The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) 2015 Midyear Meeting is fast approaching and this year it will be taking place from January 13th – 15th in San Antonio, Texas. I will be attending the meeting because I sit on two AAFCO committees: The Pet Food Committee and the Ingredient Definitions Committee. It is a rare opportunity for a consumer advocate, an honor I share with only two other people: Consumer pet food safety advocates Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food and veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve of Little Big Cat.
Incredibly, there are only three pet food consumer safety advocates in the U.S. that attend AAFCO meetings: Myself, Susan Thixton and Dr. Jean Hofve. As you can probably imagine we are not the most popular people there, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It isn’t easy being a consumer advocate and scraping together financing to attend AAFCO meetings is always challenging, because as consumer advocates we are not financed by the pet food industry and must rely entirely on consumer support to meet the expenses of attending these meetings.
How costly is to attend the AAFCO meeting?
Meeting registration: Non-Member price before 12/12/14 is $450 — Price after 12/12/14 is $500 (Early registration deadline to register for the Midyear Meeting is this coming Friday December 12th)
Hotel accommodations: Room rate $115 for 4 nights is $460 (To be guaranteed a room in the group block for the AAFCO Midyear Meeting, I must meet the reservation deadline on Wednesday December 10th)
The 2015 AAFCO Official Publication: Non-Member price: $100
Travel: A non-stop round trip flight from San Francisco to San Antonio Texas: $479
TOTAL (not including meals, airport shuttles or parking): $1604.00 (after the deadline: $1654)
The meetings are important industry events attended by literally hundreds of pet food and animal feed companies, government officials from the Food and Drug Administration’s Centers for Veterinary Medicine and Feed Control Officers from nearly every state in the U.S. The meetings are always firmly packed – wall to wall – with the biggest players in the pet food and animal feed industries, yet there are only three consumer advocates. Therefore, it is vital that we maintain an active presence there, however small.
The deadline is fast approaching and donations are badly needed. With your support, you help further our work by maintaining our presence as consumer representatives at AAFCO.