The FDA has released a report on the conditions within the Diamond Pet Foods factory that produces 14 popular brands of kibble for dogs and cats, including some of the most expensive on the market.
Unsanitary conditions. Unhygienic practices. Dirty equipment. The report goes on and on. But in a word? Fail!
Every item observed in the FDA report smacks of callous disregard. Why care? It's only pet food.
Given what goes on in farms and meat processing facilities for human food, I can't say I'm surprised. Our food system as a whole fails in terms of quality, nutritional value, safety and authentic connection with the general public.
The only way to change it is to be willing to change ourselves. The FDA won't do it. They are a government entity charged with food safety but without the resources - money and manpower - to enforce it.
Only the consumer-public has the power to change this.
Our dogs and cats are members of the family, not inferior creatures. The pet food industry knows this and has played to this in advertising that promises the best and manufacturing that deliberately under-delivers.
Stop buying the messages. Stop buying the products that let us down. It is inconvenient to change our buying habits. It is time-consuming to learn new ways of feeding our pets (and ourselves.) And it's uncomfortable to assume the full weight of responsibility for their health (and ours.)
But it is increasingly evident that we have misplaced our trust. Not all doctors have our best interest at heart. Not all medicine protects life. A product made of unhealthy ingredients in unsanitary conditions cannot make up a healthy diet.
We need to look in the mirror. Then we need to use our brains.
Our pets are worthy of better food products and better medicine. And so are we. We have more choices. There are better ways.
Changing minds, changing habits, choosing health and sticking with a new program is hard work. It's so worth it.
Once past the discomfort and uncertainty of "learning curve," we can have total confidence that our beloved companion animals will not be affected the next time a pet food manufacturer gets called out for callous disregard.
And if we cannot put these manufacturers completely out of business, we can at least put them on notice that they better step up their game.
Neither our pets nor we are willing to be victims any more.