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Prescription Pet Food Lawsuit to be Dismissed

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  1. Nancy Newcomb

    I am so fed up with the pet foods.
    They are money making that is the bottom line.

    I feel sick every meal I serve to my most precious babies in the world.
    Our food it is the same thing.
    I buy organic -but is it really ?is always the question. I go to produce fair every week.
    wish there was such an activity for our pets.
    We just have to do our best.

    1. Robin M.

      Hi Nancy, do they have organic meats, poultry and fish at your produce fair?? Just buy healthy meat and meat with bone to feed your pets, both dogs and cats. You don’t need to buy “pet food”. There’s lots of info online on how to feed this type of diet and in the long run, it’s MUCH less expensive than the vet bills that will come from feeding a commercial diet. If you find this too complicated ( and it’s really not) then buy Susan’s list of approved pet foods and companies that have taken the pledge. Stop feeling sick as you put it over something you can actually control.

  2. Meg

    While this is criminally disgusting, morally revolting, ethically unconscionable, and just one more example of how the big pet food industry controls the FDA / legislature, Judges / judicial proceedings, and about everything else – I am sadly not surprised. Perhaps it’s time that all of us pet lovers band together and make our voices heard. If many of you, like me, simply and quietly tries to stay current with information, tries to make quality, balanced, species-appropriate food choices (not feed) to ensure our companions remain as healthy as possible, and tries to avoid all the lies and marketing hype – we are too many and too caring not to have an impact as consumers. Boycotts, marches, letters all well-planned and coordinated may be our last best hope! Shame Shame Shame to each and every person involved – not matter how small their role – in defrauding caring pet parents and causing harm to our pets! Thank you Susan for your vigilance – we need you!

  3. Judith Gray

    Another stupidity. What happened with regard to the claims about Wild Calling pet food ?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Virginia Department of Agriculture found no pentobarbital in the cat food – besides that, they did minimal testing and also found nothing. One of the cats was very slow to recover, other is fine now.

  4. chissus


  5. Susan,

    I’m equally disappointed in the ruling, but am inclined to think that the plaintiffs did not have all their ducks in a row. I checked on the background of Maxine Chesney and found her to be about as liberal as a judge can be in these types of lawsuits. I hope the efforts continue (perhaps using claims against FDA / DVM for failing to protect animals from prescription drug/foods) through their legislative mandates, but I don’t see any indication of “corporate bias” on this particular ruling.

    About Senior District Judge Maxine M. Chesney

    Born 1942 in San Francisco, CA
    Federal Judicial Service:

    Judge, U. S. District Court, Northern District of California
    Nominated by William J. Clinton on January 24, 1995, to a seat vacated by John P. Vukasin, Jr. Confirmed by the Senate on May 8, 1995, and received commission on May 10, 1995. Assumed senior status on June 30, 2009.


    University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1964
    University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, J.D., 1967

    Professional Career:

    Attorney, Office of the San Francisco District Attorney, California, 1968-1979
    Judge, San Francisco Municipal Court, California, 1979-1983
    Judge, Superior Court of California, City and County of San Francisco, appointed and subsequently elected, 1983-1995

  6. Anita

    Another corrupt Judge. Who knew?

  7. Pacific Sun

    The lawyers first mistake was filing in such a notoriously liberal court. We’ve seen that problem play out for political reasons. But the case was probably prepared well beforehand.

    We (as Followers) evaluate pet related lawsuits with a built in bias (a belief in the PFI’s corruption). Inexperienced observers (Judge) see a lawsuit only for what’s being presented in the context of the argument itself and the law, regulations, and standard practice. So any faulty logic doesn’t help! The lawsuit is complicated enough, because they’ve included everything to demonstrate the PFI’s ill intentions, of which the subject of “prescription” PF happens to be included. (Read the lawsuit). The distracting issues are collusion, price fixing, ownership of veterinary practices, monopoly, etc., etc..

    These lawsuits get hung up because of fallible assumptions. (Here we go again!) What’s the definition of a “reasonable consumer?” Followers aren’t reasonable, we’re skeptical. But reasonable might not even be informed. The lawyers’ major fault here, was a failure to focus on the inappropriate use of the WORD ….. “prescription” ….. (period) end of argument. The suit should’ve been about changing THAT word from “prescription” to “veterinarian formula” because in some cases, a controlled diet really can “address” a pet’s issue.

    The suit neglected to PROVE how a controlled diet ALWAYS FAILS to address a pet’s illness, so it should NOT warrant a distinction from any other PF. For example, a pet’s condition might require consuming a lower level of copper than the NRC recommended threshold. Certain designated veterinarian recommended PFs are formulated to do so. And so the PF is NOT like a general grocery store brand. The problem (which the suit should’ve EMPHASIZED) is the USE of the word “prescription” and not what the food may or may not do (depending on the case).

    A human is never given “prescription” food, ONLY a prescription DRUG! So that’s the proper argument. But the lawsuit argues, because the PF is called “prescription,” then a reasonable consumer automatically ASSUMES it has the same value as a prescribed drug. (Wrong). And what study PROVES the assumption in order to present the argument?

    For particular conditions, uniquely formulated PF (if below NRC recommendations) does need to be “restricted” however, which (right now) can only be done through a veterinarian’s “prescription.” However, all they would have to do, is change the word from “prescription” to “authorization.” This is where the confusion arises. The word “prescription” appears to be controlling the market. (Again, another assumption). BUT above average PF pricing in the open marketplace has NEVER been legally contested. For example, does anyone really know why Orijen is more expensive than 99% of all other brands? Because demand (name recognition, reputation) drives the price! People don’t contest it. So what else is new!

    But restricting access to a formula, as being the ONLY reason for higher pricing, has no relationship to whether or not a pet can benefit by addressing a specific condition. Any specialty food (anywhere) for human or pet, may affect it’s pricing. (Organic?) And this suit just became even more complicated, by accusing 4 manufacturer’s of “colluding” to escalate pricing, as being their PRIMARY goal of specialty formulas. Guilt (by association) is never a certainty in court.

    The two arguments (if they had been successfully isolated from all the other distractions) is (one) that “prescription” PF is not LEGALLY required to be sold by prescription (unlike drugs are for humans) though the product still needs to be restricted. And (two) that being called a “prescription” food does NOT mean it is (or contains) any actual drug (pharmaceutical component) the same as a MEDICATION!! Because medication is a substance evaluated by the FDA (which is not the case in PF). And veterinary formulas, while vets have access, as not published for the consumer, which demonstrate how they improve or change the conditions in pets. However, if those studies ARE being done consistently, may be a factor in higher pricing.

    I would hope the lawsuit is reconfigured for an appeal, giving more emphasis on what can be successfully argued. And agree to a modification in labeling (no more prescription, to veterinary formula) and control it by “restricted authorization” rather than “by prescription only.” Sometimes, it’s all about …. being reasonable.

    1. Well written! One point I don’t see in the lawsuit or the judgement is the concept of “prescription.” My non-legal common sense is that a prescription is required for dispensing a controlled substance that can be safe and efficacious in the proper dose but ineffective or harmful in used or dosed improperly. From that standpoint, an agency such as FDA must have demonstrated clinical trials that the “prescription” is both safe and efficacious. Hydrolyzed proteins are simply partially digested proteins (peptides) used for the control of either food allergies or food sensitivities related to IBD, IBS or other intestinal disorders and do not pose any danger to any animal in any dose, controlled or uncontrolled. There is no reason for them to require a prescription since their the same proteins in normal pet food, only partially digested and have a mechanism of action physiologically similar to people with lactose intolerance taking enzymatic lactase to aid in the digestion of milk products. With no adverse effects related to use or dose, there is no basis for hydrolyzed protein foods (or feeds) to be prescribed (as opposed to professionally recommended). The only basis I am aware of is to increase the profitability of the seller or manufacturer by pretending that these hydrolyzed protein diets must be veterinarian-managed.

      IMHO, I believe once we can destroy the false logic behind many “prescription” diets, the entire category will collapse.

      1. Pacific Sun

        Well I like your point much better! I hope the lawyers read it to reconfigure their lawsuit. PF is NOT a “controlled substance” harmful in itself, except by inappropriate use (or failure to follow instructions). Therefore it should be a “restricted” (authorized) product for sale, but not in the same class as a “drug.” So if we can figure out all of this, why can’t highly paid professionals? I think lawyers are always looking at the bottom line. As in how much they can ask in terms of damages, rather than fighting on principle.

        I do know (from experience) the hydrolyzed protein diet (Z/d) really does work, and so will continue to defend it. Am pretty sure (because of talking to Hills) they formulate and test these diets for specific conditions. Vets do have access to the research, and consultation services, so Vet Practices pay more for the Hills product line. I would want my Vet to “restrict” the use of Z/d, because it’s a temporary fix to allow the intestinal tract to recover. But not for maintenance. Too many owners want to keep a pet on a restricted diet forever. I do not think a Vet would have the same results (for tracking a pet’s condition) if they told a consumer to go out and find any old “hydrolyzed” protein diet however, even if I could. So paying more for the purpose and convenience of the food (temporarily) is reasonable.

  8. Deb

    I am disappointed to, this is senseless,pets are like babies to the owners, we want to give them what’s good for them,they can and will get sick,my dog can’t eat grain, she is allergic to it.fopd should be pure no matter what pet is eating it..

  9. Terri Christenson Janson

    Sigh……It’s so unfair. Continuing to homecook for my 6 dogs. It may not be a perfect diet but a LOT LOT safer than kibble.

  10. Marsha

    I am upset about this but had the idea this would happen. the best way we can stop this is by telling everyone we know that it is NOT Prescription Food! And do not use it. There are human foods that can help our family members better. I was just at the vet’s office this morning. I explained to her that one of my dogs’ had arthritis in his front legs. I told her that I was going to use regular human glucosamine for him as the “Other” for dogs was not helping at all. She agreed with me and said most pet parents do not know that you can use the human grade for your pet.

  11. Gerard G

    Being well informed is of utmost importance. The term Prescription Diet is actually a brand of terapeutic products from Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Royal Canin, Hill’s, and Purina have therapeutic diets. The consumer and many veterinary professionals refer to therapeutic diets as prescription diets while they should be calling them therapeutic diets unless they are specifically referring to the brand Prescription Diet.

    Second, there are journal-published and peer-reviewed veterinary studies that show the medical benefit in managing disease from therapeutic diets (cannot speak for all manufacturers but I have seen and read many of the Hill’s studies and very few from Purina). These are Grade I studies which are the best controlled studies you can do in research. These studies demonstrate the improvements in disease conditions when being managed by these diets and given it is a Grade I study, when nothing else changes.

    That might be why the lawsuit is going to be dismissed…

  12. Pacific Sun

    Glad you wrote the comment about Hills, which has applicable uses. They do journal-published and peer-reviewed veterinary studies. And provide consults with veterinarians, and show medical benefit in managing illness from specialized diets. People think Prescription PF means the product contains a drug (meant to eliminate the illness). Instead it is a “prescribed” (recommended) temporary diet while the pet recovers or is dealing with a chronic condition! One ingredient (like corn) shouldn’t damn every aspect of Hills. However feeding a life-long diet of only Science Diet (the OTC brand) is NOT the same as using Hills for specific conditions. A doctor recommends a bland diet of Jello, broth and rice for an upset stomach, but it isn’t supposed to be the only diet the patient ever eats! People drink Boost and Ensure to supplement a deficient diet, but a person isn’t meant to live on it, because it’s loaded with sugar!! The real problem is, in failing to use common sense!.

    The term “therapeutic” diet can be misleading, because the definition of therapeutic includes the word “drug.” Instead, any restricted PF product should be called a ~

    “Veterinarian Prescribed Formula.”

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