The time to register and pay for attending the annual Association of American Feed Control Official (AAFCO) meeting is upon us again. And once more, I must implore you to help.
Yet, every time I make one of these requests, I have to ask, what’s wrong with this picture?
Pet food industry sells billions of dollars worth of product, they spend millions on advertising, they spend millions settling lawsuits, they spend millions lobbying politicians in Washington, there are millions of pet owners in the U.S., and millions of pets are sickened by pet foodborne illness every year, and yet we have only three pet food safety advocates in the U.S. that go to AAFCO.
What’s worse is that two times a year, we have to beg for funds from consumers to send us to AAFCO. Why is that?
I’ll tell you what’s wrong.
We don’t make money from selling pet food. We don’t make money from peddling the very product that we’re fighting industry about. We don’t sell endorsements. We don’t sell ad space. We’re not affiliated with the industry we hope to change.
We don’t do that.
Two reasons: It’s unethical, and it’s a conflict of interest.
But other pet “bloggers” do. With rare exception, almost every single pet blogger on the Internet is somehow tied to the pet industry. And as long as they don’t cause anyone to think or feel too deeply about anything important, Big Pet Food will support them. They have affiliate links to pet retailers; they endorse brands, they get invited to speak at industry conferences. They play nice and don’t ruffle anyone’s feathers.
Where does that leave the independent consumer pet food safety advocate?
Begging for money from consumers. Twice a year, we choose to attend the AAFCO meetings – at our own expense – and it costs each of us around $2,000 (minimum) to attend each meeting.
Yet, I still don’t have the answer to why there are only three advocates for safe pet food in the U.S. who attend AAFCO. To me, that is astonishing. But, not only is it shocking that so few people are truly dedicated to this mission and who are willing to get deeply involved in regulatory affairs, but that we have to bow and scrape every time for funds to go to AAFCO.
People claim they love their pets, yet twice a year, we have to beg for money to go to these meetings. Thousands of people visit our websites every day, write us agonizing letters along with pictures of their dying pets, but when it comes to donating money…
The reason I was unable to attend the last meeting was that I did not receive enough donations to go. Let’s not let that happen again.
The next AAFCO meeting is right around the corner, and the deadline to register is July 1st. Please donate today!
2016 Joint Annual Meeting with AAFCO
Marriott City Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Monday, August 1st – Wednesday, August 3rd
Registration Information: Early registration deadline is July 1st.
Hotel Reservations: Deadline July 9th; Room Rate $130
Meeting Material:Draft Agenda
Committee Draft Agendas:Ingredient Definitions Committee and Pet Food Committee
UPDATE: I have no association with Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food, either personally of professionally, or the Association for Truth in Pet Food.