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Scott C

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  • in reply to: Orijen Kentucky #44064 Report Abuse
    Scott C

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I admit that my post was borne of frustration, yet I stand by what I said.

    It is a matter of record that American food (specifically, American manufactured or processed for) is increasingly less-safe. US Companies contaminated 15% more nations’ food supplies with human food that subsequently had to be recalled in Q4 of 2013 than ever before (ExpertSource), involving 860,000 pounds of food (compared to half that, one quarter earlier, the previous worst statistic on record). In 2010, 500 million (not a typo) American eggs were recalled, due to Salmonella poisoning (USDA) and 1906 US-manufactured food product recalls—all due to contamination of one kind or another—occurred between 2011 and 2012.

    Selecting only one American company, Tyson Foods pled guilty to 20 felony counts of violating the Clean Water Act (2003), admitted to have continued contaminating the water supply for four years after federal search warrants were executed against them in 1999. In 2013, Tyson was cited four times by the US Department of Labor for OSHA workplace safety violations in which a human dismemberment occurred and may have entered the active production chain. In 2005, an undercover agent video-documented that Tyson was knowingly allowing chickens to be scalded alive in its plants, and dead animals tossed through the air “for fun” by employees. In 2008, federal courts found Tyson guilty of two counts of knowingly and intentionally using fraudulent labeling to claim that their products were anti-biotic free for over two years.

    Now, an argument could be proffered that these are violations, so regulations are in place and adequate. The fact remains that American law is written to favor corporations who do the violating, as the duration of these ongoing transgressions suggests. (Tyson’s quarterly profits more than doubled in the second quarter, to $213 million US, and while prices have increased, cost savings were a significant factor. Having demonstrated that it saves costs by doing things like illegally contaminating the ground water, Tyson is not to be trusted with our health. Not Ever.)

    So, one of my primary points is that I don’t trust American regulations in the way I trust Canadian regulations, specifically because Canadian law is so much more invasive to corporate operation than is American law. And one presumes that it is this, not the goodness of their hearts, which drives Champion’s move to open a plant in this country. It will be far easier for Champion to provide a much lower-quality product at much lower costs with much lower risk of being caught for having done so here in the United States than ever in Canada. It will also be far harder to detect a drop in ingredient quality until it is too late. American law and regulation cannot even guarantee safe food for our children; how could we ever have the hubris to assume it will protect our pets?

    It may be, of course, I readily acknowledge, false to say that whatever Champion produces in Kentucky will be a priori garbage. My fear may be completely unfounded. It is only a fear of the future, after all.

    I merely state that it will not be *my* pets who die when this turns out to not be the case. You may, of course, put your own pets at whatever level of risk you deem acceptable. For ourselves, we searched for months for a food we could trust as the result of laboratory tests and an environment of government regulation and we thought we had found Champion. In moving to Kentucky, Champion abandons virtually everything that made it our choice. They leave behind Canadian (often, wild) game ingredients, raised on healthy diets, near or in uncontaminated waters, processed humanely through systems exceeding Canadian government standards for human food, in facilities carefully and strictly monitored by a government which properly _shuts_down_ companies that seriously violate public health (rather than fining them a mere 3% of their quarterly profits, or, if you prefer, 0.0203% of their annual revenue). This is akin to setting the penalty for robbing a bank at something like $50 and pretending it’s a deterrent.

    If you feel I’m being overly dramatic by using a criminal metaphor, read the above, again: They _pled_guilty_ to 20 _felony_ counts of violating public safety by contaminating lakes, rivers, and groundwater. Their penalty was $7 million. You can do the math.

    For three reasons, I’m saddened that you have chosen to introduce the proposition of quantifying agreement or disagreement with my view.

    First, thousands of you disagreeing with me will not shield your pets from toxic food, should my worst fears be realized.

    Second, thousands of you disagreeing with me in a public forum monitored by Champion will simply reinforce the perception of the US being a trusting, safe environment for business, and encourage the worst from them, should my worst fears be realized.

    Third, thousands of you disagreeing with me will serve no purpose other than to end the discussion. “Let’s vote on it,” has long been teamspeak for “I’m tired of this topic, let’s pretend we have an answer and move on.” Yet will your disagreement with my perspective keep my dogs safe? Will Amy’s reticence to think ill of Champion until the damage is done prevent that damage from occurring?

    Here is the bottom-line:

    The American Veterinary Medical Association has recorded over 914 pet food recalls from American companies in the last two years. NBC News has reported over 1000 dogs dead and over 4800 animals sick in the past six months from jerky treats alone. In 2002, the peer-reviewed American Journal of Veterinary Research found that the FDA was wrong in its earlier finding that pentobarbital residues in dog and cat food were from euthanized cattle, re-opening the serious allegation that the pentobarbital in American dog and cat food was, in fact, from… rendered (euthanized) dogs and cats. The semi-sacred Royal Canin brand is facing a class action suit over toxic levels of vitamin D in its products. American laws–the lack of them–allowed the FDA to find in 2005 that Diamond Pet Foods was releasing food containing up to 1,851 parts per billion of the deadly mycotoxin, aflatoxin. Acceptable levels are twenty (20) parts per billion. Over 100 dogs died because proper testing costs money and isn’t required.

    Trusting these profit-makers to care for your animals is no longer reasonable. Trusting American regulations to protect your animals is no longer rational. Champion may be a good company today, or it may be that Canadian regulation keeps them honest. Without knowing which is true, I must see the move to American as a large step down a slippery slope. My intuition tells me this is the narrow end of the wedge.

    We will buy Orijen until it is no longer made in Canada, and then I will stop buying it.

    Fundamentally, I believe we should all actively question and challenge—and not merely trust until someone’s beloved pet lies dead. After all, that’s why this website exists in the first place.

    Respectfully yours.

    in reply to: Orijen Kentucky #44029 Report Abuse
    Scott C

    For those of us who are stuck living in this corporate-owned United States of America and whose dogs love and have thrived on Orijen products, this is nothing short of a disaster.

    Champion may choose to “wheel out” the fact that they are a small private company whenever it suits their purposes

    (for example, to decline answering questions in an FAQ which they created, themselves… such an odd thing, to identify a question only to answer it by saying, “we’re a private company and won’t answer that question”)

    but they are certainly behaving like a corrupt corporate giant.

    The reality of Champion shifting its USA market products to production in financially destitute Kentucky, enjoying a tax credit in a state where they can pay “market competitive” wages to financially destitute employees, purchasing land from financially destitute owners, and sourcing ingredients at “competitive” prices from financially destitute farmers means that all of their high-sounding rationale boils down to “we can’t make enough food in Canada because we’ve grown too popular, and it will cost too much to employ Canadians, build Canadian factories, and purchase safe Canadian ingredients, so we’re cheating out on all of you loyal customers south of the border.”

    Of the questions they do answer, the majority of answers in Champion’s FAQ about sourcing ingredients are vague “weasel-speak” and the entire concept fills me with dread.

    American food ingredients may not–depending on whom you ask–(yet) contain actual toxins, like some Chinese (et al.) products do. However, the American diet is one of the worst on the planet among First- (or Second-, depending on whom you ask) World countries. That wretched level of nutrition is nevertheless largely in keeping with the quality and inspection standards and recommendations that multi-billion dollar agribusiness has purchased from the United States government. Would anyone who can afford to do otherwise ever buy Tyson chicken again, or trust Kellogg to provide a healthy balanced breakfast, or eat Wonder Bread? Clearly, not.

    Does this mean that all American foodstuffs are corrupted? Clearly not (yet), but as the cliche’ goes, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

    Indeed, there are strong, and likely successful, movements in our Congress to specifically deny the American people information about where the ingredients in their food are sourced, because such information is “bad for bid’ness.” If passed, these laws would allow corporations to respond to inquiries with something like, “Our food products are made to meet or exceed government standards and we are not required to release information regarding ingredient sourcing to the public.”

    Why, then, would those who are blessed with the option of spending $100/month per dog on dog food (which is roughly what Orijen Regional Red costs) EVER consider it acceptable to trust our beloved pets to foods (like Purina, or Science Diet, or what have you) made with unreliable US (or, soon, “worldwide”) ingredients, meeting untrustworthy US guidelines for healthy nutrition, in factories held to unreliable US standards of sanitation?

    I have sent a letter to Champion explicitly asking whether the reality of this change is that their Canadian products will only be available in Canada, Europe, and Asia, as their FAQ suggests. I will share whatever reply I receive.

    Certainly, for us, if “Made in Canada” becomes “Made in USA” we will stop purchasing Champion’s products immediately.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #42443 Report Abuse
    Scott C

    Like Jayne V, above, I would be interested to know the specific rationale for not including the Orijen puppy food on the list. We have had our huge Samoyed on Orijen for the last three years (we rescued him when he was one) so have no personal experience with the Orijen puppy product, but have nothing but glowing praise for the Adult Dry. My mother-in-law will be getting a 6-month German shepherd puppy soon, however, and we hesitate to recommend Orijen puppy based on its absence from the list here.

    Would sincerely appreciate any additional thoughts that can be shared on this point.

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