A recent email brings up a really good question; I’d like your input on. How do we reach pet parents we see purchasing pet foods with inferior ingredients – as example ingredients FDA testing determined are linked to euthanized animals (animal fat, meat and bone meal, meat meal, and animal digest)?
Barbara wrote this…
“Yesterday when shopping at Safeway, a big grocery store chain on the west coast, I was in the glue section which is right next the pet food section. I overheard a guy tell his friend that he was feeding his “baby girl” the best food, or something to that effect. My eyes saw red and I froze in my tracks as I turned around and saw him loading his basket with cans of XXX.
It was all I could do to restrain myself, as he was telling his friend how cute his little girl was and so on. I wanted to stand in front of his cart and give him a lecture, but where do you start? and without offending him or going ballistic. It was so sad.”
I’ve been there. When my Mom was down visiting this winter, we were in Walmart. As we got close to the pet food aisle, I told her I just hate walking by that aisle…I hate seeing people unknowingly buying pet foods that contain illegal ingredients. As we walked by, we saw a couple scanning all the pet foods; really trying to make a good decision. Mom stopped in her tracks and watched them. As I pulled her away, she actually started to cry. Why Mom? What are you crying about? “I just feel so bad for them, they don’t know – please go back and talk to them”. What could I do?
I’ve tried hundreds of times in the past to stop someone from making a possible deadly mistake with pet food. I’ve talked to them in pet stores, grocery stores, Sam’s Clubs…and in most cases I get looks like I have horns growing out of my head. One in maybe 25 will ‘hear’ me. But…it was my Mom asking (crying), so off we go into the pet food aisle.
I interrupted their conversation and introduced myself. I told them that I was a pet food safety advocate and could I explain to them what some of the definitions were of ingredients in pet foods they were considering. To my surprise, they listened. Mom stopped crying. Did my brief pet food education change their purchase decision? I don’t know. We left the pet food aisle shortly after my brief pet food presentation. But we left with hope.
So my question to all of you is how do you handle these situations? Do you have a technique that works? What do you say that doesn’t offend unknowing pet parents?
I’ve recently had the suggestion sent to me for public service announcements; pet food public service announcements. If I ever win the lottery, that will certainly be on the agenda (along with pet food testing, lobby activities, a nationwide pet food educational tour, and so much more), but in the meantime…What can we do to educate more pet parents?
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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