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Pet Food Spies

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  1. Wolf

    Susan, I don’t know how many people out here realize the hits you take…the hacks, the interruptions of service, the problems with your website, etc. As if all the research and digging you do weren’t hard enough, you deal with this crap too – all the time. But somehow taking over your phone number and voice (and having knowledge of your habits) is a new level of creepy.

    Be careful out there, Susan. And we’ve all got your back.

  2. SK

    OMG, how absolutely terrifying!!!! 🙁 I hope you can find the culprit and get them prosecuted! Seriously disturbing.

  3. Ellie

    When you consider the corruption level of people that use waste products to produce something they call “feed” (plus the profit level) then I guess you can understand that they do not have the slightest bit of ethical behavior within their beings.
    I know that “smart” phones can be used for a number of illegal uses. Computer technology has soared way beyond anything we could have imagined. The old land line phone had been breached long ago.
    I am sure that they feel that if they can stop anyone that is within the industry from talking to you that they will continue to have the upper hand. It seems silly to be threatened by on pet food consumer advocate but I guess greed knows no boundaries.

  4. Jean-Pierre

    Susan:

    Come up with a “code phrase” that would identify you. If your phones/emails are tapped, then you need to send in writing via UPS/FedEx via a different person (your mail could be intercepted as well) and a different location. Send a string of “code phrases” not words, which can be changed on assigned dates (e.g., code phrase from 4/13 through 4/16 “Sorry my cat was meowing at me”; from 4/17 through 4/21 “***”). You need to be clever in coming up with code phrases in that they must seem mundane but unlikely to happen during the days the code is active. Two can play this game. Best of luck.

  5. Mandy B

    That is SUPER creepy! And the worst part is, who knows how long that has been going on. Maybe you should go to the police?

  6. Genny Broussard

    I admire your work, and yes, it is a tough job reporting the truth. Please be safe and I hope your natural ability to investigate the truth reveals the source of the spying. Your work is public knowledge and their work is in hiding. Be proud Susan! We are proud of you and your work. Thanks. 🙂

  7. John Huff

    Geezus Susan that is scary stuff. PLEASE be careful so nothing escalates. The only thing good about this disturbed individual (or group) is that you are hitting a sore nerve for them.
    Be well, stay safe, and THANK YOU for all you do.
    JH

  8. Nat

    Geez. Definitely a new low. And who else could be doing it? The average hacker or techy would want nothing to do with you unless money was involved. I hope they read this and the comments and realize how idiotic they are. I mean, really. Do they honestly believe this will instill trust among the masses to try and silence our loudest voice? The voice we’ve all wanted? You guys aren’t very smart, clearly.

  9. JT

    As a thought or alternative, StartMail has an encrypted email program for an annual fee that they affirm is secure. You can send messages in encrypted form and before sending the email, you must enter a question and answer that the other person will have to know in order to open the email. Each time they re-open that email, they will have to again enter in the answer to access it. It remains encrypted in your inbox. If you can somehow arrive at a secret code or response to a question that only you two know, that is an alternative you can consider. I have used it and appreciate StartMail enormously. I am thankful for their service.

  10. Cindy Myers

    Very scary stuff! The degree of spying and harassment must be in direct relation to how you are telling the truth or else they would not bother. Have you considered contacting the AG for your state? Thanks for all your hard work, I just wish you did not have to endure this crap. Please stay safe and consider hiring a private investigator.

  11. Kay Henn

    Oh dear. How horrible, Susan. Good for you for publicising it. Keep on publicising it. We’re with you.

  12. Megan

    Yes, the hairs were definitely standing up on my neck. Very creepy!
    Unbelievable they would go to these lengths. But I guess that’s what happens when the profits are threatened.
    I would just like to voice my support for you, Susan. And say THANK YOU for all your work to expose the truth. And thank you for helping us to keep our pets safe and healthy.

  13. Terri Janson

    Susan, I’m not suprised. “They” have a LOT to lose when they go down! There scared..and they should be. I tell everyone I know about what is really going on and ask everyone to share my information on facebook. The word IS getting out and they are on the run!!!

  14. Holly McCutcheon

    Ummm…ookaayyyy. Perhaps the spy recorded a conversation you had previously and are using it to synthesize your voice, even using parts of your actual previous conversation, such as the beach thing, to gain trust. That might make it was scratchy. Someone could also be spying on your contact rather than you – trying to catch them in a ‘secret’ giveaway. You both need to be careful.

  15. Michelle

    Susan,

    It is AMAZING to me the lengths they are going to to protect the one thing that matters to them most “MONEY”! It’s not the health and well being of our precious fur families, it is their damn pockets! If they spent their time trying to cure the problems that there are in the pet food industry instead of wasting their time and money trying to shut you up! This so disgusts me!

    I am soo sorry they are putting you thru this. Maybe for the ones you speak to on a daily/weekly basis a safe word?

    You know what this means right? You are getting to them!!! YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!

    Thank you for the information you have and continue to share so we can help to keep our babies safe.

    Much respect,
    Michelle

  16. Donna

    Gosh, and all I thought they did with me is have their hired attorney call me at 9pm one night to harass me.

    You have struck a nerve with these people. They would not stoop to this level of ill-intent if they didn’t have something to hide and realize that you are the one person uncovering their secrets. They’re afraid of you.

    Great work. Speak to the police, hire a private investigator, whatever it takes to protect yourself and expose them.

  17. Anne

    Maybe it was simply a “wrong number” from someone who sounded like you; people voices do sound similar!!!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      No Anne – it was not a wrong number. The calls received were from my actual phone number and the person pretended to be me.

    2. Caroline Burton

      Anne, who do you work for?

  18. al

    Hi Susan,
    The f da, corp and gov hire spys to spy on any one who could hurt or compete with their sales. The gov f da protect corp profits. They see you on the internet educating people about the horrible pet food. You are costing them sales. So they will ask an employee to spy on your calls, hack your emails, follow you, whatever they want. Pretend they are you to get info from your contacts. They hope it will scare you and you will go away.

    I see gov trolls and corp employees attacking anyone on any comment walls from newspapers online, media online to any type of website. They attack any and all honest posters, posting the truth, recommending the cheaper, safer way for anything and everything. If you post and get attacked for telling the truth, tell everyone on the Comment board that this is a paid lying troll. Some webmasters get smart and start deleting paid troll comments

    Fortunately you can share with your followers what is going on.

    You mentioned that the f da signed up for your newsletter. I would delete them, and keep deleting them every time they sign up. Eventually they will sign up under a decoy name but at least make it harder for these f da criminals.

    May have to keep changing your phone number. Anyone can easily spy on texting so avoid texting.

    Good luck and keep up the good work in warning pet lovers to avoid all big commercial pet food.

    http://www.VeteransToday.com Veterans Today.com they are helping to share the truth about what is happening now.

    Thanks for sharing Susan.

  19. Bill McQuade

    When is the movie coming out? You really need to write a book about your experiences to date. I am an independent retailer that has been in business since 1973. I introduced Science Diet, Iams, Eukanuba, Nutro, Bil Jac etc way back in the day. We have been grooming since 1973 and started seeing a host of new problems start up with our regular clients with the advent of Wal Mart Super Center and big box stores. After much research, we threw out all of the brands. $20,000.00 in income gone. It was a difficult decision financially but easy morally. We brought in raw products and were able to find a distributor in Mt Vernon MO that listened to me and brought in the products we wanted. Trying to educate a public that gets their education on the “boob tube” is very difficult. Please keep up your good work and suggest your followers try to find independent, informed retailers and support them. Getting in the pockets of corporate America is the only way this mess will ever change.

  20. Lisa P

    Oh, Susan. How scary. I wouldn’t like seeing anyone losing their job who is trying to alert you from these companies, nor do we want anything to happen to you. Will send out prayers for your safety. Please be careful and know we appreciate what you are doing on behalf of our beloved pets who bring us so much joy, being a voice for those who cannot speak. Sounds like a couple of previous posters have some good ideas for you. Hope you can implement something that will “cloak” your identity! Best wishes!

  21. Cheri Fun Fellinger

    Susan,

    I have worried for your safety for a long time now. I hope you have someone watching out for you and you have everything you want known about, well, whatever safely in the hands of a lawyer who can’t be bought and a copy in a safe deposit box only your mommy has a key to. You are involved with the government and what you do IS dangerous. Governments don’t like to be questioned by civilians. They like their fat padded lives the way they are. I’m sure I’m not the only internet friend worried about you out here. Please use caution.

  22. Linda Knappett

    Susan, I really glad you have shared this information with us. Like others, I urge you to go beyond ordinary: if there are hackers, then there are superhackers. Perhaps you could (somehow) get in touch with someone from a superhacker group to hack your hackers in terms of finding out who they are? Also, with a new phone (completely new, not just a new phone number) perhaps you could get security software installed before the phone goes live? It seems as if you really need a security company’s input. Keep up your excellent work.

    1. Gabrielle

      Susan, I agree with Linda. You need to get a new phone and not just a new phone number. Also, please see this article from Scambusters, paying special attention to #3 – Cloning and #4 – Eavesdropping: http://www.scambusters.org/cellphone.html

      Not only do they have your phone records, they know where you are at any given time.

  23. Anne

    “because you said; you do go to the beach; maybe it was your voicemail replaying from last week; sometimes voice mails actually call the receiver; I know voice mails are stored on one’s telephone: do not over react !! AR

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Anne – I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night. I know this was no accident.

    2. MaryTX

      Anne, you wouldn’t happen to work for a large pet food company, would you? 🙂

    3. TS

      Anne

      Which BIG PET FOOD manufacturer do YOU work for??

    4. jb

      Yes Anne, where do your sentiments lie? You seem to want to throw Susan off track. This is serious & not a voicemail mix up.

    5. Caroline Burton

      Anne, you are beginning to sound like a spy!

  24. T Allen

    I’m so sorry you have to put up with the BS Susan! There is no way to adequately express how much we appreciate all you do, especially now! If you have to pay for security features on your phone/computer or hire people to help please start a crowd funding campaign! We will support you and the publicity will be awesome for you!

  25. Jan

    Susan, on the plus side, you have someone worried enough to do this. This means you are definitely heading in the right direction. Keep digging! We pet parents thank you from the bottom of our hearts for what you are doing. I used to believe all the pet food hype, but I’ve had too many pets die before they should have. When I was young, you never heard of all these problems in pets. Unfortunately, our government has forgotten that they are here to protect us and ours. If they allow harmful ingredients in baby food, why should they care about animals?! The steep rise in birth defects, autism and cancer should be an indication that something isn’t right. We need to remind the government that their duty is to the American people, not big business.

  26. MaryTX

    I am sharing this far and wide. The lower they stoop, the more bad press they bring upon themselves, making our quest for transparency that much easier. Desperate people do desperate things. Wish we knew the company, but understand the confidentiality issue. Meanwhile, my previously healthy and active 9-1/2 year old Australian Shepherd is in critical care with organ failure. Unsure of the exact cause, but I’ll be preparing fresh food for my boy, if he makes it, and for all my pets and rescues. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

  27. Bev S.

    This paragraph from your post is very concerning and should be for everyone because it can happen to you, “The calls cannot be traced by my phone carrier but it is being investigated on the other end. I’ve learned there is software one with evil intentions can get that will allow you to mask your actual phone number to any phone number of your choosing. How they managed my voice, my southern accent? Voice altering spyware? We don’t know.”

    Masking phone numbers is wrong. I don’t know if it’s illegal, but it should be. At the very least it seems like a privacy violation and depending upon how its used, it can put people in danger — like Susan. Take care Susan. I am sorry that you have to go through this. It is truly frightening.

  28. Peter

    Unless a phone number is unlisted, getting it, even if it is not listed with the major (phone book) vendors, is not hard, and the fee is pretty low, sometimes as little as $1. Sounds like it is time to put the cost of having an unlisted number as part of a regular business expense!

  29. Laura

    Report, report, report! Report to whoever you can! That has GOT to be illegal SOMEHOW. Honestly, if you lived in a country that regularly silenced dissent via murder, you’d probably be dead by now 🙁

  30. Valerie Noyes

    Very disturbing and creepy, Susan. Please be careful!

  31. Maggie

    I’d be a lot happier if you got some savvy tech people on your side.

  32. jb

    Susan, sorry sorry to hear about this trouble. It is disturbing & I hope you are taking appropriate precautions.

    You obviously have struck a nerve & have nicked sales by exposing the corrupt system.

    Putting white light around you for safety’s sake.

    Please don’t let this stop you & your good work.

  33. Nan Macarthur

    Susan…..T Allen’s idea is excellent…start a crowd funding campaign to cover the expense of a new phone, security features or whatever you choose to employ.
    You are doing everything you can to protect our pets…the least we can do is donate a few dollars to help you protect your privacy and yourself!
    Nan

  34. Jane Eagle

    I’m not surprised at all. People with integrity who speak out for what is right are targets for those with no ethics..or who are simply evil greeders. I often post quotes and links to your articles on social media; I’m sure I am on several “watch” lists!
    Please do be careful.

  35. Alan

    You do need secure email. Riseup.net is a free one for
    Advocacy groups and people. Many apps can mask a voice. Also, your contacts should not be talking on any corp phone. Or corp cell phone. Corp data miners can find your number. And who you have be conversing with. I would follow this up like an identity theft issue. Go to the police so they are aware. Also there are many free texting apps. The beach comment would be enough to go to the Police. Advocating for cause, such as animals is a strange thing. Who doesn’t support animals rights and welfare? Do get me started.

    1. Ann*

      Alan makes a good point regarding corporate phones. It is important to be familiar with the laws of the destination state that you are calling and the law in your own state regarding the legality of “tapping” phones and recording conversations. In many states, it is perfectly legal to tap your own phone and in some states it is legal to take it a step further and record the conversation that you are “tapping”. Most corporations/employers are within their rights to monitor all of their phone lines. I agree with Alan that these conversations should never take place over a corporate phone line.
      All cell phone conversations are generally free to be listened in on since the connections over which they occur are not considered a private connection. So using your own private landline to the private landline of your trusted source is the best way to converse. Person to person might also be an option if you are sure the person you are meeting is not being followed and that person is not recording your conversation with their own recording device. Some states do not allow person to person recording of a conversation unless ALL parties are aware the conversation is being recorded. In other states, that is not required. That is why it is important to know the particular law of the state/s in which the conversation is taking place. An online search can probably locate these laws for you.
      However, assuming your identity falsely is never a protected activity unless done by law enforcement subject to all of the prevailing laws of the state in which it might occur. Reporting that may be your best course of action, but that would probably mean involving your source who most likely wants to remain anonymous.
      Caution must prevail in instances such as yours.

  36. Tammy

    I agree with all security measures possible – encrypted emails & throw away phones. This person that was called – are they someone kind of like an informant. Perhaps they are in as much danger as you are. And I hope you have reported this to the police, in case something further happens.

  37. Ginny

    Concern by so many of Susan’s subscribers is heartwarming, and the suggestion of a crowd funding campaign is noble and may be beneficial for this specific issue, but Susan has many expenses for which she does not get compensated simply by the sale of her books, Petsumer Report and “The List”. She has truly made the protection of our fur kids her life’s work and yet is not constantly making appeals for money. I found that one way I can express how much I appreciate Susan’s tireless work and endless harassment of having her website hacked is to make a monthly donation in addition to buying her books and subscription offers. Unlike BIG PET FOOD and the government, she does not have an unlimited source of revenue and resources to go after them in the way they go after her… and if every person who benefits from Susan’s efforts were to donate monthly, she STILL wouldn’t have enough, but it would hopefully be of great encouragement to her. I have started donating monthly to the Association for Truth in Pet Food since she does not have anything set up for automatic monthly donations. (Note to Susan… if you read this, please consider getting that capability, perhaps through Paypal.) Sometimes, although encouraging, words are not enough. We need to back up our words with the means to deliver the message that conscientious petsumers are not going away and we certainly aren’t going to back down because of bullying. Let’s show BIG PET FOOD and its government lackeys that “BIG DON’T MEAN BOSS!”

    1. Mike L

      Hi, I’m with Ginny,

      Also, Ms. Thixton, if it’s at all possible, it would be helpful for those without credit cards to be able to use a pre-paid credit card in order to donate with ease.

      MikeL

  38. Dr. Laurie Coger

    Would your friend be covered by a whistleblower law? Should he/she be concerned about the security of their job and potential retribution via lawsuits from BigPetFood?

    So sad that corporate greed has replaced caring for the pets they feed….

  39. Rin Tin Tin

    Pretending to be you? Knowing your whereabouts? At a minimum it sounds like identity theft and stalking, both criminal acts. Take legal action and don’t let it go until you nail the slugs. Thank you for all you do, I always refer this site to others, you are doing pioneer work, invaluable.

  40. Jen

    I wonder if someone called you in the past, recorded it, and was playing clips to the source. I would be very concerned for the source… They may be looking to prove something about leaks… And that is scary for them too. This is all so disgusting- I blogged about a few products lately and took the names out of the posts for fear of whatever happening. It’s wrong not to have the freedom to speak without fear of harm. And especially when these crimes are being put in a pet food bag.

  41. Caroline Snyder

    This is what you get when you start messing with the profits of global corporations such as Nestle (Purina), Del Monte Foods (Kibbles and Bits), Colgate-Palmolive (Hill’s) and Mars (Royal Canin, Pedigree, Whiskas, Cesar and other crap)… They WILL be watching you!

    I have also had issues personally, including threats and malicious acts, since the FB group I started became mainstream. The two class action lawsuits against Purina over BENEFUL has put us – and me – in the spotlight, but that is the price you pay for sticking up for those who cannot speak for themselves!

    Is BENEFUL by Purina KILLING or SICKENING Dogs? Post YOUR Story!

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Is.BENEFUL.killing.DOGS/

  42. Terri Janson

    Caroline Snyder…I am going to join your group. I just put in a request. I didn’t realize you had one.
    I tell everyone I know about Beneful. I hate it when I see it come in the grocery store where I work. 🙁

    1. Caroline Snyder in West Virginia

      We look forward to hearing from you Terri!

  43. Deniese C

    Susan what do you think of the small animal clinical nutrion book version5 that the vets
    use to prescribe special diets? It seems to show % of the right amount of balance nutriition
    that the dogs and cats need on a daily basis?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I’ve not seen the book – so I don’t know what it says. If it is based on the National Research Council recommendations for nutrients of cats and dogs – the concern to me is that this research was done using ‘commonly available’ pet food ingredients and supplements. This means feed grade/pet grade meats, vegetables, and supplements. While these requirements are fine for feed grade ingredient pet foods, they are not appropriate for food grade ingredient pet food. To me – as a non-scientist – it all depends on the quality of ingredients as to how well the pet will utilize the nutrients and in turn the nutrient requirement that should be established.

      1. Laura

        What should we use to make sure our animals are getting the right amount of calories and nutrients then? I’ve been going off of what the NRC says because you have a few articles where you do the math to show how off the calories are in a lot of pet foods (pointing out how, for a lot of them, feeding your animal according to the manufacturer’s directions can make your pet incredibly fat), and you based those calculations on the NRC recommendations.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          All we have is NRC recommendations right now – all we can go by. I wanted to mention the feed grade ingredient perspective because pet food is not one size fits all – and we need more research to whole food nutrient requirements. Pet food has changed so much since those nutrient requirements were established – I wish the regulations for nutrient requirements would stay current.

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