What If It’s Not The “Rat Poison”?

Rat PoisonThere’s no smoking gun yet. Aminopterin (a.k.a. rat poison/cancer treatment/abortive agent) has been singled out so far as the most likely cause. In fact, Menu Foods has been quick to say that it is the “root” cause (Their PR machine is clearly on overdrive). However, the ASPCA and others are publicly questioning the logic that aminopterin is the root cause of these deaths. So let’s take this one step further…

Here’s what we know: after finding a deadly toxic agent in the wet food, the medical community cannot confirm this as the main cause of death. It’s a smoking gun that isn’t.

Let us see if we can put this in other (more graphic) terms: You are a firefighter, and you arrived at a house fire and after dousing the flames, you unfortunately find several victims. All are dead from the fire but they show no signs of smoke inhalation. Okay, if that wasn’t clear, I apologize, let me try again. You found several people frozen to death in the woods, but none have frostbite.

If the ASPCA is correct, that leaves us with three likely possibilities. We’ll examine each one after the jump.


The three likely possibilities:

  1. Aminopterin is not the ONLY cause of death
  2. Aminopterin is NOT the cause of death
  3. We don’t know enough about aminopterin

What if it’s scenario #1? (Aminopterin is not the ONLY cause of death)

This is the scenario that the ASPCA is cautious about. It would leave Menu Foods with a far smaller liability and a culprit to clean up the mess: “Foreign rat poison? A fluke accident!” For the public, and our pets, this is a horrifying scenario. If the media sweeps this story under the table, we’re left with a deadly toxin that no one will bother to find — that will continue to kill. Imagine what would happen if all airplane crashes were deemed “pilot error”, no one would bother to check for mechanical issues, and leave hundreds more dead to come. Devastated pet parents will continue to speak up, only to be labled as the ones “who cried wolf”. We would also never know what other foods have been contaminated with this other toxin. And it would take a disaster of equal or greater proportions for the media and authorities to look into the matter again.

What if it’s scenario #2? (Aminopterin is NOT the cause of death)

This is somewhat unlikely as significant amounts of aminopterin were found. But if for some reason, cats and dogs were actually not affected by the toxin (perhaps we may soon have new species at the top of the food chain), we’re back to square one. This should cause a renewed search for the “root cause” toxin — a less frightening scenario than #1.

What if it’s scenario #3? (We don’t know enough about aminopterin)

Specifically, what if we don’t know enough about aminopterin’s affects on pets? This is another likely scenario. The ASPCA says:

“…to be consistent with the effects of aminopterin, we should also be seeing a significant number of affected pets showing the accompanying signs of severe intestinal damage, as well as bone marrow suppression, including ‘leukopenia,’ which is a serious reduction in white blood cells.”

It may be years before the debate is settled. The effect on our pets would depend on the reaction of the FDA. If the FDA would aggressively pursue a definitive scientific answer by funding researchers, the overall damage to our pets could be minimized. If the FDA decided to let the issue languish, companies such as Menu Foods would be able to spin future aminopterin-related deaths to their advantage.

Did we miss any other likely outcomes? Tell us.

16 Responses to “What If It’s Not The “Rat Poison”?”

  1. Robert Davis says:

    You stated, “If the FDA would aggressively pursue a definitive scientific answer by funding researchers, the overall damage to our pets could be minimized.”

    Lets be sure we are not jumping the gun so quickly that we fund horrid dog and cat experiments to see the results they are looking for. Let’s just find the root cause without causing more death by research.

    We can also minimize today by making the right pet food choices….quality made, quality ingredients and not spun by marketing. My choice is Kumpi at http://www.kumpi.com for both dogs and cats. I know I’ve already posted positive comments early on Kumpi. But I know a quality product when I see it - the results are my companions looking at me happy, healthy and alive.

    I was listening to Sirius Satellite Radio today - Hits 1 - and they were making fun of Burger Kind for offering “free range” chickens. They said, why does it matter? They chickens are gonig to be killed anyway. The why is all about karma, all about the golden rule…what we put out comes back to us. For years these little creatures have been robbed of their normal lives so we can feed off them. I’m not saying it is wrong to eat meat. But how we treat them before they die is important. Most meat that goes into our diets have lived a horrid life in small cages, in filth, etc…. and we wonder why food gets contaminated? That and the fact that most of the pet food contains the throw aways that humans would not eat.

    Remember - your pets have a heart, blood, lungs a brain…etc… they are living beings that do not deserve the throw aways….. because the throw aways might just be what is shortening their lives.

  2. Janice says:

    Every pet owner with concerns should contact Anderson Cooper of CNN. One of the blogs on Pet Connection indicated he was collecting data for a story. We have to keep the story alive in order to get the truth. We need someone like Anderson Cooper to air this nationally. If you know of some other national reporter that you think would pursue this story, please suggest here and on the Pet Connection blog that interested pet owners contact that person.

  3. Adrienne says:

    IMHO, I think #3 is the most likely scenario… they know its effects on rats, and they know its effects when used as a cancer drug on humans (and whatever lab animals they used it on before approving it as a cancer drug), but how would they know its effects on dogs and cats? All animals do not react the same to the same drug/toxin/etc.

    However, as Robert points out, I surely don’t want them to figure this out by experimenting on more animals! I hope scientific minds will find another way to answer the lingering questions.

  4. Jim C. says:

    I think Option #3 should also be labeled “The ASPCA - while having great intentions, misspoke or spoke too soon - because to my knowledge there are no definitive studies of the effects of 4-aminofolic acid on cats and dogs.

    Essentially Option #3 is “The ASPCA was WRONG”

    I’m not saying they are, but it looks to me like they are ASSuME ing a lot of facts not in evidence.

    If I’m wrong - Consider me from Missouri - someone show me chapter and verse of the studies.

    And NO - I am not suggesting, nor do I want to see a series of new studies done on healthy cats and dogs to prove or disprove this insanity.

    Some food for thought though.

    Menu recalled 60,000,000 units of food. weighing at a minimum 3oz.

    Some weighing much more - but let’s get a de-minimus handle on this.

    that’s 11,250,000 pounds or 5625 TONS of food. AT A MINIMUM

    Is the concentration of aminopterin uniform throughout all the food at this same 40ppm+ concentration? If so you’re talking about a LOT of this aminopterin being present. 450 POUNDS of the pure agent itself, and God only know how much “rat poison” that would equate to being that a poison is usually only some small part of “active ingredient”.

    Thoughts?

  5. 4lgdfriend says:

    Has anyone else wondered if this could be caused by use of a GMO Grain? or aminopterin + GMO? here’s one:
    GMO corn causes liver, kidney problems in rats: http://www.sciam.com/article.c.....9A180E764B “Greenpeace said a study it had commissioned that was published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Technology showed rats fed for 90 days on Monsanto’s MON863 maize showed “signs of toxicity” in the liver and kidneys.
    “….first time that independent research, published in a peer-reviewed journal, has proved that a GMO authorized for human consumption presents signs of toxicity,”

  6. 4lgdfriend says:

    may be possible - is there a gmo wheat? http://www.drpitcairn.com/nutrition/gm_foods.html The FDA does not require any safety tests on genetically modified foods…There are no adequate tests on “biochemistry, immunology, tissue pathology, gut function, liver function and kidney function,”[3]
    animal feeding studies are too short to adequately test for cancer, reproductive problems, or effects in the next generation. ……animals fed GM crops developed potentially precancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers and testicles, damaged immune systems, bigger livers, partial atrophy of the liver, lesions in the livers, stomachs, and kidneys, inflammation of the kidneys, problems with their blood cells, higher blood sugar levels, and unexplained increases in the death rate. (See Spilling the Beans, August 2004.) None have been adequately followed-up or accounted for.”

  7. 4lgdfriend says:

    anyway what the h is the holdup identifying any and all products that might have anything in the recalled products and at least putting them on hold. They have the d*** food and its sure taking a l o n g time to test it.

  8. 4lgdfriend says:

    what this spells: we’re not getting the truth.

  9. 4lgdfriend says:

    JIM C SAID Is the concentration of aminopterin uniform throughout all the food at this same 40ppm+ concentration? If so you’re talking about a LOT of this aminopterin being present
    from the Sci Am article:
    “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that the lethal concentration of the chemical is three parts per million (ppm) for rats; the amount found in the contaminated food samples was 40 ppm.”

    WHAT’S TO STUDY????????????????????

  10. 4lgdfriend says:

    it was at least 40 parts per million. Http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/A.....aseID=1598
    http://sciam.com/article.cfm?c.....mp;catID=4 Richard Goldstein, a Cornell University’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center, all of the animals affected by the recall showed similar signs of the poisoning. “There’s a specific pathologic phenomenon that we’re seeing, … with these pretty characteristic [round] crystals that we’re seeing in the animals’ kidneys and urine…..center received samples of both food products and animal remains from Menu Foods a day or two before the recall. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (a process that separates complex mixtures and analyzes ingredients by measuring a weight-to-charge ratio), researchers compared the constituent chemicals in the food to standards for common molds, heavy metals and ethylene glycol (or antifreeze, which Goldstein says is the number one cause of kidney failure). All test results were negative. ?doesnt chromatography identify substances???

  11. Barbara Collins says:

    To air the topic of pet food contamination and mass-manufactured murder? For a complete story I suggest Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman and also Garrison Keillor on NPR will often make very poignant remarks that can make a very strong impact with few words. Also Ira Glass on “This American Life” could put together something very effective for a different audience.

  12. Barbara Collins says:

    By the way, there’s an excellent article on the UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS website: “The Reality of Feed at Animal Factories.” With all that is in the stuff, there could be a myriad of toxic possibilities.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and.....-what.html

  13. keenisar says:

    What if…
    The problem is in the Packaging?

    Melamine-formaldehyde, the polymer contaminant, is discovered to be in the packaging/containers and not in just the food but migrating into it?

    IMO, God help us!

  14. itchmo! » Blog Archive » FDA Finds Other Toxin, Possibly Also in Dry Food says:

    […] possible dry food contamination earlier in the week as well as what may happen if aminopterin was not the cause of deaths. “Government testing found a chemical used to make plastics in recalled pet food linked to […]

  15. Felyne says:

    The ASPCA has a point. Just because they’ve identified one toxin in the food doesn’t mean it is the main killer, especially if the quantities are not considered significant enough to cause damage and/or are inconsistent with the symptoms exhibited by animals.

    If rat poison, which has been classified as ‘unregistered’ in this country, can get into petfoods, what other agents (toxins or otherwise) can get into the food?

    If they become tunnel visioned and focus on resolving the rat poison contamination, and correct that problem, which turns out to be a red herring, your pets are still being poisoned because the true issue has not been discovered and the lethal toxin remains in the food.

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