Sunday, March 25, 2007

Not The Canned Food, Gramps!

As everyone pretty much knows by now, a huge number of pet food brands – all produced by the same manufacturer – have been found to be contaminated with rat poison. Animals have died as a result, mostly beloved family pets: cats and dogs.

Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat knows how sad this kind of situation can be. The critters become a part of our lives and our hearts, and those hearts break just a bit when age or accident takes the pet from us.

There is still a lot of this story yet to be told. News of this outbreak has popped up within the past ten days or so, but now veterinarians and other researchers are investigating cases of animal sickness – particularly kidney failure – in their files that occurred before this contamination became known.

I’m sure, as well, that a lot of people have been puzzled to learn that their favorite “premium” pet food, purchased at a definite premium price, has been made in the same batches as discount store brands. Eukanuba and IAMS are in bed here with Wal-Mart and I’m sure no one is terribly comfortable that this is all in the news.

But there is a bigger story in all this that needs to be approached with some delicacy, since it concerns our senior citizens; that is, our senior citizens who are on fixed, usually very tight, incomes; that is, our senior citizens whose food budgets sometimes require a foray down into the pet food aisle even if, back home, there is no pet.

You know, this does happen. We don’t like to admit it. We don’t like to think that all those years of prime ribs and prime steaks have had to give way to cans of prime pork tongue but it does happen, and, for the most part, neither the health nor nutritional needs of such senior diners suffers.

Still, if our pets are being sickened, why is it that we are hearing nothing about similar illnesses tearing away at gramps and gram? No, I’m not alleging some dark conspiracy here, and I’m sure that our rapidly fading flu season has disguised more than a few senior complaints in the doctor’s office.

But many of our old folks do have a sense of quality and if, regretfully, they feel that their diets have to be supplemented with a carnivore’s protein, they’re going to go after the good stuff – and they’re going to get sick from rat poison.

You heard it here first, people. But I have the feeling this won't be the last time you hear about it.

G. K. Wuori C. 2007


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