So, back to contacting the AP. Here's a link to the Names, phone numbers and email addresses of every AP Bureau Chief - one for each state. It's on the AP website... happy typing and calling.
Added at 12:00pm MT: I heard back from the reporter, forwarded that information to petconnection.com and now understand from them that Dr. Becker is in touch with AP members and is working with them so they are able to present the full story.
Added at 10:21am MT: I just emailed the AP Reporter who wrote the article my local paper ran on Saturday. I also emailed the New York City and Albany AP Bureau Chiefs. I'll keep you updated... If USA Today can report the full story, why can't the AP?
The AP and other media are still not reporting the real numbers. It's time to change that. Here's my email to them, feel free to copy it. It's not the best I can do, but it's the best I can do right now. (Note: I left out any 'quote' formatting so it's less likely to turn to gibberish when you cut and paste.)
Once you send it to the AP, go into your Sent Items folder, and forward it to your local News Media. See below for what I said.
To: AP email@example.com
Every day I watch the news and wait for the AP to issue a report that has something other than the carefully manipulated numbers presented by Menu Foods.
Why are you not reporting these numbers? I am losing more faith in your service every day, as are thousands of pet owners who ARE aware of the magnitude of this story.
And because the AP is not reporting the correct numbers, the following is happening, as reported on petconnection.com
"This afternoon, we got an e-mail from a person in the news
department of a radio station, who pointed out to his boss that
other media — such as USA Today and ABC NewsClick to view image —
have been reporting a potentially much higher death rate, and asked
to change the AP's "rip-and-read" radio copy. He was told he could
not, and until the AP decides to do more than parrot the FDA line,
the story will remain largely under-reported. That means it will
If you love a cat or a dog, please read the following, go to the petconnection.com blog and then report the real story!
BEGIN FULL TEXT OF Latest entry at http://www.petconnection.com/blog/
The Associated Press continues to report 16 dead pets, without even mentioning the possibility that there are hundreds if not thousands more. So does Newsweek, in this otherwise excellent piece on how to feed pets, featuring the esteemed Dr. Tony Buffington of the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
So far, both the Animal Medical Center (the “Mayo Clinic” of veterinary hospitals) and Banfield The Pet Hospital, with more than 600 locations all connected by a central database, have both gone on the record saying there could be thousands of pets sickened or killed by recalled food.
So what’s up, AP?
This afternoon, we got an e-mail from a person in the news department of a radio station, who pointed out to his boss that other media — such as USA Today and ABC News — have been reporting a potentially much higher death rate, and asked to change the AP’s “rip-and-read” radio copy. He was told he could not, and until the AP decides to do more than parrot the FDA line, the story will remain largely under-reported. That means it will soon die.
From tomorrow’s edition of USA Today, now up on its Web site:
The Food and Drug Administration has received more than 4,400 calls from pet owners about the recalled, contaminated dog and cat food that has reportedly sickened and injured animals across the
But the agency has yet to follow up on the calls, so it doesn’t know how many represent sick animals or simply concerned owners, says Stephen Sundlof, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Many pet owners are questioning the reported number of animals that have died from consuming contaminated pet food found in some of the more than 60 million recalled cans and pouches.
Menu Foods, which produced the food, has listed 16 deaths: 15 cats and one dog. The FDA is listing only 14 confirmed dead.
There are still questions about how many animals have died. With no national reporting system for animal injury or death, official numbers are impossible to come by.
However, data from the nation’s largest chain of pet hospitals, Banfield, suggest it is as high as hundreds a week during the three months the food was on the market.
During that time, the more than 600 Banfield hospitals in 43 states saw 200 to 250 cases of kidney failure in cats above the usual number that would have been expected, says Hugh Lewis, president of Data Savant, Banfield’s data collection arm.
During that period, Banfield vets saw 100,000 cats. Extrapolating to the entire cat population of the
Our self-reported database, by the way, is now reporting 1,716 dead pets as of
I honestly have to wonder: Would the Associated Press accept only official government information if the deaths were people? Is this because these are “just pets”?
As long as the AP continues to report only 15 dead pets, the story will not be taken seriously. And that means there will be little interest in changes.
Report your pet’s loss to the FDA. Also, ask your veterinarian to report your pet’s loss to the state veterinarian for reporting to the FDA. Additionally, if your pet has eaten one of the recalled foods and become sick, add your pet to our database.
And yes, Menu Foods has now recalled all of its previously recalled labels, regardless of manufacturing date. Here’s a longer explanation of why, from the American Veterinary Medical Association. The AVMA says it’s not because foods beyond the recall range are suspected of being tainted, but because it’s easier to pull entire brands off the shelves instead of checking each can or pouch. In any case: Don’t buy or feed these brands, regardless of manufacture date.
Bottom line: We want your pet to be counted, everywhere. And we want your pet’s death to count for something, in hopes that in realizing the true scope of the problem changes will be made so something like this is less likely to happen again.
END FULL TEXT OF Latest entry at http://www.petconnection.com/blog/
Forward to Local Media:
On the Pet Food Recall…
I’ve been staying on top of this story since the beginning, and would really like to see more complete coverage in the (insert name of your local media here). The scope of this is much larger than the AP or any agency has reported. See my email to the AP below. The numbers of deaths is already in the thousands.
Probably the best site for you to get the real information is www.petconnection.com/blog Their most recent entry is pasted below in the email to the AP.