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Nine Years Accomplished – What to do in year 10?

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  1. Terrence Ward

    Just continue to expose the way this horrid industry disrespects we their customers and our pets that they purport to care about

  2. Mollie Morrissette

    Congrats Susan! You are my hero.

    Sometimes it seems not much has changed, but what I see is a powerful shift in consumer awareness. Congressional leaders are pushing for change, and some have become our most important allies. Consumer watchdog groups, like the Cornucopia Institute, have also made safe pet food and animal feed a hot button issue. Law firms look to us when writing complaints, contacting us for inside information. But the most important influence we have is the threat we pose to the pet food industry, the constant and unrelenting pressure we put on them has influenced the industry.

    That is what you have done, you have become the most important and influential voice for pet food safety that America has today. You have helped millions of Americans make better choices for their pets because of the information you provide. Most importantly, pets today live happier, healthier lives eating wholesome food because of the work you do.

    I am grateful for that. My cats are grateful too. If it weren’t for you, I would still be stumbling blindly searching for reliable, unbiased information on the pet food industry. Because of you, I was compelled to learn more and start my own modest effort to help consumers as well. I am, as we all are, indebted to you for your influence.

    I am honored to know you, and have you as a friend and a colleague. Your warmth, your unfailing dedication, and wicked sense of humor has kept me going when I felt like quitting. You have always been a generous and unfailing supporter, and a loving friend, when I needed it most. Thank you Susan for all that you have done for me.

    Love ya bunches!


  3. Nancy

    It may be a team effort but you are the indisputable leader. You are also the one who has face their hostility and taunts. keep doing what you are doing so bravely. Thank you I have learned so much.

  4. BC Henschen

    As much as I would like to write a glowing note on how much you have changed my life I would just be writing what Mollie wrote!

  5. Donna Chicone

    I will soon be releasing my book “Being A Super Pet Parent”. I have your permission to list your website. My intention with this book is to give pet parents current and accurate information about all that is involved in parenting a dog. My focus is dogs exclusively. I am not that knowledgeable about cats. Too often humans think like humans when attempting to meet the needs of their canine family member. Realizing how to meet a dogs needs from a dogs perspective is an education in itself. Part of that insight is awareness about the food we give our dogs. Your efforts have made such a huge difference taking that awareness to a new level for pet parents and the dogs they love. You are one of a small group of people taking on this challenge face to face with the FDA and the food companies. Without your effort i fear we would still be in the dark ages. Please keep doing what you are doing because you are making a significant difference. Woofs & Smiles!

  6. Maica

    Congrats!!! Thank you for all you have done. My kitties and my family thank you for all your dedication and passion. ‘keep on keeping on….’


    You go girl!!! is one bright shining light in all this. Keep up the good work, I know you will. After 3x sets of pelvic fractures and a hip replacement, redundancy and too many house shifts I am going to put together a website as discussed with you previously in New Zealand referring heavily to yours and Mollie’s websites to encourage awareness here in New Zealand. Many blessings to you in your work and always Cherie George

  8. Peter

    I agree with Mollie’s comments, and note her unflagging efforts as well.

    Consumer awareness of the troubled (and often unethical) pet food manufacturing industry has improved. And this has led to the beginnings of a shift in demand that is very threatening to many of the major players who maintain an adversarial relationship with the end-use consumer… who rely on their ignorance… and perhaps, even governemental complicity.

    The rising demand for better products, however, is not enough, and many of the stakeholders are taking effort to maintain their market share. Moreover, even the so-called “premium” and “ultra premium” brands have had troubles, cut corners, demanded litttle from their contract manufacturers (co-packers), and taken no effort to monitor their supply chains. And why should they, when there are seemingly no long-term consequences to being dishonest, refusing to stand behind marketing claims, or harming and even killing companion animals?

    Pet food manufacturing is not singularly bereft of accountability: we live in an age where honesty and acceptance of appropriate responsibility barely exist on any level. It certainly does not exist within government authority on this issue.

    But we must confront the societal phenomena that does seem to be unique to pet parents: that through which consumers have abdicated their own responsibility and given over trust to manufacturers to provide quality or healthy products. That faith has never been deserved. And even in the face of recalls and regulatory problems… the consumer continues to sustain the industry. This criticizm must extend to the veterinary profession, which has failed in its proper role to educate consumers, or to openly combat dishonestly and corruption in the pet food industry.

    Amazing, isn’t it? We have read essays on this site describing the beligerent treatment heaped on the author and consumer representatives at AAFCO meetings, for example. Yet, it seems fair to assume that these same people who combat consumer awareness and oversight of the industry, who defend manufacture of pet foods with inferior and even dangerous ingredients, and who want to redefine what the word “filth” can mean… would likely be the first to call for intervention if there was glass in the baby food that they feed to their own (human) children.

    That this site was hacked several years ago, and that the author is repeatedly attacked by the industry, is proof of its value and effectiveness. Carry on!

  9. Karen Jones

    Thank you for all the hard work you’re putting in to keeping our pets safe.
    I told a friend about the copper sulfate in the dog food so she contacted Purdue and asked the vet there about the dangers of copper. She specifically mentioned Earthborn. Even though Earthborn contains copper sulfate and copper proteinate the vet at Purdue said it is low in copper compared to many other brands and is in the safe amounts. Here is the rest of his response: “Purdue said that the copper scare came about a few years ago and was blown out of proportion due to different people writing papers to lay false claims and those people also had stock in companies who were making the other food.”
    Am I correct that copper sulfate has no place in our pet food? Especially when copper sulfate AND copper proteinate are both added to the same bag. Thanks so much!

  10. Elizabeth

    As you and I have discussed numerous times, I would like to see the cost of good, healthy food for our pets come down, so it isn’t a small fortune to get decent food. In addition, I would like to see the food that is healthy and only found in specialty stores, be introduced into mainstream grocery stores, so when I shop for myself, I can shop for them, too.

  11. Maxine Schmidt

    Appreciative of all the research and insight and education you have given everyone (including me) over the years, and know that whatever you do have and will benefit me and my dogs. A large thank you, and wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, just continue to have the strength to keep doing it! We all support your work wholeheartedly.

  12. Karen Schreiber

    From the Greenmeadow Community Association newsletter in Palo Alto, CA-“The smart talent is coming up with inventive ways of upping the value of food waste. One such technology processes table scraps into high value end products: animal feed and diesel fuel. The advantage of a more valuable end product is that, if all goes right, (food waste) collection costs go down. The nutrient-rich animal feed will meet USDA requirements for animals such as pigs, chickens and dogs.”…
    “The new SAFE (Sustanable Alternative Deed Enterprises) plant in Santa Clara, California, has been in operation in a pilot plant mode for trial runs, and shortly after this writing, was expected to be certified by October 2015, in time for a one year long trial program for 6,500 San Jose households to collect their food scraps in a special bins with a separate compartment of the food collection.”

    In addition, I was driving up US highway 5 North to Redding and I saw many flatbed trucks loaded with huge white sacks which read poultry chips!

    1. Karen Schreiber

      change Spelling in SAFE to Sustainable-my typo

  13. Kath

    I don’t have a suggestion because nothing gets past you! Who knows how many pets you have saved? What a gift it is to get the TRUTH, to learn what lies are thrown at us from the big manufacturers with dishonest TV advertisements and lovely artwork on bags & cans that contain nothing but garbage.

    I know that because of what I’ve learned here, my four rescues had health issues reversed and/or their lives enhanced and prolonged.

    Thank you & never give up!

  14. Batzion

    Bravo Susan! You know what would be good? Whistleblowers. There MUST be people working in the pet contamination — excuse me — food industry who would love to talk anonymously. Just something to think about.

    Thank you, Susan, for EVERYTHING!!!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I couldn’t agree more that we need insiders to talk – maybe one day they will come forward.

  15. Cheryl

    I would love to see some of the expensive dehydrated and dry dog foods tested to see if their labels and claims are accurate. People pay a lot of money in the hopes that they are feeding a better quality of food!

  16. Sage

    I have a novel but fantastic idea: What if one of the PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES from either party stepped up and declared that “If elected President, he or she would take on the PET FOOD Industry!” THAT would be a revelation to both Republicans and Democrats alike.

    SUSAN’S work has clearly had an affect on Big Pet Food Conglomerates and they are ALL well aware that in part, through her efforts, many more pet parents are paying attention to what they are feeding. More independent companies have been created to manufacture healthy safe foods AND some of the larger companies appear to be making an effort to do the same.

    My wish as time goes on would be that SUSAN’S subscriber list could grow by hundreds of thousands AND that influential POLITICIANS would pay attention to what CONSUMERS should be entitled to which of course includes the ability to purchase safe and healthy pet food without jumping through hoops, and that what is INSIDE the package is exactly what is depicted and printed on the Package label! Legally deceptive packaging may be one of the biggest crimes against consumers.

    As long as Susan continues to do the great work she’s doing, positive changes will continue to follow.

  17. Renee

    Could there be more exposure on TV talk shows? Oprah? Radio talk shows like NPR Diane Rehm?

  18. Marge Mullen

    Those of us who practice daily journalism usually make like cowboys or cowgirls and keep our eyes on the horizon for what’s coming next. But sometimes, one of us has to double back to check on something behind us that was left with too many questions.

    Stay the course…giddy up!

  19. darcy flynn

    What I’d like to see is that YOU are supported to carry on the fight. You know the immediate needs; let’s tackle those. I think I am speaking for many when I say please just let us know what you need. We applaud all your efforts and are right behind you.

  20. T Allen

    Great work Susan and team! If you just keep doing what you are doing we will make progress but I agree with Renee that getting on TV and radio with big names will get more people aware of the issues. That is key to hitting the big guys in the pocket book and getting changes to happen. The very best thing I can think of would be to get Consumer Reports or Consumer Labs to take up the testing and reporting! They would quadruple their readership and the media would pick up the reports from them as well. The question is whether they can (or are willing to) withstand the attacks from the PFI. You did it, they should be able to! Any testing you can arrange would be great as well, especially the more expensive brands, People want to know if they are getting what they are paying for. Thanks so much for all your hard work!

    1. Renee

      I LOVE that idea of Consumer Reports!!

    2. Peter

      Consumer Reports has published articles in the past posturing that cheap foods are perfectly fine for companion animals, suggesting that consumers should merely rely on AAFCO standards.

  21. MLM

    Ditto to all the positive comments. Susan, you are my hero too.
    My suggestion relates to access to quality pet food. I was listening to a program this morning about food insecurity in the senior population; a gentleman called in relating his experience with a Meals on Wheels type organization – the group regularly includes cat food. The gentleman related how much that means to him (and his kitty) as the cat is his “constant companion and best buddy”. The organization includes pet food because they realized many people will not eat in order to provide for their beloved companions.
    A local church just had a pet food drive for the food bank, my children and I donated to the cause – my concern is that the vast majority of the donated items were the poor quality products reported about.
    Your question – What to do in year 10? has prompted me to write to the dog and cat food companies I trust and patronize (to the tune of a lot of $$$$) and suggest they participate in pet food drives. Maybe just a drop in the bucket but every little bit helps.
    Thanks again for all you do!!!!

  22. T Allen

    Shared this post to Consumer Reports FB page and got this reply: Consumer Reports Tracey, we appreciate you sharing this information and hate to hear about the loss of any pet. Your comments have been forwarded to the appropriate members of our staff for future consideration.
    Yeah! Maybe more requests from us and contact by Susan and the Team would help?

  23. Karen

    I would love to see you take on the prescription foods. What a farce. And most of them are disgusting foods. I loved when you blew the whistle on the mega incentives Science Diet gives vets to prescribe their food. To me it is a misuse of their license and violation of trust that they try to force these foods on just about everyone when is all about the revenue stream. They are the biggest problem for the independent stores as they tell their customers all kinds of lies about good pet food to try to steal the money. I know someone who was prescribed pet food for giardia. And someone else who tried a new vet, was told they had to get on prescription food and pressured to sign up for an automatic monthly shipment program with their bank account automatically charged. What I say to everyone is – we don’t get prescriptions to eat, why should a pet. There are so many foods available that work well to combat health issues I wish those companies could market that fact.
    Also, I would like to see everyone who supports you to support you by sharing your posts, telling others about you, getting them to sign up on email and become aware of reality. We need to make you more mainstream and well known to all.
    Thank you for everything you do.

  24. G. Hunter


    Great work has been done. I would like to see the AAFCO definition of what constitutes a balanced and complete diet challenged. How is it justified that a grouping of chemicals can be thrown in a ‘starchy brew’ and manufactures claim they’re providing a balanced and complete diet while those providing real meat are vilified?
    Thanks for putting this question out there for suggestions.

  25. Pacific Sun

    By the time my comments post for this article there will be about 1000 views and 30 comments. I’d like to know what are the reactions of those other 970 Readers? If those 1000 viewers shared this site with 10 friends that would be 10,000 more people exposed to information. And if those folks shared with another 10 people there would be 100,000 more exposed! The only thing that is going to change the PFI practices is a shift in the market place which is how people purchase food. Or if they decide instead to home cook for their pets! And the only intelligent way to handle their pet’s diet or to purchase food (or not) is knowledge. There really is no other way to obtain that knowledge except through the TAPF. Which is a very unique position and responsibility to uphold.

    And 9 yrs. of incredible information (and exposes) is an phenomenal achievement! I’m a big believer that if the TAPF (and the ATPF) is going to make future progress, then we the Supporters, have to take an active role. Petitions are one route, as is certainly funding for PF testing. And Followers (true Believers) are anything but apathetic on this site. I would like Year 10 to offer more concrete ways for the Supporters to get involved and push forward the movement. PF Testing was an amazing achievement. To raise nearly $16,000 based only on the faith that something negative would be discovered and proven, including the conviction that taking that risk would be overwhelmingly worthwhile, is such a testimony to the collective trust and effort of the Truth About Pet Food. I think more has to been done in this area.

    We need to prove that knowledgeable consumers want more change; that we’re a powerful group getting more traction everyday through Social Media! Think how important it is when a new Reader drops in, and can identify with an issue they might be researching on-line, and then go away with the opportunity for support and information from other Readers? These aren’t just idle “chat group” opinion oriented pet owners. These are seasoned, passionate, caring, involved and very KNOWLEDGEABLE pet caregivers committed to more learning and helping others (especially regarding cats!). Susan has changed the impact of information sharing to offer direct help to so many Readers. This is such a gift! And a reason for us to be so grateful.

  26. Grateful!

    I broke my comment into 2 parts. But I’d like to say I’ve been a follower for 8 years. It started out with disbelief, and therefore denial for a long time, then debate, and eventually accumulating discovery, along with evidence gathering, and finally conviction.

    I have a 16.5 year old dog that I don’t think would’ve survived to this day if I hadn’t been convinced early on that Ethoxyquin in a very popular brand of kibble was a risk. Nobody at that time (unless they’d been affected by the Recall) was questioning pet food! But it turned out to become one (extended) virtual conversation that pushed me (over the years) into feeding the highest quality foods, rotating ingredients, hedging my bets with a varity of commercial brands, innovative diets, and doing a LOT of home cooking and RAW feeding!

    There was no one solution, except for the ongoing questioning and vigilance of all ingredients, variety and quality. My dog eats better than myself! And now at a point in time when my aged dog could’ve been (or be) diagnosed with a deteriorating serious chronic disease, he’s so far escaped. When he went through a recent traumatic event 6 weeks ago, the Vet was ready to count him down and out. “Poor prognosis” was written into his record. The Vet could offer no real solution for his apparent weakened condition. And just pictured him fading away.

    We did a couple of diagnostic tests. And as long as the Vet couldn’t nail down any fatal disease or condition,(or that he would be in pain) I took that opportunity as a challenge to rehabilitate him – beginning with a purposeful home cooked diet. Very basic, but whole foods that added nutrition and muscle mass. I added 3 healthy pounds to him in 6 weeks which re-energized him, re-enthused him, and permitted the treatments of acupressure and physical therapy to follow. This 16 year old has a new lease on living, he looks forward to his twice weekly Aqua Therapy sessions and receives Holistic Treatments a couple of times a month. He’s busy and involved at home, and more mobile than ever (for this point in his years).

    No illusions on my part, he’s still an older dog, and there are only so many years (or time left) but I’m determined to make his experience comfortable and worthwhile for as long as I can. I couldn’t have done done this, or gotten this far without the TAPF. When owners thank Susan for how their pet’s lives have been saved and transformed, this is only one specific example!! Which I hope would encourage anybody else!

    Thank you Susan for all your unique contributions! You are irreplaceable!!

  27. lili

    Thanks for your efforts, Susan.

    I’d like to see a Veterinarian list similar to the approved food list.

    To me, a veterinarian selling Hills and Royal Canin is akin to a doctor selling cigarettes. It’s about promoting illness in the interest of profit. Or can you imagine if your doctor’s office was in the business of selling supplements and foods?–which is not much different from so-called pharmacies stocking their shelves with all kinds of unproven supplements and scientifically suspect homeopathic remedies. I think almost all vets are in a conflict of interest.

    Veterinarians should not be selling food. They should not have a financial stake in “prescribing” pet food. I would like to see an Ethical Vet List, of vets that advocate fresh food for pets, and have integrity, do not want to overvaccinate pets into an early grave, and cannot bring themselves to sell crap. An ethical vet should not economically capitalize on their position of trust to peddle food, or to promote other’s foods for kickbacks. They are supposed to be in the business of promoting pet health, not profiting from promoting their illness.

    1. lili

      Including a Pledge!

  28. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

    I would like to see the following issue’s addressed:

    #1–Euthanized pets used in pet feed/treats

    #2–“foreign” proteins used in pet foods that are not supposed to be in there.

    #3–Confronting/petitioning ALL pet “feed” & pet “food” manufacturers about the scientific proof of the health compromising use of the use of CARRAGEENAN in foods & to immediately STOP! using it! Offer the suggestion of using Chia seed (gelatinized) as the substitute. ****This is extremely upsetting to see “supposed” premium & very expensive pet foods using this ingredient! ****

    #4–Continuing to put the pressure on AFFCO & FDA about letting labeling claims (by way of pictures portraying the food sources) as false claims that do not portray what in reality is REALLY in the ingredient listing.

    #5–Finding ways to get more whistle blowers on the inside of industries

    #6–Finding new & creative ways to gravitate more pet lovers/rescue workers/shelter directors etc to the information T.A.P.F has been exposing. ****I STILL am blown away at how many rescue ppl & shelters do NOT know one ioda about inferior pet “feed” ingredients! There has to be a way to get access to animal networking groups/sites to educate ppl at a greater mass, then there will be a greater trickle-down effect, as then we help educate ppl that then become adopters.****

    1. Pacific Sun

      1_ These are outstanding aspirations, but no part of the Industry is going to admit euthanized pets end up in PF.

      2_ Mislabeling is a real problem, and the only way to combat this intentional deceipt is routine sample testing. The FDA should receive increased in funding for this to happen. And consumers need to demand that this happens!

      3_ Carrageenan seems like the cheapest alternative to solidifying their products, yet as you point out, there are alternatives. Consumers should keep pushing for this improvement! And actively campaign against (or refuse to buy) those products with Caregeenan!

      4_ The misleading imaging that does appear on PF packaging is absolutely criminal! Consumers must demand enforcement of Truth in Advertising (equals truth in labeling!). What’s the point of going to all the effort of accurate ingredient labeling, if a picture of a “pan seared Tuna fillet” appears on the outside of the package? This is absurd. How can the Industry (or Regulatory Agency) claim this has anything to do with “Free Speech?” Just crazy!

      5_ My guess is that to work in the PFI (as a career) employees must sign Confidentiality Disclosure Agreements. It is amazing to me that even laid off (disgruntled) laborers don’t bother to report on insider trade secrets! But it certainly seems like the Industry has “locked down” these potential informers. It’s all about Separation Agreements and the Moan-nee!

      6_ From prior comments on the Forum Rescue volunteers are overwhelmingly focused on just saving pets’ lives, and are grateful for whatever keeps them alive after the fact. This is an imperfect world, but when their work partially relies upon PF donations, beggars can’t be choosers. I completely agree though that mainstream PF Consumers require education! The more we publicize the TAPF’s efforts through Social Media the better. The only thing that will drive true reform in the PFI is market place traffic. Reaching the goal of accurately defining products per “human grade quality” ingredients versus “pet/livestock grade quality” will achieve monumental progress towards educating the public! Once we have those “handles” so much more can be done education wise! Once the truth about Endotoxins reaches the public’s attention, so much more can be said as to why certain pets get so sick from commercial PF. That’s the tipping point, meaning the ability to demonstrate WHY PF can actually be a hazard to some pets’ welfare and safety!

      1. darcy flynn

        This is so difficult. I used to work for a vet. I have been involved in pet rescue/adoption for over 25 years, now helping greyhounds. Without the “point circles,” essentially a type of coupon or refund, from the dogfood bags of Purina, it would be financially impossible for my organization to provide food for the fosters that we receive. While I realize these greyhounds have been fed worse food their entire racing life, the rescue organization has no options while these dogs are in foster; funds are nonexistent to help these amazing dogs. Most adopters are unaware of their new pet’s welfare and safety and the cost involved with changing their new greyhound’s diet. Would that deter the from adopting – I believe it would and it is heartbreaking. Good food is not the same price as Ol’ Roy at Walmart, but what happens to these dogs if they aren’t adopted? I’m between a rock and a hard place. I’ve lost all my recent dogs, Goldens, St. Bernards, pit mixes, greyhounds, etc to some type of cancer. The only way to end my heartbreak is to change the system. There is so much support out there and with Susan at the lead, we’ll do this!! Get some safe food out there for all dogs!

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