Pet food research many pet lovers are cautious of any research that involves animals.

Nine years back, a campaign was launched by PETA from the brand that was lams. The effort alleged the pet food business contracted with the independent, contract lab, to run analysis that was unneeded on cats and dogs in unsanitary and cruel conditions. PETA released 26 video clips, filmed through an undercover researcher in the laboratory, showing distressed dogs in little cages, recuperating from operation, anesthetized dogs, as well as a tote said to comprise the body of a dog who died following surgery in a lams-associated evaluation. Tens of thousands of people lams pet food to state their indignation at these claims, and the Jams brand is still associated by some with cruel animal research. Iams' parent company, Procter & Gamble, issued denials about a few of the claims produced in the PETA effort - but it also recognized the states revealed in a few of the video clips symbolized breaches of its own animal welfare policies. Its severed p&G relationship with the laboratory revealed in the videos and with all other contract laboratories. All the creatures transferred it possessed in Ohio to its pet food research facility, and significantly enlarged that facility, so that all creatures used for would research P&G be under their own oversight and attention.

In a few ways, the damage was done. Whether due to exposure to the PETA effort or to individuals who learned something (precise or not) about it second hand, many pet owners now have a mental association between "pet food research" and substandard living conditions (if not real harshness) for creatures associated with pet food research. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons. Foremost is the event supported the instincts of the majority of pet food executives which they need to conceal (or at least never discuss) any research they do in support of these products, lest they unwittingly expose their businesses to criticism (rational or not) or activism. For a long time, the pet food businesses that had the most wide-ranging animal nutrition research plans regularly refused requests for tours of the facilities or in-depth information regarding their research, mentioning either worries in regards to the possibility of pathogenic disease for the research animals or the importance of security from infiltration of animal activists.

The "top secret" status of most corporate pet food research leads to obscurity for several nutritional studies that might be of interest or value to pet owners. And people who have interest in the wellbeing of the research creatures or real concerns about have not been mostly able to collect dependable verified information. Is Iams unkind? Pet owners needed to determine for themselves which public relations campaign to believe: 's or P&G's. PETA A few of us were frustrated that those were the only two choices!


Recently, but the pet food sector has found the advantages of sharing more details about its products, production, research, and development with consumers. In an extremely competitive marketplace, it is not disadvantageous to project a confident picture of complete transparency - as long as everything is being done by the business they say they're doing. There are just two firms which have embarked on comparatively high profile public relations campaigns to educate consumers about their pet nutrition research. One is . P&G It might be clear from merely a PR point of view the firm is moved to enhance its image with this front. But after making significant investments in a total makeover of facilities and its research aims, itself found P&G with a great story to tell. The business started reaching out to pet business journalists and encouraging them to tour its research facility in Lewisburg, Ohio; I accepted its invitation and was a single tourist, having a half a dozen roughly guides, in June 2009.More lately, Hill's Pet Nutrition started taking the same tack, encouraging pet-connected journalists and bloggers to tour its research facility in Topeka, Kansas. I toured the Hill's Pet Nutrition Centre in March having a group of a dozen roughly other dog-and cat-associated writers. I was interested. What kind of research, precisely, are they doing at these facilities? Where do they get their creatures? What's the standard of living for the creatures? Here's what I learned and discovered.


A public relations person for Eukanuba contacted me for the very first time in May 2009, saying that she and a Eukanuba brand manager would just like the chance to fulfill with me and tell me about Eukanuba's pet foods as well as the guidance the firm (P&G Pet Care) is taking with its product development. We changed several e-mails, and soon, they encouraged me to go to with the P&G Pet Care corporate offices in Dayton, in Lewisburg, a well as the PHNC Ohio, as hour away. I was excited. I'd neglected to wangle an invitation to view the facility in 2005, when I had been composing an article about feeding trials, which contained a long sidebar regarding the PETA/Iams dustup ("On Trial," April 2005). In those days, I'd attempted to create the claim into a PR person for Jams that in the event the firm was assured as they described the PHNC and living conditions for the resident research creatures were, they ought to welcome the chance to demonstrate it. No dice. Four years after, however, to its transport P&G Pet Care offered to pay for my airfare and resort and supply WDJ's publisher, Belvoir Media Group, disallows any such gifts or "sponsorship" - though it's going to let me take a complimentary meal or two. With my publisher footing the bill, I joined the journey to the P&G sites in Ohio with some other WDJ research-related travel (a tour of a duck processing plant and the WellPet dry pet food manufacturing plant in Indiana).

I arrived in the late day, in Dayton, Ohio. I met with the corporate PR person who'd contacted me about Eukanuba, and she drove me to a closeby restaurant for dinner with, oh, 10 or so folks in the P&G Pet Care department. There were individuals who were involved individuals who worked with the P&G customer service/technical support staff, and, using the animal nutrition research of course, advertising and PR folks. Everyone looked quite comfortable with WDJ as well as our dog food selection criteria - including the truth that people have never been especially kind to P&G's Iams or Eukanuba foods - but they all appeared genuine in desiring to learn more about our readers' interests and the development of our food selection criteria. The next morning, I met with the PR person in the resort foyer and we were driven by her to among Care Pet P&G 's corporate buildings in Dayton (P&G relocated these offices and workers to a bigger facility encompassing other P&G departments in Mason, Ohio, in October 2009.) There, I had been introduced to a few of the brand managers and advertising staff for Jams and Eukanuba products, and could talk at greater length using the clinical veterinarian who manage the health care provided to the dogs and cats included in developing a lot of the Jams and Eukanuba products.

Iams and Eukanuba dog and cat food products are invented, analyzed, and encouraged from the exact same individuals. It is as much as the teams advertising P&G to determine whether new products out under the Iams or . label Eukanuba Each brand has a somewhat distinct identity in the marketplace, so they can be pointed toward one brand or the other as new products are imagined, at some point. I also got to speak to a few of the customer service/technical support people that answer the toll-free numbers for veterinarians and consumers who have questions about Eukanuba or Iams pet foods. One thing I noticed right away concerning this multistory office building: there were lots of dogs following workers to work (I lost count after assembly 15 or so), also it certainly was not a set up on my behalf; there were baby gates and tethers forever installed in cubicles and office doors, and the carpeting revealed indications of a pet friendly history (hey, they were moving out of the building shortly). Greatest was the undeniable fact that nearly every dog I met turned out to have been embraced in the after PHNC P&G he or she was retired from research responsibilities. Cool.Eventually, we got back into cars and drove for a little under one hour to the PHNC. The 250-acre site where the research animals are kept is tucked behind a P&G extrusion (dry pet food) manufacturing plant. The facility has capacity for 350 cats and approximately 350 dogs.