Today we have another lesson probably not learned again

Published 3:40 pm Thursday, April 5, 2007

Have you been reading all the news lately about the pet food recall, or is it recalls now?

I have, and fearfully. We are about to acquire another pet, another golden retriever to love and spoil. I started to say, “replace Hunter,” but nothing will ever replace Hunter. Pets don’t replace one another just as people don’t, they just become another in the long line of the loved.

What should we feed her, this new roly-poly puppy when we bring her home? That has become a major question, a really big decision and one fraught with fear and anxiety because of greed.

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We have another lesson in the long line of lessons that our mother taught us that apparently some folks still haven’t learned: You get what you pay for.

Now, I’m not talking about us pet owners. I’m talking about the greedy manufacturers of what we now know is vastly overpriced pet food.

How do we know this? The answer to that is simple. It has to do with that gravy ingredient, wheat gluten, which apparently was contaminated. It was bought in and exported here from China. You don’t think we make the same stuff here? Guess again. It’s just cheaper in China, even if you have to import it, like so many other things that are likely to jump up and bite us when and where we least expect it.

Look at the names of the pet foods it was used to manufacture. They range from the inexpensive store brands and off brands to the really expensive stuff, all made with the same gluten.

You would think the more expensive stuff would have more expensive ingredients, but it doesn’t. All the products apparently were manufactured by one company, regardless of the name they carried on the store shelves.

I don’t know about you, but if I spend the money for expensive dog or cat food, I want the ingredients to be of higher, much higher, quality than the store brand.

P.T. Barnum said it best, though, I’m not sure he actually said it, though he is credited with saying. The quote is: “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.”

Hopefully, we are no longer “fooled” by the pet food manufacturers. Unfortunately though, I think a quote from James Thurber best applies in cases such as this: “You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.”

As long as we allow so-called American companies to ship jobs overseas to places like China, and as long as we allow them to purchase sorry materials from China, like this gluten, to use in products, especially food products be they for pets or people, we are going to get bitten.

You get what you pay for, and the American corporations know it. What they are doing is buying very cheaply from places like China and selling at high prices here. Oh, the prices might not seem high, but if the products had to be manufactured here, while they may cost some more, you can be sure the profit margins of the American resalers would be sharply lower.

You’ve noticed how the wealthy keep getting wealthier, I’m sure. I’m equally sure that part of that has to do with the way markets have been skewed by allowing in Chinese goods at extremely low prices for the importer, and allowing them to be sold at gluttonous profits for the “name” and for the retailer.

Probably the only thing that would bring about any changes is if some of this poisonous gluten began killing American citizens. I suspect, however, that the gluttonous profiteers could get government officials to go along with them and say it is just an anomaly and that everybody is so sorry that people died, and then they would keep on selling the stuff on the pretext that everything has been fixed.

As long as our politicians are in the pay — read “political contributions” — of the corporations and their executives, it will continue to be thus.

Of the two quotes I have used, I think Thurber’s is the most accurate. Too many of us apparently are fooled too much of the time by people who have only their own interests and the almighty dollar at heart.