To say the very least, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding Nutro pet food right now. The pet food line, produced by Mars Petcare, is standing firm stating their own lab results prove the food is safe. The lab chosen by Mars Petcare, stated as “well-known for its expertise in Vitamin D analysis” is reported to be Covance Laboratories. When you learn more about Covance Lab, your skepticism radar might rise to new levels just like mine did.
When TruthaboutPetFood.com published lab results from Pet Food Products Safety Alliance, Nutro contacted TruthaboutPetFood.com to provide their side of the story. Fair enough. One small sentence in Nutro’s statement has turned into a mountain of controversy. The sentence from the Nutro statement…”The lab that conducted this test is well-known for its expertise in Vitamin D analysis.” ConsumerAffairs.com reports that the lab…the lab that Nutro used to test for Vitamin D levels in their pet food is Covance Laboratories. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2010/05/nutro_cat_food.html
When you visit the Covance website, www.covance.com, the opening page gives a visitor no clue to what this laboratory is ‘famous’ for in animal rights circles. However, with a quick investigation on SourceWatch.com (thanks to DiedMarch2007), you’ll learn about a horrid history of animal abuse with Covance Laboratories.
Hired by the tobacco industry, Covance performed studies claiming that “even extreme exposure to secondhand smoke was safe for humans.” http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Covance_Laboratories SourceWatch.com provides the following information for Covance under the category of Animal Cruelty and Welfare Violations:
“Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) is a national research watchdog organization. SAEN has included Covance Laboratories among the worst violators of U.S. laws. Covance amassed a combined 42 violations between their Pennsylvania and Virginia laboratories, including the starving of dogs and failure to provide veterinary care for broken bones. (Government reports and ranking statistics available upon request.)”
Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) provides years of USDA Inspection Reports of Covance; the follow are two pages provided on Covance Laboratories
Bionity.com states that Covance Inc. “is the single largest importer of primates in the U.S. and the world’s largest breeder of laboratory dogs. The company has been the subject of controversy following allegations of primate abuse in its laboratories in Germany and the United States, and in connection with a potential outbreak of the Ebola virus.” http://www.bionity.com/lexikon/e/Covance/#_ref-studydirector_0/
Ok, ok, before anyone posts comments that laboratory testing is necessary for the health and safety of all animals – including humans…yes, ok, well maybe. I might be completely naïve but as the saying goes…’if they can put a man on the moon’ why can’t someone come up with some way to test drugs and cosmetics without torturing animals? There just has to be a better way. (Hello…HSUS, PETA, ASPCA…spend some money; figure this out!)
Nutro/Mars Petcare’s business relationship with Covance is concerning. Was Covance retained by Mars Petcare strictly for this pet food Vitamin D testing OR does Mars Petcare have an existing relationship with this historically questionable laboratory?
Either way, the skepticism meter has risen dramatically in my book. Why any corporation would want to affiliate themselves with a laboratory with animal abuse history is beyond me. Especially considering this corporation is a pet food corporation.
The following is my request for a statement from Mars Petcare/Nutro Pet Food regarding their relationship with Covance Lab…
To: Julie Lawless
Corporate Communications Manager for Mars Petcare US and The Nutro Company
I have published on my website Mars Petcare/Nutro Pet Foods statement regarding your laboratory results finding no Vitamin D toxicity. Upon reading ConsumerAffairs.com latest story on the on-going controversy with Nutro Pet Food, I learned that the laboratory Nutro retained for Vitamin D testing has a questionable history at best. Covance Laboratories, the laboratory you stated to ConsumerAffairs.com Nutro used for Vitamin D testing, is on the radar of many animal rights organizations fighting to protect the welfare of laboratory animals. Per Bionity.com, Covance is “the world’s largest breeder of laboratory dogs.” This is very disturbing news.
I admit, I was very surprised at Nutro’s choice of lab. So…I have to ask…why this lab? Does Mars Petcare have an existing relationship with Covance? Does Mars Petcare retain Covance laboratory for animal testing of their pet foods?
I certainly hope the answer to these questions is no; however I would like the answers.
If Nutro/Mars Petcare responds to my questions regarding Covance Laboratories, I will be sure to let you know. I remain skeptical.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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