No Kibble for Oliver

Hot on the heels of last year’s recall of tainted pet food (it isn’t over yet, folks), Mars Inc. bumped up its television and magazine advertising for Pedigree® dog food. In parallel, they expanded their Indiana plant, to pump out more grain- and additive-filled kibble for the grocery store marketplace.

Not only have we been bombarded with television and magazine images of shiny golden retrievers scarfing the equivalent of Mickey Dee’s, but Mars Inc. is now pushing a shelter program – the Pedigree Adoption Drive TM campaign – to demonstrate its good corporate citizenship. Now with every bag of corn filler you buy, Mars, Inc. will donate $1.00 to help little Oliver the terrier and dogs like him find a loving, forever home.

Pedigree Shelter Adoption Program

Pedigree® helps make sure that man’s best friend stays fit, healthy and happy. There’s a Pedigree meal for every size and shape of dog.

From the Canadian website:

As the makers of Pedigree®, everything we do is inspired by our love of dogs. We’re here to help them live a happy and healthy life, no matter what their circumstances are. That’s why we are committed to donating $150,000 and are aspiring to raise much more through our Pedigree Adoption Drive TM campaign. This money will be donated to our partner animal shelters across Canada in the effort to raise awareness of the plight of shelter dogs and help them find loving homes.

A part of each purchase from any Pedigree® Brand product (to a maximum of $150,000) goes to help shelter dogs.

From the US website:

Through no fault of their own, more than four million dogs end up in shelters and breed rescue organizations every year — and only half of them ever find a home. That’s why we created The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) philanthropic organization dedicated to helping dogs in need to find loving homes.Donations to the foundation directly benefit shelters and rescue organizations nationwide. We appreciate your tax-deductible donation and for helping us raise more than $1 million in 2008. Dogs Rule.®

Meanwhile, in related news…

South Carolina residents have chipped in to donate hundreds of bags of pet food to the Anderson County animal shelter. Mars, Inc., maker of Pedigree® pet food, told the shelter it was ending gifts of pet food to their shelter. Almost 300 animals were in danger of going hungry in a matter of days.

That was the situation the Anderson County Animal Shelter faced last week when the manager learned the shelter’s primary food supplier, would no longer be able to donate.

The shelter is looking for another corporate food sponsor, a process which could take months according to the manager. But Tuesday, the community reached out, hauling in bag after bag and filling the shelter’s lobby. The shelter was running low on pet food and asked the community for help. Numerous people brought in bags of pet food, and some even braved bad weather to bring in their donations.

The shelter needs kitten, cat, puppy and dog food. Workers say they’re entering the busy spring season, where they often feed more than 400 animals each day.

Mars, Inc. was the shelter’s main primary food supplier.

The shelter manager said she is uncertain why Mars, Inc. decided to stop donating pet food, and unless the shelter can find another corporate sponsor, the shelter would need to rely on the community for help. She was also told that the decision to cut back on the food donation program was company wide and other shelters were affected.

Details at WSPA

In breaking news, the PR whizzes at Mars have done an about-turn for now.

Officials with Mars Petcare U.S., which produces Pedigree pet food and has been the shelter’s main food supplier for five years, are going to continue donating food to the Anderson County shelter, said the spokeswoman for the company, Bertille Glass.

The decision was made after Mars Petcare officials, based in Brentwood, Tenn., noticed an article that was in Tuesday’s Anderson Independent-Mail, Ms. Glass said.

“There was a miscommunication and we will provide them with food donations during this transition period,” Ms. Glass said.

Currently, Mars Petcare officials are looking into the company’s nation-wide pet food donation program to see if any changes to be made, Ms. Glass said.

Anderson Independent

What can you do?

1. Get a Letter to the Editor going, and vote with your wallet to smarten these people up. Tell Mars to quit the corporate hypocrisy. Ask them where the truth in advertising went with the Pedigree shelter ads, and when these shelters can expect to receive their share. At time of writing, the Pedigree website had a big “under construction” blank on the page reserved for its list of deserving shelters. They really do need to answer for leaving vulnerable shelters in a bind.

Write to Mars

2. Let other pet food manufacturers know that you’d be happy if they would pitch in, and take less than six months to do so.

3. Feed your dog better, for Pete’s sake.

Although living on Mickey Dee’s might be better than nothing for a few weeks if you happen to be doing time in a shelter, avoid the packaged garbage in the average grocery aisle.

USA Today just reported a massive pet food scare in Asia in 2004 – a precursor to the 2007 disaster:

“The outbreak of contamination in pet foods that killed hundreds and perhaps thousands of cats and dogs last year in the USA wasn’t the first such incident, veterinary pathologists have determined.”

“An outbreak in 2004 that also involved pet foods contaminated with industrial chemicals sickened more than 6,000 dogs and a smaller number of cats across Asia.”

“Kidney failure in the animals was linked to Pedigree dog foods and Whiskas cat foods manufactured in Thailand by Mars Inc. Thousands of pets died, according to Asian media reports at the time.”

USA Today

Sadly, Pedigree® didn’t make the cut in Greenpeace’s guide on how to avoid genetically-engineered ingredients. Read about it here and download the guide.

Exactly what are you pouring into the poor dog’s dish every day?

Pedigree® Complete Nutrition Adult Large/Small Crunchy Bites:

Ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA/BHT), wheat mill run, natural poultry flavor, rice, salt, potassium chloride, caramel color, wheat flour, wheat gluten, vegetable oil, vitamins (choline chloride, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate , l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate , vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement [vitamin B2], vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement), trace minerals (zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide)

Dog Food Project – Pedigree

Identifying Better Products

A Dog’s Breakfast – What’s Really In Dog Food

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3 responses to “No Kibble for Oliver

  1. People really should stop buying that junk food for their dogs.

    Corn? No thanks. Not only is it one of the most pesticide-laced, genetically modified grains on the planet, it ferments, is high in sugar and is just not good for dogs.

    Buy higher quality kibble (I like Fromm) and always add suitable scraps/leftovers to the dish. Meat, fish, cooked vegetables (no onions), certain fruits like apples, berries (no grapes or raisins) yogourt, cottage cheese – all that good stuff. Justdon’t overdo it.

    Great blog, thanks for the link. I’ve returned the favour.

  2. Thanks, Caveat! Even worse that cats, as obligate carnivores, get much the same ingredients in their grocery-store slop.

    I prefer testimonials from real people who have noticed marked improvements in their pets’ health when they started feeding a decent diet, to the marketing claims of these waste-processors who think that sticking a photo of a happy puppy on a bag makes it all good.

  3. There is a lot of confusion about a species appropriate diet for dogs. The “why” is that we have crossed the line between science and prolific industry propaganda. Since the 1950s vast sums of money have been poured into shaping public perception because the profits are enormous. Not to mention that “we the people” have a tendency towards anthropomorphism, and convenience is a driving force.

    For unbiased scientific information see the article: http://achinook.squarespace.com/journal/2008/8/11/ol-sheps-plight-diet.html

    My best to you and yours,
    Lee C

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