Damages Will Be Paid for Chinese Pet Food Scare

October 17, 2008 06:00 PM
by Lindsey Chapman
A fund has been created to help compensate pet owners whose animals were affected by melamine-contaminated pet food in 2007.

Pet Food Settlement

On Oct. 14, a federal judge approved a $25 million settlement for pet owners whose cats and dogs became sick or died in last year’s pet food scare.

In March 2007, dogs and cats started becoming ill, according to the New York Daily News. Investigators believe pet food made in China was intentionally contaminated with melamine, which caused kidney failure and even death in some pets.

Thousands of lawsuits followed the pet food contamination. The settlement money will help cover the cost of pet food, medical and burial expenses for animals, and replacement costs for new pets.

More than 10,000 people have submitted claims for a settlement so far. Anyone who wishes to do so must file by Nov. 24. Pet owners will start receiving checks in 2009.
On Nov. 3 a Canadian judge is to decide whether the money also includes pet owners in Canada.

Opinion: Thoughts on the settlement

Not every pet owner is pleased with the idea of settling their case. “How do you answer the statement on the claim form, ‘What was the value of your pet?’ My companion was everything in the world to me,” pet owner Donna Elliott said in a CBC article.

“She was my constant companion and quite a character,” another pet owner told about her cat. “My husband and I miss her greatly.”

People have already filed objections to the settlement because they say the money doesn’t compensate for the pain caused by the loss of their pets.

Related Topic: Chinese milk scare

Trouble with melamine surfaced again this year, when reports indicated that thousands of infants in China who consumed the Chinese-made Sanlu baby formula had developed kidney stones or become sick. Tests revealed that the formula in question also contained melamine.

After thousands of infants in China became sick, worldwide concern over Chinese milk products developed. Some countries banned dairy imports from China but at the time, authorities had only begun to consider the possibility that other products, such as candies, cakes and creams would also be contaminated.

The FDA recently set the maximum “tolerable” amount of melamine in foods other than baby formula at 2.5 parts per million. However, some stories may have incorrectly “suggested that the FDA’s ruling was somehow an attempt to convince consumers that melamine is not harmful and that the FDA condoned the intentional contamination of foods,” according to Stephen Sundlof, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Such assertions reflect a misunderstanding of what the FDA said.”

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