Today Susan Thixton and I issued a press release announcing the Black Friday for Pets campaign with a letter to the chairman and president of Wal-Mart Stores asking the company to voluntarily remove jerky pet treats manufactured in China from the shelves of all Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores.
In the letter we explain our reasons for demanding the immediate removal of the toxic pet treats imported from China and our plans to demonstrate at Wal-Mart stores nationwide on Black Friday should our demand not be met by Friday, November 23, 2012.
Following, is the letter sent to Mike Duke, President and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. today:
November 19, 2012
Mr. Mike Duke, President and Chief Executive Officer
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716-8611
Dear Mr. Duke:
We are writing to urge you to remove voluntarily from the shelves of all Wal-Mart and Sam’s stores pet treats that have been manufactured in China that seem to have strong links to the deaths of over 360 dogs and one cat and sickened another 2200 pets. We are asking you to take this step out of an abundance of caution since your corporation has taken similar actions in the past when there was a question about the safety of a food product.
As you know, since 2007, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating consumer complaints regarding illnesses and deaths of pet dogs that seem to be associated with the consumption of pet treats manufactured in the People’s Republic of China and imported into the U.S. While FDA has issued several cautionary statements to consumers against feeding their pets these treats, there have been no recalls of these products, and retailers, such as Wal-Mart, continue to carry these treats in their stores. The dissemination of the FDA safety statements to consumers has been sporadic and not widespread. Consequently, information about the problems associated with these products has been slow to reach consumers.
FDA continues to investigate the reasons for the deaths and illnesses associated with the consumption of these pet treats. Nevertheless, the agency has taken no action to stop the importation of these products even though all indications point to the problems emanating from China. While we believe the quickest way to resolve this matter is for FDA to issue an Import Alert against these products from entering U.S. commerce, the next best solution is for good corporate citizenship and for retailers to stop carrying these products voluntarily until there is a concrete cause for these illnesses found.
This is not the first time that China has been implicated in a pet food scandal. As you may recall, thousands of pet owners contacted the FDA in 2007 reporting that their pets either became ill or died after they ate pet food that was contaminated with melamine. Hundreds of pet food products were recalled because the wheat gluten imported from China with which the pet food was made was intentionally spiked with melamine in order to give a false reading of the level of protein in the ingredient.
In December 2011, Wal-Mart took a laudable action when, out of an abundance of caution, you voluntarily removed from your stores’ shelves infant formula that may have contributed to an infant’s death. While FDA never did find conclusive evidence that the infant’s death was tied to the infant formula, Wal-Mart took action regardless. We believe there is precedence for your taking action now with the pet food deaths.
Consequently, we are urging you to take action as a major retailer to do the right thing again – voluntarily remove these pet treats manufactured in China until the cause of the illnesses and deaths associated with them is determined. You can be an industry leader by taking the prudent course of action.
Should you have any questions regarding this letter, please feel free to contact Susan Thixton from Truth About Pet Food at (727) 726-5895 or Mollie Morrissette from Poisoned Pets at (707) 459-6083.
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Safety Harbor, FL
Pet Food Safety Advocate