Walmart, Target say no to removing toxic jerky pet treats

little-britain-carol beer-grumpy rude receptionist at sunsearchers

A request urging Walmart and Target to remove chicken jerky pet treats imported from China from the market “out of an abundance of caution” was met with a big fat ‘No’ today.

Retailers have been asked to respond to consumer demand for the withdrawal of the pet treats much in the same way retailers responded with the recent removal of  “pink slime” from the market, despite the lack of a recall requiring them to do so.

The denials of Walmart and Target were not terribly surprising, considering retailers liability in matters related to pets is also big fat zilch, economically speaking. 

The cold, hard truth is that when retailers weigh the economic risks associated with allowing the treats to remain on stores shelves, with their liability, they come out smelling like a rose. Their legal teams know that when it comes to pet products – no matter how many pets are injured or killed – the financial benefits of keeping the offending product on the market outweigh any economic loss they might incur as a result of a lawsuit.David Williams as Carol Beer of Sunsearchers on Little Britain

Currently, in the US, the most a pet parent can ever be awarded for the injury or death of their pet is the value paid for that pet. Not the sentimental or intrinsic value, but just like a used couch, used pets aren’t worth squat in America’s legal system.

Equating something we become emotionally involved with to a toaster is an insult to people who view their pets as members of the family.

Aside from a landmark case won in Texas,  which is heading to the Texas Supreme Court, pet parents cannot sue for the sentimental or intrinsic value of a pet.

That could change if the case in Texas holds up; other states could adopt similar laws. But it won’t if the Texas Veterinary Medical Association and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), along with several pet-related industry associations (American Kennel Club, The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Animal Health Institute, American Pet Products Association, and Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council), have anything to do with it. They filed a brief in January with the 2nd Court requesting the court reconsider its decision.carol beer little britain sunsearchers travel agent

Ironically, it is the AVMA that has the biggest beef with the case in Texas.

Why? One guess. The AVMA is petrified that should the law stand, vets, at least in Texas, would be held legally responsible for compensatory damages awarded based on the intrinsic or sentimental value of a pet – just as physicians are for their human patients.

And that, could unleash a sh*t storm unlike the veterinary community has ever seen. That is why the AVMA is concerned. And not for the cynical reasons that are popping into your suspicious mind right now.

Imagine, you are James Herriot, veterinarian loved the world over. Struggling to make ends meet in his small rural practice, devoted to his patients, and committed to spending his life helping animals and by extension, the people who love and care for them.

New law passes, in comes the insurance guys, and you’d better sit down James cause you’re in for a whopper.Carol Beer with complaint form on Little Britain

James will have to carry a whole new level of malpractice insurance, perhaps the same level as physicians to humans do. Trouble is, James doesn’t make the big bucks like docs for humans do. Hell, he’s lucky if his clients can pay him half the time. Not to mention he can’t start charging the same rates as the other kind of docs.  James just can’t, even a vet as popular and well-loved as he is.

So, where does that leave poor James? Sh*t out of luck, that’s what. Not to mention his clients that will have to absorb some of that cost. Well, you can just see where that could go – down a very dark road where animals are left uncared for and worse, where they are neglected, abandoned or euthanized for economic reasons.

It’s a toughy; you simply can’t make sweeping assumptions like all vets are crooks who want to practice medicine willy-nilly, not liable for their boo boos. Or that all clients are sue-happy crack-pots looking for a free ride.  Or those insurance companies don’t give a rat’s…ummm…maybe I’ll just step out of that one.

All kidding aside, perhaps the best we could hope for is that malpractice insurance could be adjusted based on a veterinarian’s individual practice and income, I don’t know. Grumpy rude receptionist Carol Beer of Sunsearchers on Little Britain

Perhaps, we could trust that the justice system would weed out the frivolous lawsuits and that justice would be meted out to only those truly deserving cases.

I realize that I am treading in water that is way over my head. I probably have no place even suggesting I have an accurate picture of the complexities involved. I don’t.

What I am certain of, as with any profession, any business, client, patient or indeed with any facet of life – there are no absolutes. Having said that, would I like to see pet food and pet product manufacturers held to the same laws as human food and product manufacturers? Of course.

If the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) were enforced as it written for food for humans and animals equally, great. But it isn’t. Not even close.

So, here’s my beef – fix that and I won’t have to beg for the same safety and quality that human products enjoy, as the Federal law says animals are entitled to. Do that, and I won’t have to harangue pet food and animal feed manufacturers, retailers and the FDA.

Just give pets and animals the same protection as it is written in Federal law; close the loop-holes that allow pet food and animal feed manufacturers to drive Mac trucks full of garbage though – and I will quit. Tomorrow.

That would be awesome. Because, I could really use a vacation. As Bill Marler says, “put me out of business, please”.

Meanwhile, Walmart and Target, thanks for nuttin.


My letter to Walmart and Target (Poisoned Pets)
Randy wins big animal law case
(Turner & McKenzie)
Texas court says pet dog has sentimental value
Medlen v. Strickland: Recovery on the Sentimental Value of a Pet
(Defense Research Institute)

Secret FDA document reveals test results of chicken jerky treats (
U.S. Senator Brown Presses the FDA Over Inadequate Response to Tainted Chicken Jerky Inquiry (
With over 400 new reports of tainted treats, Senator Brown urges the FDA to speed it up…again (
More dogs die as poisonous jerky treats remain on store shelves (
Congressional Leaders Demand FDA Action to Protect Dogs from Poisonous Jerky Treats (
the Complete Guide to Making a Pet Food Complaint

Additional Information on How to Report a Problem with Pet Food (

dog cat poisoned pets safe food warnings news recalls alerts

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (15) Write a comment

  1. Pingback: Anety

  2. Pingback: State of denial: pet food industry veterinarian downplays toxic treats role in poisoning dogs « Poisoned Pets

  3. I seldom shop at Walmart, usually only if I can’t find something anywhere else first I make the sacrifice to go there, but I really think I’m done now. I worked from them years ago, back when Sam was still alive and they still cared about people, Now it’s just business and money money money. That’s all life is anymore and it’s so totally depressing.


  4. Corporate may be saying no but I am getting a positive reaction from the store employees when I give them a customer comment card requesting removal due to FDA investigation and some supporting print outs (like from this website, TAPF, MSNBC, FDA.) None of them had heard of the issues and they have all thanked me. It’s like chipping away at a mountain, but every new person who learns about it can make a difference.


    • Kb, I couldn’t agree more with you on that one!

      Employees, if they want to keep their jobs, are duty bound by to follow corporates dictates. What they feel personally is another matter entirely. They are human, at least most of them are. And they probably have pets of their own.

      Personally, I feel sorry for them. I’m sure most of them would be more than happy to comply with our wishes, if they could.

      I’m curious, did they indicate what they would do with the print-outs (besides read them, of coourse)? It would be so nice if they could post them, wouldn’t it?

      Thanks KB for chipping away – it’s tough work, I know. Bless your heart for spreading the word!

      I live in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere and when I took my cat the other day to the local vet (not my usual vet, holistic veterinarian Caty Sommers), the vet techs knew NOTHING about it.

      I could have died.

      Needless to say, I filled them in – in a nice way..

      No point in shaming them either! I blame the vets for not being on top of it and sharing it with their staff.

      OK, so I’m shaming the vets. Sorry.


      • All 3 people (one at Target, 2 at grocery stores) have said they would show it to their managers. I haven’t asked if they would post anything but it has crossed my mind that maybe coupon sized copies of the FDA warning might fit nicely on the shelves next to the offending products ;)

        Surprisingly, the receptionist at my vet’s office didn’t know either. I stopped in last week to pick up my dog’s Rx and made a small comment to one of the vet techs that the receptionist overheard and she said “what’s this about treats?” I know my vet knows and totally agrees with me, nothing from China. I’m not sure how the receptionist has missed it. But like you, I nicely told her about it and she said she was going to find out more. And I did suggest a sign for the lobby.

        Thank you for your blog. We wouldn’t know about the problem without you and the other bloggers! You keep writing and I’ll keep sharing!


  5. Regarding the photos. I am SO glad that you close the “Computer Says No” lady. She is perfect for the part: uncaring and rude. The Target/Walmart folks are the same – just following the party line by doing nothing. They are only machines that can’t make a thought for themselves.


    • Thanks Mom.

      I was worried that people might think I was a total wierdo, but to anyone who has seen this character on Little Britain will so totally get the reference.

      Besides, if anyone does wonder – WTF? – they can look up Carol Beer of Sunsearchers (of Little Britain) the impossibly rude travel agent, bank teller, receptionist – who could absolutely give a sh*t about helping customers whatsoever. To get out of doing anything for them, she types in a few keys and then blankly stares at the customer and say in a flat voice, “The computer says no”, then she coughs in their direction without covering her mouth.

      For the uninitiated catch it on Little Britain and you are in for a real treat!


  6. The comments and suggestions on this site are informative, but the cutesy pictures of the long haired wig, shaved beard and large glasses on a feller with lipstick on detracts from the desired results….drop the expression pictures and add some cute cat & dog pic’s….I know, it’s just my opinion ;~)


    • I was afraid of that. If you are hip to Little Britain that is Carol Beer of Sunsearchers (played by the brilliant David Williams), the impossibly rude woman that says, “The computer says no” to every request. I thought of her when I asked Walmart and Target to remove CJTs. The computer says no.


  7. Yes I noticed that yesterday when I was leaving work (Wal-Mart) and they had a big end cap display of the Waggin Trails treats. I just cringed, I still will refuse to sell them to my customers, anyone who tries to buy them obviously loves their dog and is not aware of the danger, I guess this is my way of informing dog owners, one at a time.


  8. It is sad that they have no regard for the harm they are contributing to by selling these tainted products !!!!! If it were making children sick and dead , they would have pulled these toxic treats out of the stores !!!! Pets are family members to many people !!!



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