There is a reason why an update to what’s been going on at the AAFCO meeting hasn’t been posted before now (I’m back home). Cooler heads prevail. AAFCO President Robert Waltz booted me off (booted us off) the Pet Food Committee and the Ingredient Definitions Committee.
Back at the January 2012 AAFCO meeting, I was allowed to ‘sit at the table’ for the Ingredient Definitions Committee and the Pet Food Committee. Sitting ‘at the table’ meant an advisory position to the committee of AAFCO members. If you’re not ‘at the table’ you are in the audience. Back in January, great lengths were taken by several AAFCO members instructing me on how to behave at the table. Speak when spoken to. I guess AAFCO didn’t trust that my parents did indeed teach me proper manners. (But I have wondered if such AAFCO etiquette instruction has ever been provided another advisor.)
After day one in January, even before my seat at the table was warm, the Pet Food Institute (PFI – lobby organization for Big Pet Food) began to take action. I – we – were invading their territory. Before day two of meetings began in January, I was informed by AAFCO my position at the table would not be as an ‘advisor’. I would be considered a ‘Guest’. AAFCO told me “industry complained”.
The pretense of being demoted to ‘Guest’ status was that documentation had not been properly submitted to AAFCO on who I was and who I represented. This was completely understandable; AAFCO has rules. Rules are, as it was explained to me at the January meeting, those who sit at the table cannot represent any one business – only organizations such as the Pet Food Institute, the American Feed Industry Association, and the National Renderers Association are allowed a position as advisor to the AAFCO committee at the table. Or in my case, I was asked to provide AAFCO with explanation of who TruthaboutPetFood.com was and who I represent. Again, this was all understandable and I promptly provided Tim Darden of AAFCO with all of the information he/they asked for. There was no request for clarification ever received from Mr. Darden or any other member of AAFCO. I assumed they had the information they needed and I would no longer be a guest at the table – I would be an advisor at the August meeting.
Fast forward to Saturday August 4, 2012 when I arrived in Indianapolis for the meetings. When I checked into the hotel, there was a message for me from AAFCO President Robert Waltz. I immediately found Mr. Waltz and Mr. Darden in the hallway. Mr. Waltz wondered how my experience being on a AAFCO committee had been. As I shared in my post about Day 1 at AAFCO, I was honest with Mr. Waltz. I shared with him that I was not provided with opportunity to contribute to the committee. I was specifically told by AAFCO member Neil Lanning to “do nothing”. No issue with my position on the Pet Food Committee or the Ingredient Definition Committee was mentioned.
I also learned from Mr. Waltz (AAFCO President) that the material provided to all committee members in between meetings – this material was not provided to myself or to fellow advisor Dr. Jean Hofve. Seems they forgot to include us.
The next day, Sunday August 5, were the two significant pet food meetings that I was an advisor to. But…Sunday morning, my honesty didn’t set will with AAFCO (or perhaps those who control AAFCO). The very same response I gave AAFCO President Robert Waltz on my experience with being a committee advisor was shared on TruthaboutPetFood.com. Turns out, my honesty got me booted off the committees.
By Sunday afternoon I learned Robert Waltz wanted to talk to me and Dr. Hofve. At the end of meetings Sunday, Mr. Waltz pulled us aside in the meeting room. Mr. Waltz told Dr. Hofve her position representing Pet Parents Action Group would allow her to remain as an advisor at the table. And then the conversation turned to me.
Mr. Waltz stammered and hesitated for several minutes. He was clearly struggling to carefully select his words. I told him “just get to the point”.
He said “Susan, you will no longer be an advisor to the two committees. You are welcome, but you will remain in the audience.”
I responded “Ok, if that’s how you want to play this Robert, that’s fine. But I’ll tell you this, I’m angry. This is absurd. I get it now, this was all planned wasn’t it? This is why I was not provided with any information that committee members are supposed to receive. Fine, if this is how AAFCO wants to play, I get the message.”
At this point, Mr. Waltz turned his back to the few people remaining in the room (so no one could hear I would assume). He was visibly angry – quivering even. He told me “Susan, you stabbed me in the back with your post today.”
“Excuse me? Stabbed you in the back? What exactly did I write that stabbed you in the back?”
“Well…I didn’t read it.”
“What? Robert, you are clearly very angry. But seriously, you are angry over something that you didn’t even read? My post this morning was nothing more than what you and I talked about yesterday – and I even came to the defense of AAFCO (how dumb was that?). So I would guess that someone told you about my post? Who told you about my post? Who exactly? Wait…let me guess…PFI.”
Mr. Waltz told me several members of AAFCO told him about my post (though he stammered when he said that part – I didn’t believe it) and “Industry”.
I told him ‘fine, if that’s how AAFCO wants to be – fine by me’ and I walked away. I saw no need to continue a conversation – argument – with someone based on what others (Industry) told him. ‘They’ baited him into anger. ‘They’ controlled the situation to have me removed from the two significant pet food committees. This entire argument was based on what he was told – not what he read himself.
Dr. Hofve stayed to talk with Mr. Waltz for approximately twenty more minutes. When she met me in the bar (yes, I needed an adult beverage after this craziness), Dr. Hofve shared that Robert Waltz – AAFCO President – told her (but not me) that TruthaboutPetFood.com did not meet the requirements to have a position on a AAFCO Committee.
I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night. I knew what was going on, as I’m sure you see as well. I was being punished…bad Caped Crusader…you spoke (typed) about our little club here…bad, bad Caped Crusader.
This was punishment. An attempt to control me and in turn all of you.
With a bit of time and a cooler head, I realized just exactly who issued the reprimand. It wasn’t AAFCO. It was “Industry”; if I had to guess…I’d guess it was the PFI – the Pet Food Institute is threatened most by educated pet food consumers. An insider told me AAFCO didn’t plan this, “they aren’t that smart”. But I assure you, the Pet Food Institute, the American Feed Industry Association, and the National Renderers Association ARE.
The Pet Food Institute, the American Feed Industry Association, and the National Renderers Association each have several members that are advisors to each AAFCO Committee. These organizations are cunning and will stop at nothing to protect their interests.
Industry manipulation of AAFCO and FDA has gone on for so long, I don’t believe most of the regulators even realize it. I can only imagine how Robert Waltz was played by them…’What?…she wrote what?…I should be mad about it?…Ok…yeah, you’re right…she shouldn’t be on a committee…yeah…right…I will remove her from committee.’
The true obstacle health conscious pet owners face is the lobby organizations representing industry; but specifically the Pet Food Institute. Total control – that is what PFI and their members has had for years.
I’ve been at AAFCO meetings when a PFI representative or AFIA representative actually provided the response to a question posed to an AAFCO member. The AAFCO member didn’t know or didn’t understand how to answer – but since industry manipulated the entire thing, they were all too familiar with the answer to any question asked.
Don’t think for a moment the control industry has, is limited to law makers of pet food. The control mongers have also manipulated national veterinary organizations, national animal charities, and almost every veterinary school in the U.S. and Canada.
The good news is…I don’t care one bit that AAFCO’s Robert Waltz booted me to the audience. It makes no matter to me, I’ll be at the next meeting and the next and the next after that – sitting in the audience still asking questions and taking good notes and reporting on everything back to all of you.
And the good news is, they ALL will eventually HAVE to deal with us. There are 74 million pet owners in the U.S. alone, another 10 million in Canada. Do they really think they can continue to ignore us? Their control game has been successful in the past, but it is highly doubtful that old game will be effective much longer.
Since we know (thanks to Robert Waltz of AAFCO) that ‘Industry’ reads this website…here’s our message to you…
You are going to have to come to terms with us sooner or later. The longer you wait…the more damage you are doing to yourself. We are not going away, we are growing in numbers, and you will never beat us down.
Your motivation is money. Our motivation is 100 fold more powerful. Our motivation is our pets.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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