Friday, May 23, 2008

Pet Smarts

The economy is in a funk, housing is down and jobs are scarce. So guess what company is reporting a 9.1% growth increase? Pet Smart.

Yep, while other industries are watching water drain from their income tub, the pet industry continues to grow. Pet Smart's revenues through May of 2008 are 9.1 percent higher than the same time last year. People clearly value their pets and continue to spend money on them, despite economic hard times. In fact, it's been proven that people will skimp on food for themselves to provide for their pets. And we love being spoiled.

Here's another interesting tidbit on the news front: Menu Foods, one of the leading manufacturers of pet foods, along with other food producers have agreed to a $24 million dollar settlement fund to compensate owners of pets affected by tainted pet food in 2007. The food contained chemicals from China introduced to the food during the multi-level manufacturing process.

Here's more from a USA Today report:

The vast majority of the fund will go to pet owners whose pets were injured or died as a result of kidney failure, which was linked to the contaminant discovered in some of the recalled pet food.

Damages supported by documentation, such as veterinary receipts, may be paid in full.

Claimants also could get $900 per claim for undocumented losses, according to the agreement filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

The settlement requires that eligible claimants' dogs or cats ate a pet food recalled between March 16, 2007, and now. Coverable expenses include veterinary bills, pet food costs, burial costs, replacement pet costs, property damage and lost wages to care for sick animals.

The fund includes only $250,000 to compensate pet owners for food purchases, because most people have already been reimbursed for recalled pet food. Another $400,000 is allocated for people who had pets screened that were found to be healthy.

In addition to Menu, defendants include pet-food makers Del Monte, Hill's Pet Nutrition and Iams; retailers such as Wal-Mart and importers ChemNutra and Wilbur-Ellis.

The contaminated pet food ingredients, wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate, were adulterated in China with the industrial chemical melamine, which would make them appear to be richer in protein.

The recall was the largest of pet food in history, drawing Food and Drug Administration review, congressional inquiry and U.S. attorney investigations. Within days of the recall, the first lawsuits were filed against Menu and others.

The FDA never identified how many pets were affected, but it received more than 17,000 pet-owner complaints.

Wow - $24 Million dollars buys a lotta Alpo!


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