Euthanasia drug found in dog food sold in Minnesota

Truth be told, I don’t want to know how dog food is made. I know it’s not pretty so I choose to be ignorant. But it’s unavoidable today because a dog food supplier is recalling its product because a drug used to euthanize animals is in the cans, the Washington Post reports.

It’s in Hunk of Beef, manufactured by Evanger’s Dog Food and sold in Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

“All of our raw materials are sourced from USDA-inspected facilities, and many of them are suppliers with whom we have had long-standing relationships,” the company said in a statement.

Those USDA-inspected facilities? That phrase sounds better than the description of the process. There are gross things going in those places.

Animals that are euthanized end up in the food and, obviously, so does the drug that kills them.

But since pentobarbital is routinely used to euthanize animals, the most likely way it could get into dog food would be in rendered animal products, according to a 2002 FDA report. Rendered products undergo a process that converts animal tissues to feed ingredients, the report stated, and pentobarbital seems to be able to survive this process. If animals are euthanized with pentobarbital and subsequently rendered, pentobarbital could remain in the rendered feed ingredients.

Hmmm hmmm, good.

“What we learned was that pentobarbital is very highly controlled, and that, if an animal is euthanized, it is done so by a veterinarian,” the company said. Once this process has concluded, there is no regulation requiring the veterinarian to place a marker on the animal indicating it has been euthanized and “guaranteeing that product from euthanized animals cannot enter the food chain,” the company said in a statement on its website.

The drug is also used to execute people on death row.

The company is donating money to a woman who fed the food to four of her pugs. One of them died.

  • Postal Customer

    How much longer will USDA exist? This is not a rhetorical question.

    • jon

      If eliminating it can be spun as putting pets lives in danger, then I don’t see any political cover for eliminating it.

      If only we cared about other humans as much as we cared about our pets.

      • RBHolb

        The USDA has already taken the hitherto public information about puppy mills off its website.

        The rules for political cover have changed.

        • tduncan

          Puppy mills an acceptable way to make money, then?

          • BJ

            Sweet I was looking for a new way to make money.

          • RBHolb

            Frankly, I don’t think that much thought went into it. It’s about freedom, you know.

  • Anna

    How could the level of pentobarbital rise to a level that would kill a medium sized dog and make three others critically ill?

    Just bad luck?

    Someone had to have laced the suspected product on the production line. Stranger things have happened.

    According to the WP, 200 other pet owners fed their dogs food from the same production lot but did not have any ill effects.

    • jon

      So the concentration would only be evenly distributed if all the dog food were mixed thoroughly together…

      Doesn’t seem unreasonable that the same beef from the same animal would stay together through the processing and all end up in the same can.