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Orijen’s Response

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  1. Lisa

    I personally find this response to be lacking and, honestly full of PR crap.

    “While Champion does not endorse hunting of any kind, Hog Wild Specialties does operate a separate business that offers hunting, which is run on 25 acres of land.”

    This is their “but I did not inhale excuse.” It’s like a child trafficker saying I didn’t molest the children, I just sold them to people that I knew may do it.

    This is a cop out answer and unacceptable!

  2. Donna

    I feed my my little boy Orijen & recently bought the Regional Red variety. Prior to this bag, I fed him the fish formula. Im interested in the results of this inquiry. I will not support any company that uses meat products from canned hunts. That is a horrible practice. This is not the Hunger Games!

    1. Sandy

      Donna, Please read more carefully.Orijen does NOT use meat obtained from hunting.

      1. DCH


        So Orijen would like us to believe. That does not seem to be clearly addressed in their somewhat standard response to Susan. We won’t know until they are finished with their investigation and report back to Susan. By the way, what is the reason for their taking so long to make the Pledge?

  3. Carol Anne Rayson

    I have been a raw feeder for 16 years also a nutritionist … Origen is one if the few processed petfoods I recommend and keep some if there freeze dried on hand fir emergencies ..
    Animal abuse in the food chain is sickening … and none more so than in the factory farms from where the majority of petfood processors source their meat and eggs ..CBC Marketplace, a couple of weeks ago, aired an expose on one of the largest factory farmed turkey facilities in Canada …
    A few months ago, they aired the same type of expose on a large, Canadian factory farming egglaying facility ..the horrors on pig farms is mind -numbing …and it’s not just the majoirity of pets eating food from these facilities .. Most humans are too…. So let’s not single out Origen for a transgression. They are at least trying to provide, local and humanely raised, while the majority of petfood manufacturers are not 🙁

    1. Cshewch

      What products do you recommend for transferring my senior golden doodle to a raw diet? I’m fed up with the constant price hikes of Orijen

  4. Hope Williams

    …and Susan, I think it would be ethical to ask for a timeframe as to when Champion will complete their “working with Hog Wild to better understand their hunting operations”. And, of course, how will this “understanding” relate to whether or not they will continue to use boar from Hog Wild for Champion products? If all the retail stores that sell Champion products boycotted the products and formulas from Champion that contain wild boar would the impact of time and ethics be better understood by them do you think? I think these questions need to be posed. Do you?

    Thank you Susan for posing the important questions that need to be asked within our industry and following up as needed!

    1. B Dawson

      I don’t understand the outrage here. Every bag of dog or cat food you buy has dead animals in it. The only way to humanely kill an animal is to take it completely by surprise with a perfect kill shot.

      Go to the most humane slaughter house you can find. The creatures are herded into a crowded chute, singled out, then shot in the head with a bolt gun. Poultry are put into a cone upside down, their throats are slit and they bleed out.

      If you think these animals don’t know what’s coming, you are very wrong. The “smell of death” is real and distinct. These animals can’t escape any more than in a canned hunt. Canned hunting is pitiful and I don’t support it, but slaughtering is not any less fearful or painful for the animals.

      I say all this from personal experience. I’m a vegetarian biologist who feeds raw meat to my 3 dogs and 8 cats (all rescues). I purchase most of their meat from a local farm. When I was in Georgia, I went to local packing house to buy goat carcasses so yes, I have been to slaughter houses.

      It is not Champions job to tell their supplier how to run collateral businesses that have nothing to do with the meat they sell to Acana/Orijen. Certainly Champion can vote by dumping them. But y’all should look closely into who owns whom before you cast stones. It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid unsavory business practices. Take a close look at your retirement investments and you may find you own stock in Haliburton, Purina, or Monsanto.

      1. UrbanCollieChick

        I happen to agree with you B Dawson. And “fair chase’ hunting also creates a great deal of fear and stress, and animals on the move are harder to shoot. Better chance for a bad shot and causing pain.

        This is more a judgement call on people, based on a perception of the type of person who would pay to shoot a boar on the farm, rather than do all the hard work of hunting one in the wild. But if this is causing less stress to the boar, who are fearless where humans are concerned, and don’t even have to ride to the S-house, what does it matter?

      2. alexandra

        Well said. Much as I deplore “canned hunting”, that is a separate issue from safe, healthy dog food. It sounds as if people are jumping to conclusions based on emotion (and I admit to feeling emotional about canned hunting) not reason. What Orijen said did not admit to using “canned” boar in the dog food it sells. Yes, there does seem to be delayed response.
        Actually, as you touch on, is there really a difference between killing a boar in a slaughter house or in the field? The people who do the killing are different (for the first it’s a job, for the hunters, it’s fun) but the end result is death.
        It is a relief that you, a vegetarian, feed raw meat to your dogs! I do not think all our moral or human health concerns should be inflicted upon our carnivores!


        1. Littlesundog

          Not all hunters kill for “fun”. For some of us it is to consume wild food – not store bought meats which are mostly full of hormones and steroids, and no idea how they were fed. I think you are referring to hunters who kill for sport. Those exist, but there are as many of us who kill for wild foods and also forage for wild plants. And yes there is a difference between killing in the field and killing in a slaughter house. In the field, the kill is in nature, where an animal is used to being – in its natural state. In a slaughter facility an animal can sense and smell death. In the field even if the animal senses a predator (man or animal) there is possibility of escape. In a slaughter house there is fear – and being trapped in a confined area before the kill, alters the condition of the body, and thus the meat.

      3. Littlesundog

        So very well said. It is up to each of us to educate ourselves and investigate.

    2. AK

      Thanks for posting those videos, especially the second one… disgusting monsters taking pleasure in torturing living beings:-(

  5. Tom Iverson

    I currently feed two large German Shepherds Orijin 80/20 at $80 a bag for I believe 23.5 lbs. you can imagine how much food I go through. The lack of signing the pledge concerns me because I thought I was giving my dogs the best food out there. I will now choose a food from a supplier that has signed the pledge. Thanks for opening my eyes Susan.

    1. Greg N

      Tom Tom Tom…time to step back and see the forest from the trees friend. You pay what you pay because there isn’t a better kibble on the market this side of raw. Let’s not also forget that several years in a row was voted the healthiest petfood by a “non profit” nationally respected institute. You get what you pay for so for starters don’t complain about what you get or if so, go back to your supermarket and buy the junk. Pledge or not, they have bent over backwards in providing information about their food. I am glad the naysayers on this blog are a minority in the big picture.

  6. Julia Deardorff

    I feed my dogs Orijen and Acana and I am totally satisfied with this response. I value the food Champion makes for my dogs and trust them to be honest. I’m certain that some fault could be found with the food I prepare in my own kitchen or things I grow in my own garden. Thank you for the response Champion.

    1. Greg N

      Well said Julia…as a champion Bullmastiff Breeder who cares about the food I use. I never complain about the cost of the food I use because it is Orijen from the time they are on kibble. Alot of breeders choose junk just to cut costs and shouldn’t be breeding because of that. Anyway, Just wanted to say that luckily, we are of the “majority” of people that understand Champion’s commitment to quality and that is why there isn’t a better kibble on the market today.

  7. Beth Marousek

    I have a different twist on this. As someone who has raised dairy goats and then faced the reality of what to do with the kids (you can’t sell them all to good homes, there aren’t enough homes), we did what most folks do: process the meat. This was so hard for me we quit raising goats. But I’ve seen the difference between home butchering and a slaughterhouse. I insisted we slaughter the kids ourselves, because they would be spared the fear and confusion of being transported away from their home to a very nasty place. The slaughterhouses I’ve visited are not concerned about the animal’s feelings. At our home, they were raised humanely and their lives ended with a quick bullet – they never knew what was coming. Death and torture are two different things. Sending boars to a slaughterhouse is torture. A hunter’s bullet is a quick end.

    1. Cathy

      I tend to agree with you Beth. It seems we’ve all heard of the atrocities which take place at factory farms and the abuse and inhumane treatment leading up to and including the types of slaughter used. Crowded conditions where livestock are walking over one another dead and alive seem to be the norm. These canned hunt animals have 25 acres to roam and are supposedly well. Hopefully, the people who seek this type of hunt are at least adept with the weapon used to kill the animal to make it as rapid a death as possible. May be the lesser of two evils. It’s hard to think about either way.

      1. Peter

        Except that “canned hunting,” and similar situations, aside from their ethical limitations, often do not result in a quick death, but wounding, maiming, and suffering, at the hands of those who do not understand or concern themselves with the meaning of the words “sport,” “suffering,” and “cruelty.”

        1. UrbanCollieChick

          But Peter, do you have more details? What are the numbers? How often do these animals get that badly maimed and wounded and how does that compare to the animals who get maimed on a more traditional, “Fair chase” hunt? The type of hunt that a lot of people here see as more ethical?

          Do you have statistics? How can you be so sure there is that much wounding?

    2. Rebecca

      I couldn’t agree more, Beth. So many people talk about vegetarianism which is fine if that is what you want, however, what about those of us who just want meat for ourselves and our furkids to be HUMANELY killed? I see no value, purpose or excuse for torturing animals before they die.

    3. Chris Stevens

      Thank God someone said this.
      An animal that has room to move and run around , even in a 25 acre area , has a much better quality of life than the factory farm operations where they are crammed into an area they can’t even turn around in. Hunting is a much more humane way to procure meat than these terrible places that you and I get our food

  8. Jane Eagle

    I don’t know…but I suspect that animals hunted, even in canned hunts may have a much easier death than the factory farmed ones. And most “humanely raised” claims are proved to be b.s. (like the “cage free” chickens who are kept in the same density, in the same facility, just with no wires; still debeaked, still deprived of light or fresh air). Unless you are buying from some small local rancher, no large scale ranchers are raising animals “humanely” for food, and that does not even begin to address the slaughtering process.
    I am mostly vegan (still fail occasionally); and it is an awful situation to try to find meat for our carnivorous animal friends that does not involve some horrendous cruelty.
    And I totally agree with most of the other posters here, especially Lisa.

  9. Lesliek

    It’s interesting that they only responded after 30 negative posts following the story about them not calling Susan back . Kudos to them for careful internet monitoring . Too bad that wasn’t in place back when their food was killing Australian pets huh ? Now maybe they can get back to work on their pledge , although I guess you could say it’s ok for it to take 2 years . The rest of the real world tends to work a little faster , but I guess they are just challenged with time frames . With this in mind we should hear something about these canned hunts by 2016 at least . Doesn’t matter to me , I don’t use their products , never will & told them why . Not buying a product is a great way to make companies change as long as you notify them why & share that info with all you know . To me any company who responds this way is just as bad as Diamond, Mars , Del Monte , P&G , Nestle or Menu foods . Or my personal favorite Evangers . Feed your pets real food , raw or cooked . Buy it as local as possible & as organic & free range as you can get .

    1. B Dawson

      You do know that Evanger’s owners were arrested on federal charges several years ago, right? They were accused of directing employees to re-wire their production facility to by-pass the meters there-by lowering their gas & electric bills.

      Please note that I said “accused” and not convicted. I don’t know the outcome as I stopped monitoring it in 2010 when I closed my pet supply. Perhaps Susan can fill in the details I lack? I don’t wish to disparage a company that was cleared of charges.

  10. Woofielover

    Soooo – they obviously know who Susan is and what kind of impact her work and her site can have since they were right on top of responding to her “canned hunt” post. Then why not sign the pledge as promised, and, in the future, abide by the time frame that THEY set to respond to her answers. The bottom line here is they got caught dismissing her and her questions as unimportant or that they didn’t have time to bother with her. They and all other manufacturers need to know that she speaks on behalf of THEIR consumers so when they dismiss her, they’re dismissing all of their customers. This would have been easily handled by being forthcoming and transparent within their own stated time frame.

  11. Cindy

    I do not see any of this as reason to stop feeding my dogs Orijen. I think it’s a good quality kibble and my dogs do well on it.

  12. Dave

    While Champion does not endorse hunting of any kind

    Does that mean they condemn hunting then? Or they don’t oppose hunting, but don’t publicly voice their support for hunting? The wordings are important because there are quite a few hunting kennels which receive sponsorship from Champion Petfoods; and in exchange, they advertise the brands on the kennel websites.

    1. Marc

      I feed my wheaten terrier Acana. I have been in touch with Susan Thixton a couple of years ago when I asked her about what she thought of Orijen who makes Acana. She said to me that they have not signed the ‘pledge’ at the time. This is my first time responding in a few years. 1) I am running low on Acana kibble 2) I want to know if I should continue purchasing Acana anymore and if they have signed the pledge. 3) I was told by Petfood Warehouse in Vermont that Acana for a while will not be making the kibble because of moving or building a new plant. Any answers to these questions would be helpful. Now, I see ‘canned’ hunting? This is new to me, don’t we have enough things to worry about with pets and our daily lives? Thanks, Marc.

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        Hi Marc,
        So far, we have not received Champion Pet Food’s Pledge.

  13. Jerina Corban-Banks

    Susan, thank you for all the work you do to bring accountability to the pet food industry. I am down here in New Zealand and am amazed at how the companies in the northern hemisphere are still conducting themselves when being brought to order as you do so often. Honesty is something that is continually evaded and the PR spin takes over, carefully using words but not saying anything at all. We represent and distribute for two NZ made pet food manufacturing companies. Honesty and integrity in company culture and production of good honest food is what sells our products.
    It is a pity that the rest of the world cant do the same.

  14. Tammy Baugh

    Regardless of pledge, I have contacted the company and requested a sample of and got and gave it to my feline family. You know what? None of them would touch it. If they will not eat a sample of it, I sure won’t be buying any of that! Slowly I am introducing things I cook up for them. So far they wouldn’t touch my shrimp crackers either. I wonder if it is since I did not add salt.(Like the pet foods have in them) At least I know what was in them. Thanks for keeping us all posted Susan.I really like Lobster and often feed a little bit to them, once a week. But I wonder about the iodine in that! Seems like there is always something to be concerned about in feeding them. But they are worth the effort.

  15. Robin

    While I am not a fan of hunting of any kind, meat production is inherently inhumane. Even those who feed raw diets, unless they raise their own meat, support factory farming. Cattle are taking a huge toll on this planet.

    I was also shocked when I read a recent story about how much ocean life is killed and thrown back when we harvest fish from the ocean. California discards up to 65% of what is caught in it’s nets,m including dolphins and whales.

    Feeding the masses and their pets is an ugly business.

  16. Mary Ashman

    I have been looking to replace Orijen/Acana food after I get my free bag. this is awful hearing this and obviously they are dancing around the issue. Bottom line is they are buying from the same company that has the hunts…So how can they say they are different companies. Their quality has changed considerably and they are now added pea protein and fiber to Acana…one of the cheapest forms of protein out there. Sizes of bags get smaller and smaller and they still have not supplied their pledge..over 2 years later. Why? Obviously something they are hiding something.

  17. JOYCE - Canada

    Well, Mary Ashman feels the same as I do. ,I have bought Orijen – Acana for years for my 4 dogs.I keep checking for them to make the pledge. I trusted that I had the best food for my kids and now I see they can’t be trusted at all . It may be
    a better way than a slaughter house death for sure. But as it says 2 yrs and they still won’t make the pledge, now this video of the happy as hell killers.Too bad I just bought a large bag ( which is shrinking but pricier) but my last from that company now for absolute sure.

    1. Marc

      I am so glad to read this…about Acana. I commend Susan and all people that post the truth. NOW, what brand do I buy my dog that has taken the pledge? Thank you, Marc

      Can someone furnish me the link to a list if there is any? Thanks again.

  18. Peter

    Orijen comments that “We respect much of the work Susan does in helping ensure pet food makers are honest and transparent,” and I would be interested in a disclosure of what it is that they do not respect. You either support honesty and transparency or you don’t.

  19. Mike L

    It’s interesting reading the passionate input here. Two years to take a stand one way or the other regarding the pledge is one issue, and one well worth noting. When it comes to the main focus of the article though, a couple points come to my mind:

    – The company may be guilty of falling behind their own time frame for a more comprehensive response but they DID reply with one. Getting all upset because it took them a bit longer to get back is, in my opinion, a waste of energy. They followed through and I give them credit for that.
    – Just curious, does every person complaining here happen to know exactly where their own meat/fish comes from, exactly how it is killed and exactly how it is processed each and every time? I suspect that some of you actually do but, seriously, do you know and follow through each and every time you purchase meat/fish that you cook at home or eat in a restaurant every single time?

    Seems to me that the company conducts itself in a pretty ethical fashion compared to the majority of pet food companies. Is it perfect? Nope. Are we? Nope. Should we continue to monitor and address ethical issues as we each see fit? Of course and each of us has to choose how we will do just that along with when, how and if we will make allowances for our own table/eating habits along the way. There is value in considering a bigger picture view sometimes, no? Did it take them longer to address the issue than they had thought? Seems so but more importantly, they didn’t dodge it.

    I don’t, by the way, use the companies product nor do I work for them.

    I’m curious – does anyone here know of a pet food company that can and does guarantee not just free range, ethically raised meat/fish but also gentle/ethically killed and processed meat/fish? Maybe this is covered here in the site and I’ve missed it so do please point me in the correct direction if so.

    Many thanks,
    Mike L

    1. B Dawson

      A very good post Mike. I suppose that folks like the Honest Kitchen would be closest to a “perfect” company – I don’t work for them, by the way. But in the end, we have to believe what we’re told by the marketing company associated with the food.

      I was outright lied to by so many pet food companies in my 10 years as a pet supply owner that I threw in the sponge in 2010. I was spending a good 20 hours weekly trying to verify all the claims being made and vetting all the new foods that came on the market weekly. At least now most of the food companies are willing to tell you what plants manufacture their food and who owns them and that does help.

      I can’t blame any company for not taking Susan’s pledge. It is a slippery slope. Yes on the surface it seems simple – tell us where everything comes from and guarantee that the label is accurate. But consider this scenario…

      Companies know exactly how much consumers will spend for pet food. A company researches a kibble plant that can supply the ingredients, manufacture/test the food and ship it to their distribution facility for a cost that allows them to meet the consumers’ cost expectations. They do not have direct control over how that kibble plant buys the ingredients from commodity brokers or how they clean the equipment between someone else’s food and my production run. They can’t make sure that the employee has calibrated the equipment properly or has dumped the right bag of ingredients into the hopper. That is unless, they put someone from the company in the plant during manufacture to supervise. Oh, wait, that increases costs. So the pet food company trusts the kibbler to do what they ask, does some of their own in-house testing when the food arrives and hopes for the best. A food company can buy it’s own ingredients, send them to the kibble plant and contract for food to be made from those ingredients but again, you have to trust the kibble plant to use only those ingredients, etc. This also increases the cost.

      If something goes wrong or the kibble plant has slipped up, the company on the bag is what takes the rap for “lying” when they signed that pledge. Look at some of the comments here – they are ferocious. Few will allow for mistakes or cut any slack. Yes, it’s food for our pets and there should be accountability. But as you pointed out, who in their life is mistake proof? Large holding companies who produce a reasonably priced food for the masses face far less damage from not signing the pledge than if they have to face the outfall for a mistake during manufacture.

      It is only the smallish companies, like Honest Kitchen who can afford to sign. Their food is, however, priced above what most folks can afford. This is not a criticism of the price – if you got to the market fillet mignon is a lot more than pink slime ground beef.

    2. Peggy

      Thank you Mike for a well considered response. I think Orijen is more ethical than most. Any time you’re buying from a manufacture you can’t be 100% sure. As B Dawson pointed out it’s hard for Orijen to be 100% sure. I think they do a better job than most. ANY time you are feeding meat it involves killing an animal. And, unless you hand slaughter it yourself you can never be 100% sure of anything. So you cook for your animal. That means nothing if you don’t know where that animal, whose meat you’re using, has been every moment of his/her life.

      In a similar vein, every time I hear people outraged over dogs or cats being abused, the irony is not lost on me, that many of these people will sit down later that day, and feast on an animal that lead an unspeakably cruel existence and a horrific slaughter. And, being a cat owner, I in no way mean to imply that I’m not outraged along with everyone else over the abuse of dogs and cats. But I do marvel at the disconnect.

  20. ellie

    They are working to “understand” the canned hunt? How hard does one have to work to understand such a matter?
    They allow losers that can’t hunt in the traditional sense of the word to run wild on 25 acres of fenced in land and blow away defenseless animals. It is disgusting but so is the way our beef and pork as well as poultry animals are treated both before and during the slaughtering process.
    I don’t support either method.

    1. Marc

      I came to this thread on Orijen/ Acana…. and I am disgusted at what I have read… Ellie’s comment has made me so angry that this company is practicing. I agree with you totally. I cannot support or buy Orijen/Acana anymore. I will spread the word. Thanks Ellie, and everyone else. Please advise me of what brand you buy now for your dog’s kibble. I feed my dog kibble with coconut oil in the morning and raw diet in the evening.

  21. Spencer Brehl

    I personally feel way too many pet owners on here are frankly, being over dramatic. I understand not everyone endorses hunting, I personally don’t hunt, but so long as the animal is being killed cleanly and as humanely as possible whats the big deal? Your also blaming Champion pet foods for something completely out of their control, what one of their many suppliers do as a side business is none of their concern. So long as the animals from said hunts aren’t used in the foods, there really isn’t much Champion foods can do.
    I would think most people doing the trophy hunting aren’t going to pay $600+ just to kill the boar and walk away, most would like to mount the animal to boast about later. I also can’t imagine their are a lot of Boar farmers that fit the criteria required by Champion to be used in their foods especially at a large enough scale. The only real options Champion has is to either leave the boar in the food from the same supplier, try and find another supplier, or lastly, remove boar from the food entirely. I’d also being willing to bet if they were to remove the boar from the foods many of you would be up in arms over that as well. I’d suggest pick your battles, especially when you pick on one of the few pet food companies truly trying to offer the best food they can. Save your hatred for companies that couldn’t care at all where their supplies come from or how their treated and are just in it for the money.

  22. W.Pedersen

    I live in Europe. Here dog and cat food are labeled as non-food which give option for using all kind of ugly ingrediens. Non of the manufactures are telling anything about quality. Eg. Royal Canin are using feathers as protein source and are looking into worms!! ( see interview with RC CEO). Normally we say … look to New Zeeland or Canada for dog food….. the know about quality.
    I have not interest in orijen (feed raw) but I think this discussion is way out. It is a ‘spoiled’ discussion. Yes hunting is a strange sport. Orijen say they don’t get meat from hunting…. and even if they did…. so what. We still kill animals for feeding . It’s a Disney way of thinking…. we must not see or feel anything bad. Zoos in europe kill animals and feed eg lions with the meat…. why not

  23. j taylor

    B Dawson has stated it well……ultimately animals die…not just to feed us but our pets….don’t be naive…..most are farm raised…….with the sole purpose of feeding us and our companions. Don’t kid yourself that any….ANY producer of dog food does not get the main meat source from a farm…….they type of farm may vary but ultimately their main purpose is to provide massive amounts of meat… if it makes you feel better to envision them frolicking across meadows before their throats are cut do so but you start trying to disney all farms you will soon find yourself with no meat to eat never mind your pets.

  24. mort snyder

    I am a hunter. I only eat what I kill, both wild game and fish. One elk, one moose and one Bison will provide enough meat for the year. Fish you can get most year round. A well placed bullet of appropriate caliber is the most humane way of dispatching an animal. Unfortunately I cant say the same for suffocating a fish but there it goes.

    For those of you that eat meat I encourage you to take a tour of a meat processing facility, that should cure you of eating meat. Next visit a fish farm, that is the end of eating fish. Now go see the process of getting vegetables to market and check what they are spraying on them. No vegetables for you. So drink a lot of filtered water and you have about 3 weeks left with no food.

    If you are a gardener or a gatherer you can get decent fresh produce but it is very time consuming if you need to be gainfully employed elsewhere. But hunting and fishing are pretty efficient as a source of meat, not to mention time to enjoy the outdoors, and have some fun.

    So the next time you decide to toss some pejorative comments at hunters, remember, they are eating naturally fed, non antibiotic or hormone injected, healthy animals, while doing the processing and packaging as carefully as possible.
    You are feeding your face with some of the most hideous meat, fish and vegetables possible in the stream of commerce.

    PS. all this wild game makes excellent dog food. That’s what nature designed them to eat.

  25. Julee

    Origen and Acana are everything I hoped. Their food has made such huge differences in my dogs. It takes just one person to start doubt flying without any regard for patience or desire to get the complete facts. They produce excellent food for our animals and attempt to go above and beyond for us all. Seems as though people should stop looking for fault and causing un-necessary alarm and dissent. Hunting is far more humane than slaughter houses anyway. Get a life. Let those of us who appreciate healthy animals have healthy ones.

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