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PETA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 22, 2007
3: 00 PM

CONTACT: PETA
757-622-7382, ext. 8284

 
PETA Calls for Cruelty Investigation Into Iams' Role in Delay of Pet-Food Recall
Company May Have Known of Contamination a Month Before Recall
 
DAYTON, Ohio - March 22 - PETA has sent an urgent letter to The Honorable Joseph D. Deters with The Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office, urging him to investigate Dayton-based Iams and file appropriate charges if the company knowingly withheld information about pet-food contamination. At least 13 cats and one dog are reported to have died of kidney failure after eating food manufactured by Menu Foods under several brand names, including Iams, and veterinarians across the country are reporting daily cases of cats and dogs in renal failure because of the contaminated food.

PETA points out that because reports indicate that the first complaints of tainted food surfaced as early as February 20, Iams should be held responsible for the deaths of companion animals that occurred after that date because the public was not notified. If Iams argues that its manufacturer, Menu Foods, withheld the information, PETA is calling for Iams to sever all ties with Menu Foods immediately. (PETA has also called for an investigation and, if appropriate, cruelty charges against Menu Foods in Canada.) Conducting cruel and lethal experiments on live animals in Menu Foods laboratories constitutes a violation of Iams' policy against lethal experiments on dogs and cats for dog and cat food.

This isn't the first time that cats and dogs have suffered or died in tests associated with Iams products. During a 2002-2003 undercover investigation of Sinclair Research Center -- a Columbia, Mo.-based animal- testing laboratory doing contract work for Iams and Menu Foods -- a PETA investigator documented terrified animals forced to live in cramped, unsanitary cages in dungeon-like rooms; dogs left piled on a filthy floor after having chunks of muscle cut from their thighs; dogs surgically debarked; animals subjected to unregulated temperatures during extreme weather; and other forms of cruelty. At least 27 dogs were deliberately killed.

"People are looking on helplessly as their cats and dogs suffer and die, when the tragedy seemingly could have been avoided had Iams immediately issued a recall after hearing from people whose animals got sick," said PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich. "If it violated the law, both the company and its manufacturers and all its involved employees must be held accountable."

For more information, including products involved in the recall, action steps for consumers, and PETA's letters to prosecutors, please visit http://www.peta.org. PETA's letter to The Honorable Joseph D. Deters follows.

March 21, 2007

The Honorable Joseph D. Deters
Prosecuting Attorney
Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office
230 E. Ninth St., Ste. 4000
Cincinnati, OH 45202

1 page via mail and fax: 513-946-3017

Dear Mr. Deters:

On behalf of PETA and our more than 1.6 million members and supporters, as well as the hundreds of millions of North Americans who share their lives with one or more dogs or cats, PETA is calling on you today to launch an investigation into whether or not Iams is in violation of the Ohio anti- cruelty law (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. section 959.131).

The Bloomberg news service reports that 13 cats and one dog have died as a result of eating food manufactured at Menu Foods (which includes Iams and Eukanuba brands), although the death toll is likely to rise dramatically ("14 Cat, Dog Deaths Linked to Menu Foods, FDA Says," 21 Mar.). Veterinarians everywhere are reporting cases of renal failure in dogs and cats because of contaminated food.

As we see it, Iams and its agents may have violated Ohio state law. Iams' manufacturer, Menu Foods, reportedly knew about the food contamination issue as early as February 20, yet a product recall was not announced until March 16-almost a full month later -- a month in which people's animal companions were sickened and may have died. It is reasonable to assume that Iams may have known about this food contamination issue well before the announced product recall. If current reports from veterinary offices around the country of dogs and cats in renal failure resulting from contaminated food are accurate, the body count is sure to rise. Iams, by delaying its recall announcement, should be held fully accountable for every pertinent death, to the extent allowed by Ohio law.

I would be happy to discuss this complaint with you further and can be reached at ShalinG@peta.org or 757-962-8325.

Sincerely,

Shalin G. Gala (Mr.)

Research Associate

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, with more than one million members, is the largest animal rights organization in the world. Founded in 1980, PETA is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.

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