By Dr. Andrew Jones
Finally there has been an agreement reached in the longstanding class action case against many pet food companies, and pet owners affected by the pet food recall.
In 2007, pet food contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid affected thousands of dogs and cats in North America.
These toxins were added to artificially boost measured protein levels of the food.
The side effect was kidney disease, kidney failure and death in thousands of pets. The exact number varies.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration received reports of approximately 8500 animal deaths, who have died after eating contaminated food as of 11 April, 2007.
The number of pets affected by chronic renal failure as a result of the poisoning is still unknown, but one article suspected another 30,000 dogs and cats.
Over 150 brands of pet food were affected – touching every major pet food company.
Details of the settlement can be found on the website at http://www.petfoodsettlement.com
Here is info from the site:
The defendants collectively have agreed to create a twenty-four million dollar (US $24,000,000.00) cash Settlement Fund from which eligible consumers and/or pet owners may receive a cash payment for up to 100% of all documented economic damages they incurred related to their purchase of or their pet’s consumption of the Recalled Pet Food Products subject to certain limitations described in the FAQs. Economic damage means the expenses you incurred related to your purchase or your pet’s consumption of the Recalled Pet Food Products, including but not limited to veterinary screening or treatment bills, expenses related to your pet’s illness and/or death, and other expenses such as lost wages and property damage.
What I think..
As up to 40,000 pets were affected, 24 million is extremely small and inadequate.
When I do the math, that works out to a paltry $600 per pet.
Hardly fair for someone losing a member of their family, or having to deal with a pet that died much earlier than expected from chronic kidney failure.
The costs associated treating a pet with kidney failure can run in to the thousands.
And how to you put a price on the loss of the member of your family?
Well it appears that these pet food corporations have put a price.
This flies in the face of their advertising- How many times have your seen ‘feel good’ commercials of dogs and cats being hugely valued members of your family.
And the message you get is if you see your pet as a member of your family, why wouldn’t you choose to feed them our ‘supposed’ best food.
Price should be no object.
Unless of course the food becomes contaminates, harms your animal, and there is a large class action law suit.
Clearly the lawyers for the pet food companies were well paid, and did their job…this is a small drop in the bucket for these conglomerates.
Petfoodindustry.com reports this:
Packaged Facts estimates that US retail sales of petfood totaled US$18.4 billion in 2010, up 2.8% over 2009 sales.
If you were to look at the 24 million as the settlement, that equates to a whopping .1% of the U.S. sales ( this doesn’t even take into account the Canadian sales)
This was a very poor settlement- and hardly fair in any way.
If you were affected by the pet contamination, I am sorry for your and your pets. Clearly you deserved much better than this.
P.S. Please leave a comment.
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
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