Edie Lau of VIN News provided a breakdown of the money disbursement from the 2007 pet food recall. A little over $12 million went to pet owners, $8 million went to attorneys, and $3.6 million went to claims administration and to pay for public notices. That was the official breakdown, but my question is what did this horrible recall really cost?
According to the Vin News article, more than $569 million were received in claims. Why so high (when only $12 million went towards reimbursing pet parents)? Because one claimant spoke the truth. He/she submitted a claim for more than $500 million; what they felt was the value of their pet killed by toxic pet food.
How many times have we said (about our pets) ‘I wouldn’t take a million dollars for them?’ If this lawsuit would have included damages for wrongful death (as in cases of human loss due to contaminated food), and conservatively say $1 million for each pet included in the suit, this recall would have cost $13,242,000,000.00 for wrongful death alone.
Emotional damages. Many, if not all, pet owners that have experienced an illness or death of a beloved pet because of a tainted (poisoned, contaminated) pet food or treat become scarred, fearful. I’m one of them. This experience changes you – forever. The guilt never leaves. Knowing that you (I) purchased this food that was supposed to be healthy and good for my pet, and you (I) poured that food into their bowl; then your pet dies or becomes so ill thousands of dollars in treatment doesn’t bring them back. Never again do you feel relaxed at what your pet eats; never.
If each claimant would have (should have) received $1 million for emotional damages (post recall stress disorder), twenty two thousand pet owners (pets that died and pets that became ill) another $22,243,000,000.00 could be added to this lawsuit.
For wrongful death and emotional damages just for this one pet food recall – over $35 billion dollars.
Some estimates are as many as 350,000 pets in the US and Canada became ill or died due to the 2007 recall. Needless to say, many heartbroken pet owners did not join in this pet food settlement. But, if more did…if only half of the estimated number would receive $1,000 for reimbursement of medical expenses (very conservative), $1 million for emotional damages, and $1 million for wrongful death…
$1,750,000,000,000.00 (that’s trillion).
But, as we all know, in the 2007 recall or any other pet food recall, no wrongful death damages were considered; no emotional damages were considered.
Those responsible –
ChemNutra (importers of the deadly vegetable proteins) were fined $25,000 and given probation; the owners of ChemNutra are still in the import business.
Menu Foods settled paying merely $24 million in damages (yet only $12 million went to pet owners); Menu Foods bragged on profits in 2009 (just two years later).
Science Diet, Purina, Iams, Walmart and the hundreds of other pet food brands/manufacturers that were involved, all remain in the pet food business reporting significant profits.
The FDA or AAFCO has not changed one regulation to prevent this from happening again (oh they did establish an online reporting system – as required by Congress – but that was two years late and they have not done the rest of what Congress required to be completed within a year).
Not one I’m sorry. Not one million dollar donation (from profits) to a pet charity in memory of the pets that were sickened or killed.