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AAFCO Meeting Update

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  1. Karen P

    You hang in there Susan. We are listening to every word. Thank you!

    1. Liz Bennett

      Keep up the good fight Susan, hope you have a better go around tomorrow.

    2. Leah Splattstoesser

      God Bless you for your work and all your efforts to make pet food SAFE

  2. Ian

    hahahaha… Susan if they are groaning when you get up to the mike then you are doing the right things! Thanks for being there! Keep up the good work! You speak for those who cannot speak on their own behalf… our pets!

  3. Kathryn Smith

    DITTO Karen P!! we’d be up the creek without the canoe without you Susan! Hang Tough Girl – We’re behind you!


  4. Dragon77

    I think you should post the NAMES of those individuals who were muttering that – the PUBLIC deserves to know who *specifically* is fighting against them. Not just a nameless group – I’m sure if one contacted the companies those individuals work for, and *asked* who represented them, they would not disclose that.

    You should get up there and do a nice Jack Nicholson impersonation – “You can’t handle the truth!” 🙂

  5. Rose S

    You are saving pets lives and the word is getting around. I pray your hard work and efforts will be rewarded. You have my support, God bless.

  6. Donna B.

    Keep pressing on Susan. Pet parents who care about the well being of our furbabies support you 1,000%. Your efforts will make a difference one day for the benefit of all. The PFI must be getting kickbacks. It’s all about GREED at the expense & risk to our furbabies health. Thank you for being our furbabies voice.

  7. Jessica

    My animals and I deeply appreciate all of your efforts, and all that you do for us even if “they” don’t. Keep up the great work and know that you are greatly appreciated by those of us that can not be there!

  8. michele w.

    Thank you for all you are doing. Do not let them get to you.

  9. Elizabeth Denning

    Hey, if you have them groaning, then you KNOW you are on the right track!!! Good for you, Susan! The louder they groan, the more you are getting to them! E. Denning

  10. Flick, Dot and Buzz

    Good work Susan! YES Pet owners want to know the calories in their pet’s food – YES we want to know if there are GMO’s GM/GE’s in our pet’s food (and our own) – you must be so frustrated with the process of trying to get our concerns heard by the AFFCO, but we’re so very glad to have a voice… THANK YOU for all your hard work and dedication Susan!

  11. Julie

    Thanks for all of your hard work. It’s time for the industry to be required to label, not only calories, but GMO’s and GE’s on all of our pet food products, just like it is time for them to label our own food. We need to pressure them, and keep up the pressure until it works.

  12. Cathy Bienvenue

    Thank you so much for your efforts. I wish I had the knowledge to be more proactive on these matters. I’ve been learning about pet diets for years and still have so much to learn.
    Calories and carbohydrates are essential information. I don’t understand the opposition.

  13. Bill


    Sounds like if you would have prepared, you would have had the opportunity to state an opposing view, which from the sounds of it, the panel was open to.

    If I were on the panel, my immediate thought to your response “I didn’t prepare” would be: “Susan would rather complain and make a scene than to have invested her time preparing.

    Your previous post regarding this meeting gave me the indication you were raring for a fight and nothing anyone from the manufacturer or association side was going to be acceptable in your eyes. No one can win if they don’t agree with you. I get the sense you’d rather fight and make a scene than come home one kibble closer to healthy pet food for all.

    Your advocacy is admirable, but everything that I read from you is filled with anger and everything is a fight.

    If I were in a room and saw you walking to the microphone, I’d groan too; not because I disagree with you, but because your tone, aggressiveness, and approach is a turn off. You’re turning off supporters, and I am someone of influence within the industry who doesn’t disagree with consumer advocacy.

    You can get your point across without playing “gotcha” at every step and taking a comment and flying off the handle to your readers. Really, you can.

    Instead of investing time and the energy looking for someone to fight against, why not invest the time in developing opposing views that are fact-filled.

    Why not invest in learning how to fact-find news reports vs. publishing allegations? When you re-post pictures of facilities and “allegations” without doing appropriate fact-checking, you lose credibilty and it only hurts yourself. Sure, your blood pressure goes up and you get worked up about the evil pet food makers, but what good is that doing for you?

    What is your end goal Susan? Are you looking for justice, for people and companies to be taken down; are you looking for people to go to jail? What is your mission? Is your goal safer pet food for all? Which is it?

    If I had a guess, I’d say that if someone from the consumer advocacy side of things would have a seat in these discussions, many would not have confidence in you to be a part of the solution. Why? You’re too angry.

    If you pride yourself as a “trouble-maker”, best of luck getting people to listen to you. I’d venture that this approach will leave you lonely and dissatisfied.

    If you are in the business of safer pet food, you may want to invest some of that energy to taking a different approach.


    1. Barbara

      Hi Bill,
      If I may ask? What do you do? What is you influance? I just wonder your back ground and how you came up with your insite Susan?
      Thank you.

    2. Susan Thixton Author

      I agree that everything consumer friendly in pet food IS a fight. As for your opinion of me playing ‘gotcha’ or flying off the handle…I don’t ever work that way. I care deeply about who I represent, what ‘we’ represent – but have never been less than professional here at meetings or publilically online. Lonely? Did you bother to read the other comments here? The only dissatisfaction is continually trying to get federal and state regulators to listen to the largest pet food stakeholder of all, petsumers. We are not going away.

      My mission is truth. It’s that simple. If a pet food wants to use rendered waste, at least be honest about it…state rendered waste on the label. GM? State it on the label. Be honest and let consumers decide.

    3. Cathy Bienvenue

      “…and I am someone of influence within the industry who doesn’t disagree with consumer advocacy.” ’nuff said Bill

    4. Nikie

      ” You’re turning off supporters, and I am someone of influence within the industry who doesn’t disagree with consumer advocacy.”

      So Bill, since you have influence within the industry – why aren’t pet food products labelled with ALL of the information consumers need to make a rational decision? Why is it even a fight to begin with? Why doesn’t the industry just do what’s right?

      You point out that you have influence but there is no context – will you use your influence to do what’s right by our pets? Or to criticize and belittle the one person who is trying to make it right for all of us?

      1. Bill


        See my direct reply to Susan.

        Businesses are not in the business of doing what’s right. They are in the business of making a profit, nothing more.

        I’m not belittling Susan – I am providing a perspective on how those in the industry may view her attempts at advocacy.

        What can YOU personally do to help “make it right for all of us”?

        1. Nikie

          I don’t know Bill. I know what I can do to make it right for me. I quit buying processed dog food two years ago. Maybe if everyone did that the best interests of our pets would become a priority. Companies have little incentive to make changes unless they think it’s going to hurt their bottom line.

          1. Bill


            Sounds like you’re doing what you can then. That’s great, and it’s having an impact.


    5. Pacific Sun

      Dear Bill
      Don’t know if you’ll ever see this comment as written by just a regular consumer. But if you do, then I hope you’ll take the message objectively. I find that the state of affairs today is one of making excuses. Government leads the way of course. But the rest of us are just as guilty. Think how many times a sentence starts with … “I would but … .” Or “this can’t be done because of … .” I wonder if we spent just half as much of this confrontational energy trying to align ourselves, instead of attacking one another or defending “our position” how much progress could be made instead?
      What’s happened as a result, in the case of pet advocacy versus industry professionals, is that listening as stopped. You’ve stated your impressions as to “why” this has happened. And perhaps this represents the industry’s feelings. Please understand that the industry has been petitioned for years without any changes being made. Personalities and style can and will always be at issue regarding every discussion. But the bottom line remains. These 3 truths I think everyone must acknowledge: 1) Pet Food is a billion dollar business and it is a profit source for many corporations 2) Average pet food customers do trust advertising and big brand names they and don’t question details about pet food. And 3) pet food products have caused issues that have made pets sick and caused deaths. The first two points are inanimate impersonal realities. The third point causes gut wrenching heartbreak and economic burden on owners.
      We can talk all day long about defending our respective positions and points of view. In the meantime pets which can’t defend themselves are paying a price. In some cases pet food manufacturing mistakes can take a life very quickly and in other cases less than optimal ingredients end up taking their toll over time, often leading to premature deaths. You urge the pet food advocate to fight with facts, reason and calm. The pet food advocate you refer to has been researching and talking with industry insiders for the past 20 years. And given the request to do so, plus a fair opportunity to understand what to make the presentation about, and the lead time, she could offer a rebuttal to any argument you desire. Many pet owners could also state their experiences. Many could describe the days of agony involved in trying to save a pet at the Vets. And another fair number of Vets could corroborate these owner’s stories. Right now Susan has been put in the position of opposing a defending entity. And no pressure or expectation or responsibility has been placed on the defending entity (pet food manufactures) to do so with equal “facts, statistics and good reasoning.” It is always very easy to make an “outsider” look foolish, create innuendo, and distract attention from the heart of the issue by alluding to personality defects and conflicts. But, this meeting after all, is specific time set aside for “discussion” and “collaboration” and “interaction” about pet food! To call someone out so quickly after only 6 hours, with no invitation to speak privately, or even off the record, or anything else, is somewhat unfair.
      Please know that educated, involved pet owners like me, aren’t weirdos, or crazies or fanatics. We’re not militant pet animal right extremists, or unfamiliar with how corporations must operate to justify their goals. We just don’t want our pets to die prematurely or unnaturally or unexpectedly due to a pet food product error or deficient, risky ingredients. We really don’t want “rendered, euthanized, miscellaneous” protein added to our pet’s foods, and most specifically without appropriate labeling. In the end, all we want to do, is to be able to make truly informed choices. And if your product, Bill, is one of the best – then we’ll be your loyal customer for as long as you’re proud to communicate everything you can about the product!

      Respectfully, Kelley

      1. Bill

        I don’t sell a product Kelley, nor am I a manufacturer or part of a legislative body.

        We’re on the same page – just sharing with Susan how I perceive her message and her followers and others within the space.

      2. Bill

        “The pet food advocate you refer to has been researching and talking with industry insiders for the past 20 years.”

        If the information gleaned over 20 years was at Susan’s fingertips, she would have been in a position to speak cogently when given the opportunity. That’s not a knock on Susan, just an assertion that what’s been done for 20 years may need some tweaking. I’m suggesting the focus and the strategy get narrower with the goal of impacting the manufacturers at the revenue/profit center vs. regulatory bodies.

        It doesn’t take 20 years of advocacy to have an impact on a company’s profits – Stop buying = lost revenue = lost profit = reduction in operations or a change in business model can occur in 1 quarter, 2 quarters, 3 quarters. If you’ve been doing something for 20 years and it hasn’t had a huge impact, wouldn’t you re-think your approach?

        This isn’t a knock on Susan’s expertise, simply a suggestion(as mentioned in other direct replies to Susan) that more energy towards her other strategies might get to a tipping point faster. Others might be inclined to follow suit.

        Regulating bodies can impose hurdles all they want, but what in history has shown that those entities have an impact?

        If you want to put cigarette companies out of business, stop smoking.

        If you want to see concussions stop in the NFL, stop watching it on TV.

        In the U.S., the power of personal choice trumps any laws or regulations.


        1. Pacific Sun

          Hi Bill
          (Without any sarcasm implied here) thank you for continuing the discussion. I’m a true believer that the more a discussion continues, then the more productive it becomes!
          You’ve stated a point of view and with that assumption understood and acknowledge for this continuing discussion, then what would be an innovative and resourceful change of approach? Wouldn’t we first have to ascertain IF the PFI is open to discussion with an outsider? If they would ever collaborate? If so, then being that it IS a business centric issue, (as well as one of safety!) then the professionals on both sides should be able to agree to rise above personality conflicts.
          Also I think every reader on this forum agrees that the only way to protest is through their spending. Unfortunately TAPF readers are still only a “minute” portion of all consumers. Therefore education (probably the biggest portion of Susan’s efforts and the only real tool at her disposal) must continue! And because of that fact, when educating the public, when there’s not much time, and when the advocate must overcome billions of advertising dollars (indoctrination) then an author has to write with authority, emphasis, power and facts. In my opinion Susan’s style (personality) is one and the same with her mission. It’s idealistically powerful and passionate.
          Now the goal becomes for all of us (as individual consumer advocates) to figure out how to use additional ways to “translate” all that passion into bottom line consequences for PF manufacturers. “Some” companies are already getting it. Blue Buffalo advertises on the premise of non-junk ingredients. But the challenge is aligning their message with their facts. Is what they say, true? Once again, an advocate is disadvantaged, because even if agreement could be reached, and the marketing was the first step towards change, then what mechanism helps certify the truth?
          Pet Food consumer advocacy is complex and the readers are the beneficiaries of the “end product” …. an article that’s been researched, verified and is a teaching too. If we’re lucky we’re privvy to some person-to-person meetings taking place. That effort takes “hours” and hours of effort. It’s a collection process, it’s the development of “tips” and “conversations” and “fact finding and verification” and on-and-on it goes. In the meantime this advocate is doing everything probono, relying only on voluntary donations! And the PFI KNOWS this!! It screams vulnerability and voluntary, and therefore less legitimate!! For them (the PFI), it’s just a matter of how long can she continue to hang on, before fading out, and before consumers begin to forget.
          So before that can happen it because everyone’s responsibility to figure out how to, and then execute the process for doing so, affecting the PF manufacturers bottom line!
          If you read this forum regularly then you already know how many, many consumers have switched to raw or whole foods (homemade), and the others are extremely selective about the brands they choose. Some progressive PF advertising is beginning to change. Do you think they did this volunatarily? Or is even that amount of evolution the result of the past 20 years of Susan’s work?
          This has been discussed before. What’s really needed is an “Expose'” on the PF Industry something like FOOD, INC.. But no media outlet or influencial person will touch it because it IS a billion dollar industry. The Industry has already cornered politics, snookered the FDA, is benefitting from AAFCO coordination, is employment for millions, and buys and sells media products.
          So (rhetorically speaking) what would “you” suggest next? We (the readers and believers) are looking for any and all magic bullets!!!

          1. Bill

            I don’t think combativeness, protests, and vitriol have advanced the cause in 20 years as much as consumer education has. Consumer advocacy is not synonymous with protests, pickets, anger, etc. – many have already mentioned who the “silent protesters” are – they are the ones who’ve stopped supporting the companies and/or brands and/or co-manufacturers(I’m not naming names because it’s counter-productive).

            I only suggest one singular focus

            Educate the consumer on WHO makes the product, WHAT’s in it, WHERE it’s made – allow the momentum that’s been created to continue. Avoid vitriol, avoid grand-standing(not accusing anyone of it), and focus on good solid, actionable content(like Susan’s explanation of the roles of each governing body in her post today).

            Stop wasting energy on fighting the PFI – to me, it’s wasted energy.

            If we agree that the biggest “weapon” in our arsenal is the CHOICE to purchase what we know is best for our pets, then why dilute that weapon by devoting energy to fighting the Pet Food lobby, whose purpose is to enact legislation that historically has been shown to not have a material impact on companies when it comes to consumer goods safety.

            In my opinion, educating the consumer is the be-all, end-all solution, not enacting legislation. Many believe that wrapping ourselves up in new laws will bring back our pets and give us some sort of justice; no, it won’t.

            There are no magic bullets, and regardless of how fully educated we get as consumers, mistakes will continue to be made, albeit less common.

          2. Rosanne Anderson

            Why not do both? Educate the consumer and fight the system controllers? I think a continual drip of water, even if viewed as insignificant, is way more effective than just sitting back and letting those “in control” continue merrily on their way. They need to know we’re watching and NOT believing their continued BS.

        2. PAUX

          I have stopped buying and have been encouraging others to do so also. We can feed our pet healthy food and know what is in it.
          Your diatribe toward Susan’s tactics seems to be a personal attack, one to stop the dialogue. I appreciate all that she does and has done for the welfare of our furry family members. If you have “influence” use it to save these creatures lives. Quit spending your time to negatively critizing someone who has been working on their behalf for years.

          1. Bill

            I hate to see someone(Susan) whose heart is in the right place not get the results she so passionately desires.

          2. Nikie

            I agree. I think the criticism of Susan not having a cogent speech ready at a second’s notice without any forewarning is unfair and totally without merit. After all, the people on the other side of the fence had plenty of time to prepare.

    6. Bill


      Lonely and dissatisfied meant “no seat at the table for you”, continued challenges with influencing stakeholders, and missing the target on your mission. If you’re satisfied with a mob of angry, resentful, and vengeful followers, so be it.

      Your point is taken regarding how YOU feel about your professionalism – however, “professionalism” is in the eye of the beholder, especially when you’re in the public eye. You may feel you are, but that doesn’t mean you are in their eyes, evidenced by the reaction you get at public forums. YOU are getting the reaction(groans, roll of the eyes, etc.) based on YOUR actions because of YOUR approach. That’s my point, nothing more. Adapt or fail.

      Having influence and getting things done(GETTING TO THE TRUTH) is an art, and it’s your ability to interact with your most difficult adversaries to not only get the truth, but to get results.

      If your goal is only the truth, what will you be satisfied with? What is the end result of that? An angry mob of followers who read the “truth” and STAY miserable, angry, and vengeful? To what end is THAT? Pets still die. The “truth” is only a recognition of the symptom. How many people do you know who know the “truth”(whether it’s an illness, a condition, or a situation), yet don’t do anything to change it because they stay “stuck” in anger, resentment, self-pity???

      Organizations that advocate on the behalf of “victims”, human or animal, almost always fall short of material impact on the root cause issue(whether it be food safety, crimes against women/children, etc.) because they incite anger and vitriol about the act(the abuse) but never gain traction solving the underlying issues.

      From the comments, “exposing” the truth incites the angry mob, no? How many of the angry mob have stepped up and given meaningful, tangible support. To what end is a long email thread getting you closer to keeping pets from dying?

      Imagine how yesterday would have been different if someone amongst the angry, finger pointing mob dug deep and helped you research and put together a cogent, non-emotional counter-point at the meeting??

      Maybe this should be directed towards those who comment and don’t get out from behind their keyboard vs. you, the person who’s put themselves out there, or both?

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        I appreciate your perspective (honestly). I assume from the language you are here in attendance at AAFCO.
        Your message points out (to me) the huge void of understanding between industry/regulators and consumers. We feel no one hears our pleas and hasn’t for ever. Mike Floyd and Don Earl fought this fight for years before me. Have we seen changes in ingredient definitions or the end of FDA compliance policies from all this? No. And that’s why we are frustrated. Are we an “angry mob”? Absolutely not. Perhaps you confuse determination with anger. Pets continue to die. Five years of jerky treat deaths on the heels of the largest pet food recall in history, then add in countless product pulls…well, that tends to make you a little edgy.

        My perspective…the groans and eye rolling here is because ‘they’ know consumers are learning the truth. ‘They’ know more and more consumers are asking the tough questions, demanding answers. And taking their shopping dollars to businesses that are honest and quality minded. My perspective is the groans weren’t exactly directed at me, but what I represent…educated petsumers. I take it as a compliment.

        I do hear what you are saying, and will take to heart some of your point. I won’t befriend the devil(s), but will consult with trusted experts more experienced with advocacy work than me.

        1. Bill


          Thanks for reading it and THANK YOU for understanding my intent.

          For everyone….

          Businesses are in the business of making a profit, nothing more. Even the most holistic, healthy and safe manufacturers have a profit motive, regardless of their marketing pitch. Profit or fail.

          Many people, especially some of the comments in this thread that wail “why can’t companies just do the right thing?!?” have a hard time accepting this basic truth. Enter Susan and others.

          Businesses without customers fail.

          Consumers in the US have a choice in what they buy. Enter Susan’s research.

          Some of the companies that you’ve shared horror stories about are just that – horror stories in how they run their businesses. They are perishing, not only because of their inferior product, but because of inferior management.

          The companies within PFI aren’t evil – they make mistakes and errors in judgement, but they also have the ability to turn on a dime, innovate, and have excess capital(IE…EVIL PROFITS) to invest in safe technologies, IF they are threatened by loss of profit or loss of market share. Note I didn’t say image or perception – neither are tangible. Only profit and stock prices are tangible and ACTIONABLE by companies. Accept this and the plan of action becomes more clear.

          Susan, I’m just wishing you the best and also a dose of tolerance for those still ignorant, stubborn, or resistant within the corporations you’re up against. The only thing that will change the behavior is the fear of loss(revenue).

          In the U.S. regulating bodies will NEVER have the impact that a loss in revenue will.

          Hopefully, those that read these threads can ACCEPT this, and understand that our dialogue back and forth is not belittling, but actually getting closer to a solution.

          1. Woofielover

            I’m a fan of Susan and also of what she does. Having said that, I think Bill brings up several valid points. I think Susan should be “prepared” anytime she is in attendance at any of these summits. Having been offered the opportunity to engage and having to turn it down for any reason is a lost opportunity.

            This is an emotional issue that evokes a wide range of emotion for both consumers, Furr-Kid lovers and advocates. But it’s NOT emotional for those in the Pet Food Industry. It’s just business. It’s wrong, it’s a lie, it’s subversive – but it’s not any different than how most billion dollar businesses are handled. And like many billon dollar industries, something living suffers because of it.

            I think learning how to play on their level invites the opportunity to have a voice, be heard, be taken seriously instead of having people just shut you down as quickly as possible. There is time and opportunity to present the emotional aspect once you’re given the floor.

            Do I think it will matter anyway. Nope, not a bit. With billions of dollars at stake, taking the approach of trying to reach them, presenting facts and logic will be tolerated at best. There’s too much money at stake. The avenue of success lies directly at the feet of consumers, EXCLUSIVELY. You will never get there with the pet food industry by trying to talk to them, reason with them or make demands. You will only get their attention by affecting that billion dollar bottom line.

            I own an extremely successful pets uppet store. The least amount of profit in my store is made from food. It’s the most labor intensive and the most expensive and expendable product line as well. I chose long ago what I was and wasn’t willing to do when it came to carrying lines of food and because of it I don’t enjoy the healthy margins that most of my competition does. But I sleep well at night. I change lives every day and, more importantly, I affect the knowledge level of owners by imparting facts and information (usually shocking) to people every day. For every person I can get out of a terrible diet or improper feeding, for every piece of information I can share, for every person that they then tell who comes in to me, I’ve made another dent in that billion dollar bottom line.

            It’s a slow process. Just look at the food recall of 2007. Nothing’s changed except the level of subversiveness. At least not at the industry level. But for every consumer that can get the information, the knowledge, the explanation and then the help to feed the right food the right way, the snowball will keep building up until, hopefully, it reaches its own momentum and then change will be forced upon the industry, like it or not.

          2. Pacific Sun

            I actually consider all this real progress (again, totally without sarcasm). Because the advocate and consumers are at least being acknowledged! This is a first. The strategy has been for a long time, let’s just “ignore” them and they’ll get tired, and they’ll all go away. Wrong. If you read all the comments consistently over a long period of time (I have for the last 5 years) most absolutely understand that PF is big business. Readers are people who have all had to make a living too. They get it. The ones who are “angry” are the ones that have had to watch their pet needlessly suffer a gut wrenching death, and then continue to be ignored. And most particularly the silent on-lookers really ARE quietly switching to alternative foods. The PF Industry really gets that too! They’re just waiting for the numbers to tip. This year reflects a remarkable step in evolution. Because now there’s actually a conversation going … and it seems right here on the TAPF. This rarely happens with someone from a radically different perspective. We may not like the “discomfort” level of it, it’s awkward, accusatory, and the conversation is swinging left and right, but it’s no longer a matter of feeling INVISIBLE.
            Okay enough talk. Would you say that readers should coordinate a simple petiton stating that they’ve switched from commercial PF to raw or home made? Petitions can draw thousands of signatures, and be circulated through social networks. Maybe this kind of consumer reaction needs to keep bombarding PF companies to communicate their consumer demands. It can be a simple declaration with 3 major points: 1) Truthfully label ingredients in whole food terms 2) Discontinue the use of diseased, rendered and euthanized “pet” originated protein ingredients and 3)Quickly acknowledge recall situations and act immediately to rectify situations and help consumers.
            (There are only suggestions, and others could well formulate a more articulate suscinct points!)

      2. Lynne

        Bill are you a member of the US Congress? You sound like one… Republican I’m sure.

  14. Carol

    Some people don’t like change even if the truth kills. Keep up the good work. I want my guys to remain healthy and alive!

  15. Joan

    Stay the course Susan. We’re behind you! Don’t let the snide remarks get to you. They’re just threatened by a courageous woman telling the truth.

    I’m curious, ‘tho. Why are you alone? Where are the other pet advocate organizations? Why aren’t they standing with you and up at the microphone challenging the lies too?

    And how many women are there at this shindig? Are there any women on the AAFCO board? Any from the industry organizations? Not to be sexist, but I’d bet you could get some of them to support you if you talk to /lobby them personally. They might actually care about animal health and consumers’ right to know, more than profit…

    And this sounds like a cause Oprah might support, as she did to bring national attention to puppy mills.

  16. Elaine Fortin

    Thank you Susan for all your hard work!! Every one has the right to know what their eating. I don’t eat GM myself or would I feed it to my dog. GM is in all the livestock and human process feeds for cheap unhealthy food.
    We all need to get back to healthy basic, real organic foods. So glad I feed my girl Raw. she loves it!
    Thank you again for all your hard work. its people like you that makes a huge different to our planet!

  17. Donna

    Susan, thank you for advocating for our pets and standing up to the industry !
    It’s a shame that they don’t have our animals’ best interests at heart.
    We need to get petitions started to demand that they do the right thing.
    We also need petitions to demand the pet food companies to remove all harmful ingredients from their products.
    Millions of pet parents would sign them !

  18. cheryl

    Thank you for taking a stand for all of us who truly care about what our pet’s consume. You are my hero!

  19. Cindy

    thank you Susan! you are so brave to stand up to a room full of hostile attitudes like you do.
    keep up the good work. so many pets are depending on you to get the truth out.

  20. Renee

    Keep your chin up Susan. We need your voice to be our voice.

  21. Janine H

    Susan, we are with you in spirit at the meetings. Those who grumble and mumble to themselves at these meetings need to get over it and step up to the plate to do the right thing. As a pet Mom, I am thankful and appreciate your representing us and our precious “kids”.

  22. Donna

    Thank you Susan for being the voice of us and our dearly loved furry family. I feel badly that you are being ostracized in front of these mindless baboons. I would love it if there could be a punishment where these people who are making these decisions had to eat GM or GE foods for a year and not have a choice. Maybe it would change their minds or perhaps they would get so sick they would realize money can’t buy everything.

    Thank you again for your bravery and passion.

  23. Cherie

    These people are such liars. Hang in there Susan. There are a lot of us out here that know GMO has not been evaluated and that we are all guinea pigs if we eat it. If Dante were alive today I’m sure he’d have a special level of hell for these corporate boobs.

    1. PAUX

      GMO have been evaluated by independent labs and scientists and all their findings are not good for those eating these products or for the environment that they are contaminating. It is our government that has and is allowing these harmful products to be fast track into our food system.

  24. Woofielover

    A very good friend of mine (whom you know well and is a manufacturer of an outstanding dog food for which you have a Pledge to Quality and Origin) and I were recently discussing (and lamenting) some of the industry’s faults as regards pet food. I’m going to copy over part of his email to me since it so applies to the comments in the audience that you overheard as well!

    “I don’t have to tell you that it’s all about agendas. Today, you can’t speak the truth with conviction because you’ll trample someone else’s half-truth or lie, on which they’ve worked carefully to introduce with a carefully crafted and very fragile message. With a message that fragile, every truth seems too loud, too fanatical, too biased and too extreme.”

    Get ’em, girl!

    1. Pacific Sun

      I read all the “Woofielover” comments because they have a particularly interesting perspective, and this one is a good example. The mutual friend/business being referred to is intriguing. It’s easy to guess which one is involved. If accurate, then it’s also a HUGE fan and supporter of Susan! So it’s also surprising to read the in support of “Bill’s” point of view. Please see “DD’s” comment at the bottom of this thread, which is the best one I’ve ever read on TAPF.
      Going beyond the point about it being all about agendas, is something even more fundamental. It’s about ethics and conscience. For whatever reasons (the media, politics, abundance of greed, self-justification and denial?) those virtures are no longer valued and considered paramount to living a mentally healthy lifestyle. I think we’re doing a poor job of teaching children (by example) what individual good character means, and why it is so important. The discussions about the “pet food business” is a prime example of what happens when we fail to support morals in our society. Why has it become so acceptable to deal in “half-truths” and isn’t it curious how they’ve become mutually conflicting, as the quote so eloquently states? Thx.

      1. Woofielover

        Pacific Sun – I may agree with a couple of points that Bill presents but that does not mean I agree with his overall perception or opinion. I am interested in reading all the viewpoints presented here regardless of whether I agree or not. It’s important to know all sides and, in fact, it’s crucial to achieving change. Also, since none of us can see or actually hear one another, nor do we know each other, we’re relying on the eloquence of conveying intent through verbiage along with how the individual reading the words takes what’s written. I could be all wrong about what Bill really means or intends with the couple of points I agree with. Regardless, I’m happy that he and everyone else takes the time to participate in the discussion at all. Apathy is not in existent on TAPF forums!

  25. Veronica

    Thanks for keeping it real Susan! I rely on your information and your TRUTH.

  26. Nikie

    I don’t know who would be there standing up for our pets if not for you. I know we pet owners aren’t there but we aren’t groaning. We are hailing you as a hero, and one of the few who continues to go up against these people who always put money ahead of our pets. Thank you.

  27. Joanne Steiner

    Keep making them accountable! Too many unknowns in the pet food business. Big deal so it’s manufactured in the US, but are all the products sourced from here? Pet parents deserve to know everything in the product adn origin source Not knowing is causing too many illness, and shorter life spans.
    Everyone one at AAFCO, PFI, AFIA, NGFA should be ashamed of perpetuating this crime. I wonder what they feed their pets? Now, that’s a response I would enjoy hearing, but they’d have to strapped to a polygraph…
    Keep up the good work!

  28. dmiller

    They may be shooting themselves in the foot. Savvy consumers won’t buy their product at all if there is a chance they contain GM ingredients.

  29. Bonnie M

    I commend you for being at the meeting and persevering so you can keep the rest of us informed. It sounds like a very frustrating situation maybe something like being in Congress dealing with a critical policy, except that you really, really care and know that it really, really matters. Hang tough!

  30. Lisa

    Just keep asking the questions Susan – let them groan all they like – we, the consumers, are behind YOU!!

  31. Martha

    We’re all behind you Susan!

  32. Rosanne Anderson

    I just googled AAFCO Board of Directors. Would it be a good idea to email each of them and tell them I’m very concerned, and spreading the word, about how ineffectual the board seems to be to consumers concerned about pet safety and health? I find 9 folks there with email addresses. (Darden, Lueders, Kashani, TenEyck, Morrison, LeBlanc, Bowers, Danielson, and Waltz.

    1. Leahann

      Yes !! Let’s do it !!

  33. Susan Thixton Author

    Thank you everyone for your support! It is so appreciated.

  34. Jessica

    Please keep asking the questions!! Don’t give up!! We need someone to keep fighting these people!!

  35. Peter

    It’s irresponsible and dishonest to posture that GM foods are the same as “non-GM foods” (will we really have to specify things that way, instead of “real vegetables” in the future?).

    One theory is that when melamine became altered when combined with GM vegetables in pet foods, and thus triggered the process that led to the formation of crystals/kidney failure in cats and dogs (cyanuric acid combining with GM altered melamine).

  36. Karen Snyder

    Thank you for what you are doing.

  37. Bill

    I gave up because of the same BS but we support you! Keep up the great STUFF!!!!

  38. Terrolynn

    THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!!!!! You GO, girl!

  39. Michelle

    Well if your hearing groans you must be doing something right. Just curious, how did GM get brought up if this was a meeting on putting calories on the bag? Why wasn’t the topic put to a halt if it wasn’t on the agenda? I am really surprised you couldn’t talk about the dangers of GM foods or why it should be labeled on the bag. I guess if it was a matter of having facts and numbers in front of you I totally understand. Guess you will need to bring a bigger brief case filled with info for those just in case moments. Keep up the good fight!

  40. Leahann

    They are afraid of you because they know you speak the TRUTH on behalf of the animals who can’t speak and we very much appreciate your efforts and I hope you can “feel” our support !! Go get them !!

  41. Ellie

    We, the consumer, are being duped by these people. Our pets now have the same food induced diseases that humans have. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, to name a few, are killing our pets! The pet food industry is self regulated and we as consumers have no one to represent us. They groan because they have to listen to one woman who has the nerve to stand against them!? Money is the only thing that speaks to these people. They don’t care about the pets or the people they are supposed to be serving. They are taking our money while providing garbage for our pets to eat.
    Humans are being duped by the regular food industry as well so I assume that the pet food producers feel they should not have to answer to anyone. This just goes to show how carefully controlled our media is. NO one has the nerve to take on the food industry, must less the pet food industry in the media.

  42. Tanya

    That is just awful the way they treat you. People don’t like to hear the truth sometimes. Do they allow members of the public to be in the audience? I’d come cheer you on! Don’t let it get to you, we’re still behind you!

  43. Liz

    Susan…Thank you! Thank you!!

  44. Ian

    Sorry Bill, I don’t agree. You definitely sound like a veteran industry insider. Who signs your paycheck, i wonder? But “victims” (your quotes, not mine) do not get anywhere by being polite and subservient to big industry. When pets die from food poisoning people get angry. When people like Susan hear the stories they get angry. And regulation IS needed so that uneducated consumers’ pets are also protected.

    It should be illegal to put pictures of fresh whole foods on a package when those products are never actually found in the manufacturing process.

    What I would actually like to see at one of these meetings is a “wall of shame” of pictures of pets that were killed and sickened by the very pet food industry that claims to nourish them… and pictures of the children and families who were devastated by these experiences.

    Since we have just completed a day of remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr I will quote from his Letter from Birmingham jail, when King was being criticized that his actions were “unwise and untimely” and blacks should be more patient and polite in asking for change. He wrote in response: “You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”

    I encourage you to read the full letter here

    1. Bill


      I’m not beholden to any manufacturers or companies within the industry, financially or otherwise. You’re wrong in your assertions and assumptions.

      You can regulate to your heart’s content. The manufacturers will find ways around the regulation.

      The NFL instituted The Rooney Rule many years back to make sure that African Americans receives equal opportunities for coaching opportunities in the NFL. None of the recent hires(7+), nor any of the GM hires, were African American. So much for regulation.

      The only “tension” that manufacturers respond to is loss of revenue and loss of market share, which either impacts profit or stock price…or both.

      Ian, change within this industry is not complicated, unless you want to make it so.

    2. Pacific Sun

      I VERY MUCH agree with your comment! What an excellent and articulate statement!!
      While business-may-be-business (i.e.,the status quo, ad nausem, etc.) in the meantime living creatures are needlessly, prematurely and unexpectedly suffering and dying. I am not a pet animal rights extremist militant. But the companion pets for which we voluntarily assume personal responsibility, deserve our protection in order to live the best and longest healthy life possible. That’s just a fundamental premise, given whether or not pet’s are afforded various, or extra, comfortable luxuries. I can guarantee you that if the discussion we’re having about the safety and quality of pet food, instead had to do with baby food – well there would be NO controversy. Because the product would be brought to suit! The difference is the legal protection humans are given as opposed to livestock. Companion animals are classified as property. Not that, that definition “should” change for other arguable points of convenience, but they are still in need of fundamental, humane dietary precautions and optimal feeding advantages. The true legality of the controversy really means that the PFI should be held for Truth in Adverstising, so that consumers can make informed choices. And in the end, choose to afford an inferior product that may be harming the pet! If that regulation was actually enforced, the PFI would be incented to improve. They would have no choice but to do so. End of discussion.

      1. Peter

        This is an interesting discussion, and there is thoughtful, intelligent, and useful commentary, if we are all willing to slow down, listen, and accept other’s POV.

        Perhaps the real question is why consumers have abandoned all rationality and given over control of their pet’s well being to an industry that is, as Bill discusses, profit-centered. While profit motives must prevail for any business, the pet food industry seems more unique, in that it is an essentially adversarial relationship with the consumer that supports it. In the end, unfortunately, an essentially unregulated business does not serve consumers well. It may be true that manufacturers will work to circumvent regulations, as Bill correctly asserts… but absent something that they would want to conceal, stipulations for disclosure of calorie count, presence of GM ingredients, and country of origin are simple things that consumers need to make informed decisions.

        1. Pacific Sun

          Well I don’t think the problem is that consumers have given over all rationality regarding pet food, any differently than they have regarding human food processing. It’s more a system of convenience and denial. Trusting the provider. For so long, they’ve been indoctrinated by advertising and product image manipulation. On the consumer’s part it’s actually a failure to even question and then research. They can barely believe when a major recall is announced, questioning whether or not their “individual, particular” bag is affected! Rather than holding accountable the company at fault! Many just accept what they see at face value, perpetuated by advertising and traditional brand name recognition (like Purina, once a leader AND innovator in the animal feed industry).
          The real problem is that pet food (to the Industry) is still “pet feed” which is not much different than “livestock feed” except for it being cosmetically (and nutritionally) adapted for “companion animal” use. People are NOT concerned with what livestock and food producing animals eat. They couldn’t care less. Although the same types of issues do cross over. So the PFI has carefully crafted advertising to “isolate” the “pet food” business, to not only “feel” trustworthy but to actually be necessary AND preferable to consumers (as companies vie for their share of the billion dollar market place). What’s difficult is to convince non-informed owners to feed their own food (ideally raw and minimally processed) to pets. There are obvious conveniences to commercial pet food which owners have come to expect. But that can easily be transferred into whole food feeding (with a little knowledge and practice). So, actually, the only methodology left is CONTINUING education. The more that is written about this subject, the broader the influence, the more it gets closer to mainstream thinking and acceptance. Over 50 years ago the ONLY thing household animals ate was human grade food (leftovers, spoiled, and whatever they scavanged). Why is it 50 years later that people are actually AFRAID of returning to a traditional, wholistic practice, even if only on a part time basis? They’re actually AFRAID their animals will get “sick” unless eating a so-called “better” balanced commercial food (that is artifically enhanced and chemically corrected). But it’s still “pet feed”. It’s crazy thinking, and in that sense, I guess they have “given over all rationality” … afterall! Thx for pointing that out.

          1. d

            “On the consumer’s part it’s actually a failure to even question and then research.”

            And why would a consumer research? Vets encourage these poor diets. They even demand that they are the only choice a consumer has. New regulation in the guise of recommendations tell us that feeding other than status quo is unsafe, unhealthy, unwise. The system is circular, and there is no way to break through to get new information. Even if you seek out the information, it is difficult to find, and repeatedly discredited for no real reason.

  45. Woofielover

    Sorry, my typing got ahead of me – that’s pet SUPPLIES store!

  46. Carol Anne Rayson

    Thinking about Bill’s comments – the only way to make those who profit from the pet food industry stop – is to stop putting our trust in them by stopping buying their inferior products and feed dogs and cats the way nature intended – a whole foods meat based .
    Then the focus for change , can return to what really is wrong with North American food – how it is grown and and how food animals are raised.

  47. Gabrielle

    I read all the emails and am glad that you have so many supporters. Almost 100%, except for the “Bill.” I stopped buying anything Purina (what a misnomer) about 40 years ago when it killed my beautiful 3 year old cat. At that time we did not have you to fight our battles. Yes, Susan, please continue fighting for us and our pet companions.

  48. Lynne

    Susan you are the voice of the voiceless against big money industry. Thank you for working for the most important things in the world out PETS.

  49. Lita and Cookie's Mom

    Susan, you are a tireless warrior for all of our beloved four legged family members. We are so proud of you and so appreciative of all that you do. Keep the faith, and know that we are all with you in spirit as you continue to fight for what is right.

  50. Reader

    I think “Bill” and 1 or 2 of the others in agreement with him, are forgetting some fundamental ideas. Let’s make the following assumptions. With or without Susan Pet Food companies need to make money and more of it all the time. Costs continue to increase, consumers are inundated with distractions, and problems occur. With or without Susan pet food companies have been making mistakes (2007, Diamond Recall, Chicken Jerky Treats, and otherwise causing the death of far too many pets, etc.). The numbers don’t decline, they accumulate! With or without Susan the internet exists and pet owners report and compare experiences. They warn one another. On an entirely different TAPF thread there is a huge discussion about the usefulness (or not) of Consumer Affairs with all it’s horrendous reports. With or without Susan social networking is a reality and “news” travels instantaneously. Does the Pet Food Industry desire another 2007 stampede? Do you think any company beholding to it’s stockholders (as is the argument here) can afford not to be forward thinking? For profit projections, managing business processes, marketing and gaging the trend of future consumers?? I believe all of this, in the most professional and unemotional context possible, is also what pet food companies are concerned about. So wouldn’t it inevitably be to their advantage, in order to corner a greater share of the marketplace, to increase brand loyalty? Therefore wouldn’t indulging a Consumer Advocate, be more productive than conflicting with one? ESPECIALLY in public! Shouldn’t a Consumer Advocate, in any rational sense, actually be considered a “resource” and an “asset” in order to INFLUENCE even more customers? Except that the “truth” is not compatible with “deceit” and what’s worked in the past for nearly 50 years is now (for the reasons listed above) being questioned and challenged.

    So how did all of this come about? Well these changes have been published through Susan’s hard work. Education is one of the largest weapons possible. It’s frustrating and expensive. But it does it’s work slowly and surely. That’s what 20 years really means. It doesn’t mean that’s failure, because change (actually evolution) is never a final product nor is subservient to a presumed timetable. Yes, it may be easier to pin the questionable speed of progress on the idea that a negative “personality and methodology” is at fault. But – look – at which side of the debate has no room for dialogue. And ask, what’s even the point of trying to explain why. And know that what really feeds the excuse are unshakeable attributes. Tenacity, determination, honesty, accuracy, connection with whistle blowers, integrity, knowledge, truth, evidence, and medical resources. Why should ANYone with this many “assets” within their arsenel of “educational tools” who is on the side of safety AND welfare — be “required” to adapt to the offending party’s own deficiencies? Why in the world “Bill” would you expect any Consumer Advocate to redress his or her self just for the “privilege” of being perceived as more acceptable to the very opposition that is at fault??

  51. Gina

    Great discussion! But I am truly shocked that people are surprised that the petfood industry has a goal of profits. Does anyone on this site eat food? Food produced by manufacturing companies in order to make a profit? The same food companies that on occasion have missteps and recalls? Just sayin’, pet food will only follow human food….so if GM is safe for humans and unlabeled, it will remain so until it is changed on the human side. And, I personally am ok with the fact that I bust my butt for a food company who makes a profit and in turn gives me a paycheck 🙂

    1. Reader

      Oh good gracious. I think readers couldn’t care less if a food manufacturing company makes a profit or doesn’t. That isn’t at all the point! What we CARE about is the kind of food that’s making our pets ill, whether immediately or long term. What human food does to people over the long term (excessive sugar, hydrogenated oil, etc.) belongs in a whole different forum. But this one here is all about pets! And just who has proven that a PF company could NOT make a profit while making wholesome, safer food!? By the way, GMO’d food (particularly corn!) is NOT safe and studies have been done and are continuing showing some very detrimental effects! But nobody wants to believe that. Nobody “can” believe it because they’d never think their best interests are anything but primary. Wrong. Those kinds of people just think whistle blowers are alarmists. Obesity is at epidemic levels and a lot of that has to do with how “convenience” food is put together. Ever read those ingredients?? Can people just refuse to buy it? Sure thing. But that takes education and advertising is misleading. Which is, by the way, the point of THIS forum. If a person is comfortable making a living from a company that puts profit before quality and safety, the of course that’s the person’s own business. Rent FOOD, INC. sometime … it’s an eye opener.

  52. Woofielover

    Gina – no one is shocked that the pet food industry is a business that has a goal of profits. It’s the attitude of profit at any cost, without integrity and through deceit and subversiveness that is the problem. Your comment of “…these food companies that on occasion have missteps and recalls…” is shocking and callous and shows that the real person here that doesn’t understand or get it is you. Oh but wait, that’s right, you did say who signed your paycheck.

    Except that even that is not a sufficient explanation for what you said. I own a pet supplies store. I’m in business to make a profit. I’m very successful. I sell pet food. Well, some. I try to choose the best available options on the market at any given time. I could make a whole lot more profit if I would just lower my standards, put aside what I know and stock the crappiest, high profit margin, big advertising budget pet food available. I’m in my store every day, 7 days/week, open to close and I take every opportunity possible to talk to people about food. I have copies of “Not Fit For A Dog” and Susan’s book at my register and throughout my food section. We’ve sold several and it’s often (remarkably and unfortunately) not a deterrent. When talking to people I start by telling them the best way they can feed and work down from there. For years, that was encouraging them to make food until just recently when we picked up a line unlike anything else on the market. While I don’t make the highest profit possible I have built a reputation of truth and knowledge and integrity. It’s harder and it takes longer but if I can’t change everyone and get them to stop feeding processed food at least I can be responsible enough to get the best of what is available (the list is short).

    The industry that you and I make a living off of is deeply and politically motivated and controlled. The giants at the top got there because of the shortcuts, the bad ingredients, the better China pricing and labor costs, etc. They make the big bucks and spend the big bucks to have control. The entire industry isn’t of the same mindset but bucking the big guys is potentially lethal to others within the industry so most keep silent. I know some manufacturers who quietly support and applaud Susan’s efforts. Do I wish they would, could be vocal? Absolutely! But their way to make a difference is to make a better nutritional option so that store owners like me can have better choices for the pet parent.

    I’m glad you’re getting a paycheck most especially because that means you’re one less person taxpayers like me have to support. But I feel sorry for you that you have never loved an animal so much that the fleeting thought in your head of the day when they are no longer with you clutches at your heart, cramps your gut and brings instant tears to your eyes. Only then will you understand what it means, how important it is to do the best you can by them in every way. Including fight for them.

    Bill – you make some valid, salient, realistic points that unfortunately are viewed by some to be combative. Thanks for your input here. I’ve appreciated it.

    1. Pacific Sun

      As a “pet supply vendor” (and a business person with integrity) “Woofielover” is a prime example of what really helps push the movement forward. First, it’s the desire to educate, and BE educated. And two, by refusing to sell inferior products. As consumers we can all do our part. But a “Distributor” losing market share in bulk has a ripple effect. They must work that much harder to make up the loss. It’s a supply chain thing. Education has to include the vendors as well as consumers. Of course too many will be tied to security and profit. Maybe wouldn’t be able to stay in business otherwise. But what they tell customers is absolutely critical. The point is to patronize those who care “most”. Thx “Woofielover”.

  53. DD

    Hey Bill,

    I’m late to the party, but just in case you are still checking this page…

    Nice use of Derailing 101 with the attack on Susan’s being “angry” and so on. Way to try to psych her out with a meaningless argument. Be co-opted by industry just so they will like you… There’s a happy message. Way to try to demoralize her! Ah, you brought me back to the old days of directing people to Heck, here I go again… Here’s a link on your “hostile” derailing technique from since the site isn’t up anymore –


    This is a great one to pop out if it seems like they’re going to push the matter. After all, nobody wants to be “hostile”, do they? In a culture rigidly defined by social protocol, invariably designed to favour the privileged, people are very concerned about “getting along with others“.
    Especially Marginalised People™! Know why? Well, since they’re marginalised, they experience a variety of discriminations, usually in many aspects of their daily lives. It is not at all unusual, therefore, for Marginalised People™ to have to be accustomed to being very, very cautious about the way they engage with the Privileged®. This is because discrimination may mean they routinely encounter violence, silencing, oppression or just good old-fashioned outright ridicule and diminishment. That can make life stressful and exhausting, so many Marginalised People™ develop complex strategies to avoid hostile engagements with Privileged People® .
    Further to this, Marginalised People™ are forced into a certain sort of social behaviour by Privileged People® – “appropriate” behaviour. After all, there are different rules for them than there are for the Privileged®. This training in “appropriate” behaviour usually begins when they are very young, so it is well-ingrained.
    By accusing them of hostility, you will successfully enliven their sense of caution and anxiety around this matter. You may also provoke a feeling of guilt that they are not “behaving” the way they have been trained to.
    But even better – by accusing them of hostility, you pass the blame back to them, rather than consider what you might have said that was so offensive and hurtful it caused the “hostility”!
    This will definitely work in your favour, because it will further insult and enrage them. You are making progress…”

    Wasn’t that site great satire on the trolling of idiots? I thought so. And also…

    I find it sickening that someone in with “influence in the industry” is suggesting that one person alone be prepared for ANY and ALL arguments against ANY possible thing that could be mentioned at industry love-ins.

    You probably don’t know this, why would someone “influential” – But mega corporations have endless supply of money to fund “research” and so-called “fact-checking” and outright propaganda and lies about everything from the safety of our food to the safety of GMOs… But of course, one pet food advocate, she should do that too, or not be taken seriously. Especially if she’s not a nice little girl about the unfairness of it, as well.

    Of course, anyone buying pet food and/or wanting to get the lovely industry to listen to what hundreds of thousands, if not a million or more people are really thinking at home every time there’s a new horrible round of pet deaths or recalls or food “pulls,” should be nice and polite because THAT’S the IMPORTANT thing.

    Priorities in line!

    I do admit – I *was* surprised to learn that you and apparently the pet food industry schmoes that anyone knowledgeable about pet food industry are opposed to are tired of hearing Susan bring up completely appropriate things in meeting that you simply don’t want to hear! It’s shocking – that.

    Imagine my surprise at learning that the arbiters of proper behavior *are the very ones* not wanting to spend a fraction of a cent per can or bag of pet food, and that *actual groans* can be heard escaping from them when someone consistently brings up the fact that a fraction of a cent is worth being spent on our beloved pets – whether it’s for honest labeling, or ingredients that don’t kill. Well! You opened my eyes, certainly.

    Not disturbing these people for one moment…not make them uncomfortable. Let’s make sure to you know, never actually have them reflect on their merciless greed and get them to do the right thing. Or at very least, let’s never be forthright, aggressive or anything like that about getting them to do the right thing. That’s never what *serious* people do.


    Is that right? No, I don’t think that’s right.

    I see even though you mentioned having influence, you never mention how or what you actually do. So, I’ll take it that you’re just a megacorposupporter with a maniacal ego, like, or even perhaps even one of the grumblers at the AAFCO meeting that couldn’t listen to one woman’s meaningful criticism because of some derailing you’d rather be doing. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so potentially deadly for all of our pets.

    Also, blaming people still buying pet food (I am not one of them, so I’m not “angry” at you for doing this to me personally), when there is little choice for many people – for one – because they work for a living and don’t sit around waiting for their unearned income…) should really be a non-starter and certainly below anyone with an ounce of sensitivity.

    Last point – for human beings *with* that ounce of sensitivity and perhaps even a law-abiding bone in their body — Business isn’t supposed to be legal if it is causing harm. I’m pretty sure that’s the law. If not, it should be. I know pets are still only considered mere “property” and all, so leaving aside the fact they are sentient beings for a sec – destroying my property with purposefully mis-or un-labeled products containing poisons that are known to um, kill, “my property” should be punishable by law. Though, in America, I understand big biz takes precedent over mere citizen’s right to justice because those campaign ads aren’t going to pay for themselves. Amirite?

    If you megacorpo-lovers and indeed, megacorps, didn’t all have their corrupt collective heads up their *** along with Congress, the heads of the pet food industry would already be in jail for lying about the safety of their products – for starters. Maybe followed up with class-action lawsuits for vet bills and mental anguish.

    Oh wait, was that not nice to say? I’m concerned about your feelings.

    But, I mean, hell. Even in *Communist China*, they held *some* people accountable for poisoned stuff. I’m pretty sure they shot some of them.

    Letter-writing, money-spending, voting, “angry, resentful, and vengefully” yours,

    — DD

    1. Pacific Sun

      ABSOLUTELY _best_ comment on this topic ever on TAPF! You made my day!!

    2. Donna B.

      I LOVE YOU DD! You are my hero.

    3. Bill


      Here’s a fairy tale for you:

      1 company owner(let’s make him big, nasty, Republican, white, male, and really really mean!) with 10 bags of inferior, harmful, unhealthy dog food has a stand set up in his front yard.

      10 pet owners(let’s call them “the red-faced, finger-waggers”) are standing on one corner, making ugly faces at this evil person.

      The “red-faced finger waggers” huff and puff and “rise up” and yell and scream at that evil man across the street, and then they huddled up in a group. They make a plan! They’re going to write a letter, and they’re going to put it in the mail, and they’re going to go on Facebook and make fun of this man, this evil man. YES, that’s what they’ll do!

      But the evil man never got the letters(he was too business supporting Mitt Romney and golfing and smoking cigars and shooting his guns and colluding with China); a couple of the people felt relieved after huffing and puffing on the corner so they just went home and never wrote the letter. The evil man didn’t much enjoy people yelling at him, so he took his took his stand and went to France(he has a vineyard there), and he went to Germany(he gets the best custom guns there), and he went to Columbia(several mistresses), and he went to a place in Arkansas and he sold his 10 bags of evil pet food and more, and pets continued to die.

      The evil man stayed in business – he just found more street corners where people didn’t care and they just kept buying. If you look hard enough, you’ll always find apathetic people.

      Some of the letters finally reached him(mail is slow these days and no one really listens to the politicians that some of the letters were sent to), but it didn’t faze him – he was even richer now after selling all his bad dog food to cheap people who liked things from Arkansas.

      He had more money to burn, and now for entertainment, he read those letters and laughed – he laughed and laughed…and hired another lobbyist, because that’s how the game works when everybody is angry and never cross the street to talk.

      In another world, far away, the same owner set up his stand on a corner with 10 bags of inferior dog food.

      10 pet owners saw the stand, were curious, and decided to chat this man up. What would hurt?

      So they walked over to talk to this man, a neighbor, who had kids, a wife who they liked, and a couple cute kids(really!). They realized he wasn’t evil, he just worked alot and had his own business and was doing the best he could to feed his family. He showed them his dog food and they took a step back, because the bags had smoke and sludge and funny gurgling sounds coming from it.

      One of the pet owners pulled out their IPAD, looked at their PETSUMER REPORT, and found the man’s dog food’s name on the bag. They were shocked to find that this man was selling bad things! In their neighborhood! They had a heart to heart right there. They told him why the food was bad(it was obvious, wasn’t it?) He traipsed back into his home, with his 10 bags of food, and sat on his couch…another day….another lost sale.

      The pet owners talked as they went back across the street; they all found the man charming(but misguided, republican, white, nonetheless); they decided that they’d still be friends, but they’re going to buy their food elsewhere until he cleans up his act, IF he cleans up his act, and they told him so.

      When the man’s wife came home, he recounted the day’s events to her – “I’ve been telling you the same thing for years – you’ve been trying to unload that 10 bags of crap for years – why don’t you do what you’ve said you were going to do for years and start selling something our neighbors WANT for their pets – if you’d just do it, we’d be able to send our kids to a good college!”

      The man threw the 10 bags of food out – he went back to his lab in the basement and came up with a healthier product. He knocked on each of the 10 people’s doors and gave them a sample; they checked the PETSUMER REPORT, conferred with the man about the ingredients, and ended up buying 2 bags right there. All 10 people bought 2 bags – 20 bags of food!!!!

      And the pets lived happily ever after….

      Now the quiz:

      1. Which world would you rather live in?
      2. Which neighborhood would you rather live in?
      3. Who got to the finish line(pet health) FASTER?

  54. DD

    Thanks Pacific Sun, and Donna B. Glad to speak my mind.

  55. DD


    Oh Bill, did I upset you?

    I’m worried about because your third question doesn’t even go with your scenarios.

    You still haven’t mentioned exactly *how* you are linked with the pet food industry. Just sucking me into some derailing commentary. I know how it works. Some operatives are even paid to do such things on comment boards. But I’ll pretend I don’t know that, because, this is what we should be talking about – how anger and red-facedness is a Bad Thing™ when it comes to working on stuff… Not about the facts pertaining to changing the pet food industry. Y’see, my life is filled with pettiness and loneliness and oh, so much angriness and I think I might even be red-faced! From being riled up! And I’m pretty sure you aren’t one of those operatives. So, let’s get on to your comments.

    Surely, you didn’t mean to imply that all pet owners caring about their pet’s food are “red-faced, finger-waggers”? Surely not. Not even 1 in the 10 wasn’t red-faced and waggling a finger? Are you sure?

    I’m really so inclined to believe you *absolutely* are NOT trolling this site and working to derail conversation here. Really! I am. Honest. There’s no contempt for pet lovers in any of your posts. I’m right, aren’t I?

    And ooooo, you really think you’ve all our numbers’ by dissing Republicans, dontcha.


    Can’t we just agree to be non-partisan and say corruption is a problem in general? That would be super. (Let’s not get into the math of it.) There is one place where you went astray and may have actually hit on a point by accident – Corruption is something like “evil”, but why argue about that, when that’s not the point? Because the point is not to talk about the point? Never. I don’t believe it.

    You insisted earlier on the important of impressing the Important People – The Important People being the ones that have been corrupt and killing our pets for a while now – or supporting those that do, if not actually getting down and dirty themselves. They just follow orders. It’s a job with really amazing pay, etc.

    In either case, it does seem just a tad likely the very people eye rolling like children just hitting puberty, and deep sighing and so forth, during a meeting about setting food standards (where they are manipulating the framing, yet again) are the very people we *want* to get groaning because of a touched nerve.

    But yeah? We shouldn’t want to move the frame aggressively back into Realityland…where the quarterly profits aren’t forever growing like some cancer.

    (And over the course of your posts here I’m pretty sure you implied that it both is not, and is, good business to make a mass of money whilst being what’s generally called “evil”, but who’s keeping track.)

    We should *never* go there. To Realityland that is. Because these Important People will *obviously* listen, if only we’re meek and play nicey-nice and say things just the right way for their delicate ears. It will *so* change their minds, when they are absolutely led with their wallets. (I’m pretty sure your argument was that these people, Good Business People, *Important* People, are led with their wallets. I don’t want to cut and paste. You know what you said. I think.)

    In fact, Nothing gets done that way. NOTHING.

    Never has.

    Angry people, despite whatever you *might* believe DO get things done. There’s history. Look into it. Here are some examples to get you started – India fighting for their freedom from Britain, America fighting for their freedom from Britain, suffrage for women, the civil right movement, and so on.

    You know, I can even remember a time when the president refused to say AIDS. It’s true! He simply *refused* to say it though thousands and thousands of people were dying from it. Shocker, I know.

    Then, the people that survived the dead got angry. Really angry. They talked with each other, they wrote letters, they protested. Guess what? Those angry people caught the attention of some others that were angry but silent. Eventually they got together, got some attention and it wasn’t magic but – they changed things. It was slow going, but then changing the circumstances surrounding most things worth fighting for usually does move at rather a slow pace. Here’s the thing though…They didn’t even have this series of tubes we’re using back then. Whoa. (Maybe that’s why PFI took the .or and .net sites? Nah. It’s a mystery, to be sure.)

    That is how things work in the real world. Hi there! Welcome.

    My last stray comment…From your advice, it seems *you* can’t – but many people *can*, in fact, DO TWO THINGS AT ONCE!

    I know lots that can walk and chew gum. They can even be righteously angry, rally people to their cause, manage a boycott, put pressure on “the people that matter” and y’know – get things done. Apparently, that’s not your experience, but everyone’s different. It’s OK.

    I for one won’t hold *that* bit against you.

    — DD

  56. Experience

    Come on people. How many readers have worked in a corporate job? How is it run? If you want your job, you follow the rules. The rules are made for ONLY three reasons: 1) To eliminate risk and legal liability. 2) To comply with government regulations (in order to avoid fines = losses and penalities = bad publicity). And 3) to beat your competition in order to increase market share (revenue = profit). What could be more simple. We’d like to think a white knight in shinning armor is going to see the light and improve the consumer’s plight. We’d like to think that if we smile just right the white knight will save the day. But instead – no “decision maker” is going to step out of line (unless compelled to do so). Least ESPECIALLY at a a public meeting. The purpose of marginalizing Susan at AAFCO (or ignoring her in any other venue) is a political statement for self-protection (and whether or not it happens to be personal, doesn’t even matter). Most corporate employees (and the company’s representatives) can only be successful career-wise by being “professional” and divesting him/herself of emotions and personal conflicts! If the person can’t manage reactions AND interactions with Susan, as well as with others, then that’s a bad reflection of the person. Because it speaks of the inability to function in a team setting (the corporation). A person just doesn’t exhibit negative behavior if interested in long term employment. I worked 35 yrs. in a Fortune 250 company, trust me on this one.
    To the second point, I worked 10 years in customer service with the public. In that capacity I can absolutely attest to the fact that the most “determined” customers got attention until the matter was resolved. If you tell a customer “no” on the first inquiry, it’s over only if there’s no reaction. By the 10th conversation both parties are forced into a resolution process. THAT’s what creates the momentum for going forward. If it is legally feasible, and financially reasonable, most disputes will eventually be resolved in the customer’s favor, anticipating (and requiring that it be so, for labor’s sake) that the person needs to go away.
    You know? The “Corner Lemon Stand” analogy is very witty and cute. Unfortunately for every wasted AAFCO meeting, and the derailin, as exemplified through these purposeful exchanges, a pet out there is suffering the consequences of human error. And that’s what it is. Not some “evil, blood sucking, caricature” sitting behind a desk, or with a finger over a red button … just a normal decision-making human being who has bought into a system, and out of a conscience, and justifies a very sad way of making a living. It is what it is. Let’s try to refocus on the educational message.

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