By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
October 20, 2007
Poverty. Homelessness. Disease. Death. War. Genocide. I can think of a lot of reasons to shed tears over the cruelty, injustice and violence of the world.
A repossessed dog doesn’t move me to tears.
In America “dog food” refers to something one feeds to a dog. In other lands, the dog is people food.
The wealthiest nation and people on the face of the earth spend far too much time, effort and money in nail shops, hair salons and on Starbucks coffee. But what we Americans spend on our four legged buddies is staggering.
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) confirms the full scope of American “pet prowess.” For starters, few other nations even have a pet products association.
According to the APPMA, pet spending has more than doubled in America from $17 billion in 1994 to an estimated $38.4 billion in 2006.
In 2006, American spending on pets was higher than ever:
–$15.2 billion for food
–$9.3 billion for supplies and over-the-counter medications
–$9.4 billion for veterinarian care
–$1.8 billion for live animal purchases
–$2.7 billion for other services
Many elderly folks now have their pet medications delivered right to their door.
Here are some additional facts from the APPMA:
–Total pet spending in America during 2005 was larger than projected with total sales coming in at $36.3 billion.
–Both veterinary care and other services had stronger than anticipated performances in 2005.
–New and expanded veterinary services such as joint replacement surgeries, delicate eye procedures, and senior health care helped increase total spending by almost 8 percent over 2004.
Other innovative new services continue to increase market penetration with pet spas and hotels, grooming, pet therapy and related services.
Hey, in China, dogs are people food.
“Both of these segments should maintain strong performances this year as pet ownership continues to increase especially among key demographic sectors including baby boomers and young professional couples,” said Bob Vetere, President of APPMA.
–Growth in the pet food sector performed as forecasted at 3.5 percent over 2004. “It is interesting to note that food continues to show growth not only in the expected high-end areas with vitamin fortified formulas, gourmet lines and natural/organic food but with the value-priced portion of the segment as well,” said Bob Vetere.
This has been a banner year for American dogs. Michael “Vick Dog” Vick, who raised animal cruelty to new heights, prompted the news media to shed light upon the cruel and abusive world of dog fighting. In a way, “Vick Dog,” though an unexpected bit of serendipity, helped publicize the dark world of dog fighting — and maybe this will in the long run make this evel practice obsolete.
For the past several days some Americans have been immersed in Ellen’s dog tragedy.
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried said, “And we wasted so much time on the World Trade Center!”
We recommend, if people really want to open their hearts and their wallets, that there are plenty of good causes that help people around the globe. And people are worth crying over sometimes.
Note to Ellen: at the American chicken restaurant “Chic-fil-A,” the motto is “Eat more Chicken.” In some parts of the world, they gladly say, “Eat more dog.”