Ever since seeing the true colors of the pet food industry during 2007’s massive pet food recall, I haven’t trusted the lot of them. I think far greater regulation and transparency would be required before I could consider trusting pet food manufacturers again. And since neither of those things appears to be on the horizon, I consider the pet food corporations to be basically another entity profiting from the compassionate nature of American pet owners trying to do right by their pets.
Maryland lawmakers have formed a task force to determine how the state could raise $1 million a year for a spay-neuter fund to enable low income residents to neuter their pets. There are more than ten thousand pet food products registered each year with the state at a fee of $50 each. The task force plans to propose a bill in the upcoming General Assembly session which would raise that fee to $150. The increased revenue would be used for the spay-neuter fund. Not surprisingly, the pet food corporations are displeased at the idea:
But Kurt Gallagher, a task force member and spokesman for the Pet Food Institute, said the fee is arbitrary and will hurt pet owners who already pay $20 million in sales tax for pet food.
“This amounts to a million-dollar tax on pet food, and we’re very disappointed that the task force voted to tax consumers,” Gallagher said. “We are in favor of voluntary mechanisms to fund this program, and we’ll be working to oppose any tax on pet food.”
Obviously if the registration fee goes up, pet food companies are going to pass the cost along to consumers. It’s also no surprise to hear the PFI supports “voluntary mechanisms”, kind of like how they voluntarily police themselves on quality assurance, which has been a total fail resulting in sick people and pets.
Increasing access to spay-neuter for owners who want to get their pets fixed is a worthy goal and part of the set of programs proven to end the killing of healthy/treatable pets in shelters. This appears to be a primary concern for the task force members:
The task force, composed of legislators, veterinarians and animal advocates, commissioned an October study that found about 45,000 animals are euthanized in Maryland shelters each year.
Of course the primary concern of the pet food corporations is the same as it ever was: profit. Anything perceived as a potential threat to the industry’s bottom line is going to be viewed as death, even if the cause is aimed at saving the lives of pets.