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If it is This Bad for Employees, What is it Doing to Pets?

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  1. Debbie

    Susan, thank you so much for this article. Scary that this is being ignored and I agree…if these ingredients are bothering those who are working with them, what are they doing to pets who are eating them? 🙁

  2. Regina

    This is SCARY!!!!! Sooo, are the workers the “canary in the coal mine” that should be warning against feeding this to our pets?

    Years ago, I had a job, and I was getting sick a lot from breathing in something. No one else was bothered by it, but I just could not work there any more, and I had to leave. It is a sad fact that in this economy these workers stayed at those jobs because it is so hard to find decent jobs.

    It would be interesting to know what brands were manufactured there. I know that Mars does a lot of different brands, Nutro, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Cesars, Whiskas, etc.

    1. Luther

      Last but not least (who Mars owns) is:
      Banfield Veterinary located in PetSmarts.
      Sad, but true.

  3. Nina Wolf

    “dangers inherent to the production of pet food” really just sums it up, doesn’t it?

    And yet there they are, Mars, on the AAFCO boards and advisories…

    I am sickened, and I wasn’t anywhere near Missouri. Or a bag of Mars pet food.

  4. Marilyn J. Caruso

    I tried to put this article on my Facebook page. I have five cats that do not like any canned cat food for the past year.

  5. Mad

    I have said for years after having gone through 5 cats with Chronic Renal Failure. My vet keeps holding on to the fact that cats’ longevity has extended and the kidneys may be giving out with age. I contradicted him and said I think it’s more likely that there’s something they’re not getting in their food that they need to keep the kidneys healthy. Well, I guess we’re both wrong. It may be something that they ARE GETTING in their food.

  6. Linda Muir

    What we do without Susan Thixton as our advocate? I cannot thank you enough for your research and the time you are taking to advise pet owners of the inherent dangers of pet food. The pet food industry is committing to making money at the expense of our pet families. They are criminals, pure and simple. I have used Susan’s book to warn all the pet owners I know. I am doing my best to carry the message.

    Two of my cats are almost 14 years old and both have serious health issues. Much of their diseases were caused by pet food that was unsafe, I am sure. My two younger boys will be healthier, I believe, because of my awareness to purchase grain free, natural food. Even now I am not sure who or what I should believe.

    I trust Susan and would like to follow her guidelines to make my own food for my pets. I haven’t gotten there yet, but at least I am buying Dave’s and ?Fussie Cat and Fromm. No Mars, no Purina, no Science Diet. I try to select from her list. I wish everyone would.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Thanks Linda.
      We all deserve to know what exactly goes on behind the closed doors of pet food manufacturing – this proves there is much hidden from the pet food consumer. I just can’t imagine how sick those people are – and just how sick pets have become. The pet illnesses all undiagnosed/not attributed to the pet foods. It’s very sad. Perhaps this is part of the reason why the industry ingredient trade show won’t let me in the door (refused me admission for 2 years now).

  7. Laurie Matson

    What exactly is Cat Trace and Dog Trace?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I assume this is the vitamin/mineral premix. I’ll have to ask around to confirm.

      1. Laurie Matson

        Thank you Susan!! 🙂

  8. chuck linker

    People smoking around dogs is WORSE for dogs than humnas. Here’s why. (common sense)

    Thier lungs are smaller and the smoke with all its chemicals, killing nicotine and pathogens don’t have to travel far at all to inflict & coat thier lungs ande esophogus. That’s fatel over a period of time from the buildup.

    Or to those of you who smoke, do you say or think “Oh, no matter. It’s jUST the dog.
    Too bad our canines can’t respond to you.
    This is also true for cats.

  9. Dr. Amy

    This literally made me feel viscerally ill! Susan, I think this is the worst news I have read yet about commercial processed dog food and I am just shocked! I really am surprised that this hasn’t hit the media. What are they thinking about using these chemical around (in?) our dogs’ food? And aflatoxins–that is one of my huge concerns in grain based foods. And, my pet peeve: WHY does FDA have zero tolerance for ANY salmonella–live or dead–when some strains are not pathogenic to dogs—but no aflatoxin policy–when that is a known carcinogen and can also be acutely harmful to our dogs???
    Dr Amy

  10. lynn

    IF… this isn’t a warning to ALL pet parents … then what will it take?! Thank you Susan!!!!!Are they trying to kill off all pets?!

  11. John H.

    Susan… you are the BEST! My woofs are happy and healthy. They look and feel great – all because of you and your efforts to keep us informed.
    Thank you so much…Good health and happiness to you and your family always. ♥

  12. Debi

    Even if the FDA gets this article, will they do anything about it? I think not.

  13. kris

    so..what pet food was this? what is the name of it? i feed raw so it really does not effect me but still…

  14. Peter

    No long-term safety testing of these pet foods or treats has EVER been performed. The standards for testing endorsed by AAAFCO are very meager. So-called “lethal dose” (acute toxicology) tests are not enough. It is the pet parent him/herself who conducts “lifetime” testing of these awful products… and as TAPF articles have repeatedly discussed, the continual, long-term low-dose exposure to toxins can lead to a myriad of health problems and shorter lifespans for the dogs and cats who consume these products.

  15. LindyHop

    Read “Work Wonders – Feed your dog raw meaty bones” by Tom Lonsdale. It will answer all your questions, oh and you’ll never feed your dog “dog food” again!

  16. Jeanie Kilgour

    Is there any ay we can find our which BRANDS of food/treats were manufactured here (and in their other facilities)?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I’m not for certain all brands that were made at this facility – but one of the news broadcasts about the plant closing stated Pedigree and private label brands. But Mars Petcare itself manufactures Royal Canin, Nutro, Pedigree, Whiskas, and Greenies.


        Thank you for working hard at all times for us.
        Time for the Truth has come finally!!!

        Following is the list of Mars Family members:

        Advance,Aquarian,Catsan,Champ,Chappie,Dentabone,Dentarask,Dentastix,Dine,Exelpet,Frolic,Golden Cob,Gourmania,Greenies,James Wellbeloved,Jumbone,KalKan,Kitbits,KiteKat,Loyal,Markies,Marrobone,Max,Miss Cat,My Dog,Natural Choice,Natusan,Nutro,Optimum,Oral Fresh Biscuit,Pal,Pedigree,Perfect Fit,Pockets,Profilum,Ringo,Rodeo,Royal Canin,Schmackos,Sheba,Temptations,The Goodlife Recipe,Thomas.Thrill,Ultra,Waltham Diets,Whiskas Bio,Whiskas,Winergy,Banfield, The name of a Pet Hospital run by Mars

  17. DD

    Here (from the full report) are the magic words insuring absolutely nothing will be done:
    “We make the following recommendations . . . so that this guidance . . .”

    “Continue voluntary use of N95 respirators.”

    So, recommendations, guidance, and voluntary = Absolutely Nothing Will Change. That’s the way politics work. I’ve seen it too many times to count. Those words, whether used individually or together – a veritable booty kiss to industry that everything is just fine and nothing will be done. But, it also covers the govs booty with media and public perceptions about “getting things done.”
    I must say that “booty” in the pirate sense, is what that type of theater is all about. Money for elections, maybe the Jobs, Jobs, Jobs that really aren’t about Jobs, but about corporations sucking money Out Of the state through corpowelfare and kickbacks, etc.
    At any rate. . . this made me think of a story Mother Jones (real journalists!) covers a few years ago.
    Workers in the meat industry (Hormel/SPAM) were dealing with terrible illnesses because of “brain blood mist” after Hormel sped up the “cut and kill line.” Workers got frightening autoimmune disorders that even the Mayo Clinic and other luminaries of the health industry couldn’t figure out.
    IIRC, Hormel/SPAM fired sick workers, then closed plants. Then Hormel/SPAM made a shell company to rip off workers even further.
    Finally, the doctors thought the illnesses so scary and pervasive; they called the State Department of Health. The DoH refused to diagnose the illnesses the way the doctors with all the experience had. After that, the Hormel shell company was ordered in a class action lawsuit to pay the sick workers. Then, ICE started investigating employees. But of course, that was just happenstance!
    Lots of other terrible stuff happened. In the end, Nothing was done. Hormel voluntarily took the brain machine off the line, but the state and federal gov never made it Mandatory, even though many workers got so ill they couldn’t work. It’s still some “mystery disease.”
    Hormel or others could still use the machines that make “brain blood mist” if they feel like it. After people forget. Because the only thing that matters is if something is Mandatory. Recommendations, guidance, and voluntary are thumbs up to whatever horror was “stopped,” happening again, at some time in the future.
    Well, I decided to look up the story. If they treat human beings like this (which corps do regularly), you think they care about our beloved animals?
    Here’s the info:
    The Spam Factory’s Dirty Secret
    First, Hormel gutted the union. Then it sped up the line. And when the pig-brain machine made workers sick, they got canned.
    Here’s the story all on one page:
    Here’s the story on individual pages:

    1. DD

      Or if you just want to get the jist of the thing, here some from PAGE 4:
      “ Once we were inside a tight, private office borrowed for the occasion, Bower shut the door and closed the blinds. She sat behind the desk and spoke from a set of prepared talking points. She seemed taxed by the dilemma of owning up to QPP’s role in the outbreak without accepting culpability. I felt bad for her. But I didn’t know then that she’d served as one of the four directors of Albert Lea Select Foods [DC], another “co-packer” for Hormel in a nearby town—another company headed by Kelly Wadding, headquartered at the same accounting firm in Dallas, and, as of 2008, 100 percent controlled by the Blaine Jay Corporation. Shortly after that transaction, Select Foods, which then described itself as “an extension of Quality Pork Processors,” announced a $1.5 million expansion that dramatically increased capacity and added more than 100 nonunion jobs—many filled by an influx of Karen refugees from Burma, who were legal under asylum laws.
      Bower seemed focused on defending the speed of QPP’s response to the outbreak and showing management’s deep caring for the affected workers. “When the public health department came on site, we had open meetings with all of the employees in our two big break rooms,” she said. “They took them off their work time, paid them for their time, and the president of the company and our HR manager and myself and anyone else that was involved talked to them, had interpreters, explained what was going on. We had weekly meetings just like that with everybody in the plant for the following four, five, six weeks.”
      I asked why they hadn’t simply informed workers in writing, noting that the lunchroom held barely a hundred people. It would have taken a dozen or so meetings at each step of the process to inform all 1,300 QPP workers in the manner she described. Her calm reserve faltered.
      “We had multiple meetings,” she said, growing flushed. “We would have the day hot side, the day cold side, livestock. We probably had four meetings in a row. Day and night. For weeks.”
      Nevertheless, many affected workers didn’t know all the facts. Susan Kruse, who was at home and unable to work, didn’t learn of the outbreak until she saw it on the evening news. Emiliano Ballesta didn’t know how widespread the illness was until he arrived for a steroid treatment at the Austin Medical Center and found the waiting room filled with his coworkers. Back at work after another five months out sick, Matthew Garcia was surprised to discover that Dr. Lachance had ordered him, along with a group of fellow employees, put on light duty and referred to another Mayo Clinic neurologist.
      Those who did attend the meetings, people like Miriam Angeles, remember the break-room gatherings very differently from Carole Bower. When Angeles spoke to me at Austin’s Centro Campesino with the cultural center’s director, Victor Contreras, serving as interpreter, she said management insisted that, although people from QPP had become sick, there was no evidence that the illness originated from inside the plant. The managers instructed workers to keep quiet until the company made a public statement. “We prohibit any comment about this,” she remembered being told. “Anyone who comments on this disease, you could lose your job.”
      Affected workers were instructed not to identify themselves in the group meetings nor ask questions. In one meeting, however, a sick worker rose in a swell of panic to ask Kelly Wadding, “What’s going to happen with my health?”
      Wadding, according to Angeles, said: “Sit down. We’re going to talk to you in the nurse’s office.”
      After that, there were more meetings, but sick workers were afraid to speak out. They whispered in locker rooms. They phoned each other at home. They slowly figured out who some of their sick coworkers were, but when Wadding called a final meeting to announce that the mystery illness was under control, Angeles said the affected workers were too scared to say anything. And, though they were all in the UFCW, neither Local 9 nor the bosses in Washington took up their cause.
      To this day, there is no agreed-upon number of QPP workers who were affected by the illness. The MDH conducted a survey [DC] and found 15. In his published study based on rigorous testing, Lachance says he found 21. Thirteen were sufficiently incapacitated to file workers’ compensation claims against QPP. The count is further complicated by the revelation that MDH reached out to the two other plants in America where pork brains were being harvested with compressed air, and some published reports include seven additional cases from the Indiana Packers plant in Delphi, Indiana, and one more from the Hormel plant in Fremont, Nebraska. Angeles didn’t seek out other affected workers. She resolved to just do her work and keep quiet. She never complained, she told me, even though she claims that her supervisor never honored her doctor’s orders that she sit for 15 minutes every two hours. When the strong medications that had been prescribed for pain in her arms left her with blurred vision, the supervisor still refused to let her take a break. “No,” Angeles says she was told, “you have to keep working.”
      In May 2008, five months after the MDH visit, an outside social worker, Roxanne Tarrant, was assigned to guide employees through filing workers’ compensation claims. (Under Minnesota law, filing a claim precludes the possibility of a lawsuit.) In a successful claim—which is not dependent on employment or immigration status—the injured party can receive wage-loss, medical, and/or rehabilitation benefits. Those benefits—which in a case like this could cost millions, mostly in medical claims—would be paid for by insurance; QPP’s insurer was an AIG subsidiary. However, a recent appellate ruling [DC] reveals that QPP’s policy had a $600,000 deductible for “Each Accident or each Person for Disease.” QPP argued that the outbreak constituted one “accident.” The court disagreed, making QPP pay $600,000 per affected worker, which could total more than $7 million.
      As the workers began filing their claims, QPP offered Angeles and several others about $20,000 each as a preemptive settlement. But QPP’s offer required workers to forfeit medical benefits. Doctors were still determining whether workers’ nerve damage was temporary or long-term, whether they would ever be able to work again or faced permanent disability. The workers rejected the offer.
      Days later, on the Monday morning after the long Fourth of July weekend, Angeles was told to report to human resources, where she was informed that there was a problem with her identification. Angeles, who’d been working under another name, knew she was about to be fired. Would she continue to have her health insurance? Would she still qualify for worker’s comp?
      “They said, ‘That’s your problem.'”
      Angeles’ voice turned soft, lost in that memory.
      “I feel thrown away,” she said, finally. “Like a piece of trash. Before, I worked hard and willingly for QPP, but after I got sick and needed restrictions and told them I was in pain, they threw me away like trash and were done with me.” ”


    2. Laurie Matson

      This was a fascinating and eye opening read!! Thank you so much for sharing this article!!!

  18. david lotz

    keep up your good and important work. as we ‘baby boomers’ buy malox, rocking chairs, and the vital companionship of a ‘pet’ hopefully to last through our golden years the importance of pet health rivals our own. losing a cat or dog to the callous acts of thirty-something bean counters could literally mean the difference between life and death for the seniors putting food on said ‘kids’ dinner tables. I can think of NO HIGHER CALLING than that which you all dedicate your time and efforts to. if i may say so, GOD BLESS YOU

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