats made in the USA are also using ingredients from the USA!

Remember how Brady opened his article?  With Alfredo Gude learning that their dog, Andy, had been diagnosed with Fanconi syndrome, a rare and often fatal illness that affects the kidneys of dogs.

Well last words left with Brady Dennis:

For now, on Florida’s west coast, Andy the terrier has returned to normal after months of treatments — about $3,500 worth — to restore his kidney function. “We feel very lucky,” said Gude, who has taken the advice of many vets around the country to steer clear of pet jerky treats altogether. “It could have gone another way.”

Our dogs (and cats) have a right to be fed to the same standards as us humans!