Fish products are a big part of the pet food industry, despite health concerns like mercury bioaccumulation. Often sourcing from Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, many fish and fish meal suppliers have been exposed for their use of slave labor on fishing boats. No wonder seafood can be such a cheap protein source for dogs and cats.
Recent class action lawsuits agains Nestle Purina, Mars Petcare, and Big Heart Pet Brands (J.M. Smucker) arose after reports documented the lives of Southeast Asian men enslaved on Thai fishing vessels (Pet Food Industry).
“Unfortunately, no company sourcing seafood ingredients from Thailand can guarantee that it has completely removed forced labor practices or human rights abuses from its supply chain, due to the widespread nature of these issues,” says Nestle, after an internal investigation found that workers in Thailand were sold or lured under false pretenses to work on fishing boats within its supply chains. Nestle has now announced a plan to address these practices.
In a lawsuit against Mars Petcare, the plaintiff’s lawyers argued that pet food manufacturers are legally obliged to state on pet food packaging that the ingredient supply chain may involve slavery.
Although seafood is sometimes recommended as an "alternative protein" for allergy-prone dogs, it may involve corrupt sourcing practices. As a consumer it's important to consider the quality and ethical standards of the pet products we buy.
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Source: Pet Food Industry