Pet food poisoning scares many

A batch of bad pet food raises questions about the value of pets.

Pet owners got a scare this past week as a major pet food manufacturer recalled massive amounts of its products. The product in question is Menu Foods’ “cuts and gravy” style of wet food for cats and dogs, and it has been blamed for kidney failure and the deaths of 15 cats and 1 dog so far.

It is still unclear what went wrong, but over 90 brands of food have been recalled, and owners of the deceased pets are unlikely to be forgiving.

In a world where pets are treated as quasi-humans, pet food companies need to be wary. Certainly the obnoxiously lavish lifestyles that some pets lead are not the norm, but we have a tendency to coddle our animal companions.

A truly devoted (and wealthy) owner will think

nothing of paying $8,000 for their cat to receive a new kidney. Owners tend to think of their pets as member

of the family, and Menu will be slammed with

numerous lawsuits as a result; several have already been filed.

While the Food and Drug Administration has some requirements for pet food quality, FDA approval is not required of these products before they enter the market. That policy always worked because they are just pets, not humans. Or they were just pets; now they are an integral part of the family.

It might be wise for pet food companies to begin more rigorously testing their products to avoid the bad publicity and court settlements that are sure to plague Menu for years to come.

For pet owners, the message is a reminder to enjoy pets while they live. Their lifespan can be brief, and dressing them up as humans will not change that.

The animals we love exist in a gray area of society, and it’s natural to want justice when they are harmed. Owners of pets that succumbed to the tainted food have the right to challenge Menu in court, but don’t confuse these lost lives with the lives of human beings.