Friday, April 06, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

The first time I got in the New York Times (October 28, 2004) was for my "Friday Cat Blogging". I made a joke that since all the political bloggers talk about cats on Friday and showed their photos, here was mine. And I put up a photo of a giant "Cat" bulldozer.

I can't joke about this current pet food recall debacle that is leading to the death of thousands of cats and dogs.
Unoffical count Update 4/6, 6:30 a.m. PT: 3,242 pets have been reported as deceased to our PetConnection database.

And for John who said...

I'd like to see your source on that 3000+ dead pets, the most I've seen on "reputable" websites is ~250, that's a whole order of magnitude off from your numbers. I think the companies should come clean, but I also don't think anyone should be inflating numbers just to get a response.

What is "reputable" to you? Menu Foods? The FDA? Who have been saying only 16 dead for weeks past the date that they KNEW it was higher?

The point is that their is no coordinated national database for pet deaths. There is no CDC for animals tracking and correlating this.

The current reporting systems and connections are weak or non-existent for this kind of work. PetConnection put their database together to fill a void. And I ask you "John" (if that is your real name) who are you posting for? Is it really accurate info you care about? Or are you more interested in downplaying this issue?

I KNOW the people at PetConnection would LOVE to have official accurate numbers. The MSM still wants to quote the "experts" even if the experts have been holding and underreporting for WEEKS. We would LOVE and official count from an official organization. But guess what, some of the officials aren't doing the job that needs to be done. So, in the fine American Tradition and of good bloggers everywhere, PetConnection built their own database.

We also have the folks from Itchmo, Howl911, PetfoodTracker and others replicating the recall info and digging up more links in this story. They might not be "offical" but THEY are the experts now. Because they have done the work. And, they are thinking of the pet safety first, not how to sooth investors or sponsors.

If you have to see the photos and autopsies of the 3,000 plus dead pets until you believe this is real, well that might take some time and in the meantime pets are dying. Can you grasp WHY it is important to get the SCOPE of this out there?

Do you want to see one dead pet John? How about Alex? This is from and unofficial website called Menu Foods Victims. I don't know how "reputable" they are. Maybe they just made up this story to "get a response" but I doubt it. Look at the pretty cat. Read the painful words. Then ask yourself, how responsible were the people who DID NOT reveal the scope of this story for weeks?

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Interrobang said...

The thing is, I can see your commenter's point -- it seems to me like that database almost certainly contains a percentage of reports that are statistical noise; that is, not actually causally related to the contaminated pet food, but coincident with it. Cats in general are prone to kidney and urinary tract problems anyhow, so I can't see how there would not be some false reports in such a database, particularly if the entries are self-reported from the pet owners, and not from veterinarians.

I'm not saying that this isn't a scandal. Any dead pets from contaminated food is too many, but I also don't think anyone should be treating either set of numbers as gospel truth, either. (Haven't we had this discussion before, comparing the Lancet's Iraq casualty numbers with Iraq Body Count's?) The data is simply altogether too fuzzy, and we already know how reliable self-reported data is (ie. not frickin' very).

Usefully, you could look at the set of numbers as a "floor" and "ceiling" range.

11:19 AM  
missedexit said...

It seems to me that statistics can always be played with, but I do agree that the loss of 1 pet to tainted food is 1 too many, as I have a beagle who I'd do anything for to medically assist him, if it were needed. Already went through medical problems with another beagle, spent close to $2000, and I'd do it again, as long as the quality of life didn't become an issue.

I did like the quip about cats and Friday's.

1:14 PM  
Swan said...

I hope you don't mind an off-topic comment, but I think this is important: There is a great post on The Carpetbagger Report from a few days ago about the mainstream media's (specifically Time magazine's) ignoring the prosecutor purge scandal.

What explains the failure of the mainstream media to cover the purge scandal for so long, and so many other scandals? Do you think somebody just set up newspaper editors to cheat on their wives, and threatened to tell if the editors wouldn’t play ball when they come back some day and ask for something?

It wouldn’t be that hard to do, when you think about it. People wouldn’t talk about it.

1:53 PM  
¡El Gato Negro! said...

Thees sort of sheet would no happen eef pipples just went back to worsheeping gatos.


5:39 PM  
jurassicpork said...

Hey, Spocko, you're famous again. Wel, sorta. I gave you a long shoutout on Bob Kinkaid's radio show in West Virginia.

7:16 PM  

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