Saturday, March 24, 2007
Not just a petfood scandal
Rat poison in wheat from China! This turns out to be behind the renal failure death of dogs throughout America.
How the wheat became contaminated is anyone's guess. A rat plague in the wheat storage facilities? Misuse of agricultural chemicals?
China has quite a history of the latter. It remains a very disturbing problem as Dune Lawrence points out in Bloomberg.
"Pesticide poisoning affects half a million Chinese a year, causing more than 500 fatalities"
For a long time Western bio-tech companies were dumping into the Third World markets products no longer saleable in their own arenas. This, notoriously, resulted in some serious pollution of food sources, especially in China, where farmers were making almost random chemical mixtures because they were unable to read the labels on the products. There was a time that Hong Kong put a ban on fresh foods from mainland China because of the toxic levels of pesticides etc.
My suspicion, therefore, is that we have here a tale of greed from two directions. Firstly, there are the agri-chem corporations which sacrifice ethics for profit in dumping discredited product on hapless poor countries. Secondly, we have the petfood people buying the cheapest ingredients to keep their shareholders' pockets lined. And, in a class of their own, there are the pet-owners who choose expediency as a way of nourishing their animals. Theirs is the crime of laziness.
It astonishes me that people who purport to love animals don't think about giving them more pleasure and better nutrition in their meals. Food is not only necessary, it is one of the fundamental sensual experiences of life. And yet, people who are prepared often to pay thousands for a pedigree animal will blithely fill its bowl with tinned or pellet food.
It truly is not hard to cook for the dog. We cook in three-day batches - ground chicken stewed with carrots, chard and parsley, bulked with pasta or rice and sprinkled with vitamins (plus, for our elderly doberman, Glucosomine). There are variations on this theme, of course. The dog loves the whole ritual of his food preparation, as he loves his food. He drools for handouts of carrot as the chopping goes on - his favourite treat, apart from blueberries. Cooking the petfood is as economic as it is wholesome - and it has provided a dividend of eliminating dog farts capable of asphyxiating a small nation.