Greetings, Dogington Post Readers. When The Dogington Post invited me to contribute some thoughts and my research on the latest flare up of pet illnesses linked to Chinese Pet Jerky, I was honored to have the chance to speak directly to this vibrant community of forward thinking animal lovers. Thanks for lending me your ears and your brain for a few minutes, and here’s wishing the best of health and happiness to all of you and your dogs as we celebrate Halloween. Keep those chocolates and other sweets locked away safely, and find some low carb, high meat snacks for your dog’s treats on this fun family holiday.
We would love having you also join our growing community of people and pets at Clear Conscience Pet by liking our facebook page or visiting our website. As a special Halloween week treat, we are offering Dogington Post readers a deal that is NOT a trick: Check out our award winning products Use my personal code FOUNDER at checkout and get 20% off anything from our site. One discount per family, please.
JerkyWeen MMXIII: The SCARIEST Thing You Need to Know About the Chinese Pet Jerky Mystery
Last week, when the “new” FDA bulletin (with absolutely NO new information) on Chinese Pet Jerky was released, at first I smiled in that head shaking way that we sometimes do when something is so disturbingly absurd that we can’t help being amused. There is nothing inherently funny about this situation, and my heart goes out to everyone who has suffered losses or seen a pet get sick, whether from these treats or for any reason.
My cynical chuckle was a reflection on the fact that besides yapping about this to anyone who would listen or even pretend to listen, I’d also written a detailed Press Release about this over a year ago, and followed it with a White Paper raising even more specific questions in April of 2013. I’m neither naïve nor delusional enough to think that just because I write something and throw it out there against a bunch of walls, it is going to make a big difference in this crazy world. But it’s still frustrating to know that with me and so many bigger, better, and certainly more powerful people singing versions of this same song, we still have an estimated 6 million pounds of Chinese Jerky treats coming our way from China each month.
So I got angry, all over again, as I did when this genie first left the bottle in our industry seven years ago. That was the “recall to end all recalls,” in which massive amounts of canned pet food were recalled stemming from the use melamine, a toxic protein additives, from, of course… China. Where else? My current anger stems in part from the sheer repetitiveness of it all, like those Halloween films that came out year after year with the same plot and horrible clichés, again and again. In our film, “JerkyWeen MMXIII,” (that’s 2013 for those who don’t do Roman) every dark corner or empty room brings dog and cat guardians new recalls, new health scares, and new rumors naming brands that become the villains. But lurking behind every scene is the biggest, baddest, most evil monster of all, a two-headed evil presence that gulps up every innocent in its path.
This monstrous and seemingly invincible duality of evil is NOT what you might think. It’s NOT a nation of almost 1.4 billion people ruled by a totalitarian regime, driven by a voracious appetite for control of the world economy, and possessed with a rapacious disregard for the damage it does to the health of its own people, to the environment, and to the rest of the world. (Don’t get me wrong; you’d be INSANE not to find that as scary as HELL too!)
No, my fellow dog lovers. The REAL monster, the TRUE demon, the “Bub in the Beezle,” is the two-headed juggernaut of IGNORANCE and GREED. Greed that seduces, greed that corrupts, IGNORANCE that makes us lazy thinkers because we become accustomed to slurping up the gruel that is served up in the guise of information by mega business, the media, and the government.
Greed is WHY we have gotten tangled in this web in the first place. It’s the REAL smoking gun here, and everything else is just the ammunition that the “Greed Gun” fires. There’s plenty of blame to go around. If American and other “first world” marketers and brand owners weren’t seduced by the dazzling profits one can make by sourcing pet food ingredients and finished treats from China, India, and other countries without practical or enforced food safety standards, we would never have seen or heard of any of this. If CONSUMERS were educated honestly about the cost of making high quality meat based pet treats from fresh, unadulterated ingredients, they would NEVER believe that a one pound bag of “pure” chicken jerky can sell for $10 at a big box store. That store bought the bag for about $6 from a broker or distributor. That Broker or distributor bought it for about $4. And the importer had to land that bag on the docks of the USA for around $3.
But wait: didn’t this stuff need to travel for 6 weeks minimum on a container ship? Didn’t the bag and label cost at least a few pennies? So, now we are talking about buying a pound of dried “pure chicken breast strips” that has a fundamental cost basis in the $2 a pound range. And here’s some sobering additional math: It takes about 4 pounds of chicken to cook down into one pound
before being turned into this one pound of dried “jerky.” Now you need to start with .50 a lb. chicken to maintain these prices. Add electrical or gas cooking energy, and labor. So where does that leave us? With 25 cent per pound chicken breast. How does that sound now? Do you want to feed it to your dog or cat? No but….darn it, it is SUCH A DEAL!
The products that my company. Clear Conscience Pet, manufactures with our partners, don’t cost 30 cents a pound for ANY key ingredient. Our Sliders® brand tender chicken or beef treats start with USDA inspected human grade meats. We don’t pump them up with ANY fillers or questionable preservatives like the average 20% glycerin in soft/moist treats. Our average cost of core meat ingredients alone is 8 to 10 times higher than in our mythical but fact based example. And we aren’t alone. I know lots of other quality focused small manufacturers in the same boat.
So at the end of our artisan craft level preparation, working with the narrowest margins we can bear to keep the retail price from going through the roof so we can stay competitive, we have this exceptionally clean, pure, and nutritious product sitting in our eager hands ready to sell. THAT’s when, too often, we hear this: “why is your product so expeeeeennnnnnsive?”
So that’s my SCARY tale for this Halloween. Don’t get me wrong; despite these challenges, and the frustration that occasionally comes with the territory for an independent family-owned businesses in the wildly competitive pet nutrition industry, we have a vibrant and growing business. Like Tom Petty says, We WON’T BACK DOWN when it comes to quality, safety, and the innovative nutritional functionality of anything we make. But we can use as many new friends as we can get to help keep the fires burning, and it would be wonderful to educate your friends about why paying a bit more for pet treats made from REAL food, in the USA, is the best investment you can make for the health and well-being of the four legged members of your family.
To read the “official” Clear Conscience Pet statement on the latest bulletins, released to the press on 10/30/13, including speculative yet thought provoking theories suggesting new avenues of investigation, open this link: PRWeb: In the Wake of the Chinese Pet Jerky Investigation, Pet Nutrition Expert Encourages Pet Owners to Make More Educated Decisions to Keeps Pets Safe
by Anthony Bennie, Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer
Clear Conscience Pet®
Released October 31, 2013
© Copyright 2013 Anthony Bennie