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It has been 2 years since a class action was filed that alleges Earth Animal’s No Hide contain rawhide; the case is still pending.

Recap: On July 27,2017 Susan Thixton raised the question ” Is No-Hide Dog Treat Actually Hide?” on Truth About Pet Food. Also in 2017, the FDA apparently tried to answer the same question, but it appears they could not. Results on sample number 1020257, “4 inch Earth Animal No-Hide Chicken Chews” “were “inconclusive as to whether or not product contains rawhide.”.

In 2018, The Dept of Ag., Penn. investigated. They interpreted the test they had done at Penn State as “inconclusive.” They asked Dr Brooks “to determine whether or not animal hide (skin and related structures) is present.” Dr Brooks was not even able to identify a labeled rawhide as skin saying, “they are no longer identifiable by this method.” I think one reason the rawhide sample could not be identified as skin is because the structures needed to identify skin, like hair and oil glands, are in the layer of the skin that is removed at the tannery. Interestingly though, Dr. Brooks starts his report with “All slides….” indicating that both the rawhide samples and the No Hide samples appeared similar enough to each other that he did not find it necessary to describe them separately. This I feel was a very important finding because a chew made from skin, I would think, should look very different from one made with plants.

“Microscopic examination of dog chews.” was published on June 20, 2020. Susan Thixton made a post about the study. From the abstract “Two products labeled as rawhide free appeared similar to the dermis [ a skin layer].” In the comment section, Earth Animal appears to claim that one of those two products was No Hide. They also report in reference to one of the authors ” She has already been served a Cease-and-Desist Letter by Earth Animal threatening to institute legal proceedings. ” Apparently, in a Sept.26, 2018, e-mail there was mention of a plan to test and submit for publication a study looking at various types of dog chews. That e-mail apparently reached Earth Animal, and the author of the email received a letter dated Oct. 5th, 2018, to “serve as a notice of potential litigation” making it look to me that Earth Animal did not want the researcher to investigate dog chews.

The lawsuit was filed Oct 12, 2020. A quote from the lawsuit reads, “A recent study was published….. According to Defendants, one of their products, a No-Hide chew, was included in the study and was found to contain rawhide….”. In my opinion, that study triggered the filing of the class action because :1. The apparent statement made by Earth Animal . 2.The study is a reference for how chews labeled rawhide and rawhide-free look under a microscope. Broadly speaking, in the study, the chews tested that had a starch ingredient like flour in them, had a blue background, while labeled rawhide samples stained red (H & E stain). Penn State lab reported Earth Animal No Hide stained red with H & E stain.

On Dec.23,2020 Earth Animal reported. “Ms. Beveridge has agreed to put the lawsuit on hold for 4 months, to give the parties the opportunity to develop a mutually-agreeable protocol which will appoint one or more credentialed experts to conduct a site visit.” To the best of my knowledge a site visit did not occur during the 4-month period, and to the best of my knowledge the lawsuit resumed. I have not found any other formal updates issued by Earth Animal.

Two years after filing, the case is reported as pending. My understanding is that judges can dismiss cases for lack of merit. Initially, Judge Janet Bond Arterton was reported as judge and now Judge Omar A Williams is listed. It appears to me that 2 different judges have overseen this case and neither has dismissed it.

It may be years before the legal case is resolved, but until then pet parents can decide for themselves what this product is made from. Reading all the original test results, documents, and e-mails on Truth about Pet Food.is a good place to start if you desire more information about this product. Also, you can test the product yourself. Iodine changes color if starch is present. The No Hide chew roll’s main ingredient appears to be rice flour, a starch containing ingredient. Open a No Hide treat. Put iodine on an inner piece that is free of any of the flavor coating. Also put iodine on the flavor coating, then compare your results.