Here we go again. First it was 16 deaths, and now it’s 224 deaths. Even though there have been 17,000 complaints to the FDA reporting pet food deaths, the numbers reported by the mainstream media continue to minimize the significance of the pet food recalls and how many pets and pet owners were affected.
At first, the media reported that only 16 deaths were confirmed. As pet owners, we all knew that this number was completely off and there were reports from pet owners of thousands of pets getting sick and dying from contaminated pet food.
Now, MSNBC, Reuters and other media outlets are reporting that only 224 pet deaths from the pet food recalls have been confirmed by veterinarians. They reference a Michigan State University study that the AVMA publicized. (Itchmo posted about this study on November 21.)
The news media reported that only 348 cases of pet sickness met the criteria for kidney failure caused by the contamination — 235 cats and 112 dogs.
(Stop right there. How does 235 plus 112 equal 348? In my world and I think everyone else’s word, that should add up to 347. In actuality, the MSU study found 347 cases and not 348 cases that met diagnostic criteria for â€œpet food-induced nephrotoxicity.â€ Hmm… someone needs a math lesson or needs to fact check, perhaps? Also, according to the MSU survey, they confirmed 226 deaths and not the 224 deaths that you reported. 143 fatal cases for cats and 83 fatal cases for dogs.)
The media also reported that Wilson Rumbehia, who worked on the MSU study, said, â€œIt is easy to think that every death or every sickness is occurring because of the pet food problem.â€ In a Reuters article, the author wrote, “But when strict criteria were applied, it appears that far fewer deaths could be blamed on the pet food.”
The numbers in the MSU study were collected from April 5 through June 6. The research team is now analyzing numbers from vets that submitted cases through October.
Even in the press release from Michigan State University, they stated that more than 300 dogs and cats may have died from the recalls. They stated, “A survey, commissioned by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians and designed and implemented by Michigan State University toxicologists, has found that more than 300 dogs and cats may have died earlier this year as a result of eating contaminated pet food.”
Oh, numbers, schnumbers… what’s the difference right? Wrong. Thousands of pets died and whether it’s 1, 16, 224, 226 or 10,000, it should be significant that innocent pets died simply by eating their food.
Mainstream media, let’s focus on what we can do to ensure the safety of our pets, our children and ourselves instead of minimizing the significance of the pet food recalls. Talk to readers here on Itchmo, Pet Connection, or any other pet site and they will tell you how extremely significant this pet food recall is and how it has changed all of our lives.
We will never forget the thousands of pets that died, and we will continue to fight for the safety of our pets and not allow our innocent pets to have died in vain.