A comprehensive new study shows that dogs are more closely related to wolves in the Middle East and therefore originated there. (It was previously believed dogs were more closely related to wolves in East Asia and originated there.) These new findings better match archaeological evidence of dogs in the Middle East. It’s not all that surprising that dogs originated in the Middle East—this is also where cats were domesticated and many of our livestock animals were domesticated.
The study also showed that dog classifications based on behavioral traits (herding, retrieving, vermin hunting, etc.) match the branches in the dog evolutionary tree. Herding breeds descend from other herding breeds, retrievers from retrievers, sight hounds from sight hounds, terriers from terriers. This seems like common sense, but scientists didn’t have genetic proof before this study. On the flip side, toy dogs, bred for size and not behavioral traits, descend from many branches of the dog evolutionary tree.
Be sure to click on the the dog evolutionary tree above—very interesting.
If you transfer your pet food to bins or other containers, it’s important that you keep the packaging until all the food is eaten so you can provide information on the variety, point of manufacture, lot numbers, best-by dates, etc. I haven’t been good about this at all.
A tale of 2 pet food recalls—one typical and one that shows how it should be done. First, the typical recall, as preformed by Merrick for their Beef Filet Squares Dog Treats. During testing, the FDA “detected a positive finding for Salmonella. (Find info. about Salmonella below.) A follow-up inspection found deficiencies in the packaging and manufacturing processes.” Merrick issued a press release about the recall on a Friday. (Friday night press releases happened all the time during the huge melamine contamination recalls. Friday nights were late nights for me during that time because recalls would be issued in the middle of the night on Fridays so the stories would get minimal coverage. It’s a tradition in business and government.) There is no sign Merrick has done anything to better insure the safety of their product and there’s no word on how to get your money back. Swell.
The recalled product is:
Beef Filet Squares Dog Treats—Item # 60016 / Lot Code “9323 best buy 111911” in 10 ounce green, red & tan resealable plastic bag
Setting a good example
Moving on to the atypical recall as performed by Nature’s Variety. Results from their own testing done by an outside facility showed possible salmonella contamination. (Find info. about Salmonella below.) Nature’s Variety announced the recall on a Thursday and when they expanded the recall, they announced it on a Monday, insuring maximum news coverage. Nature’s Variety has instituted new safety measures using High Pressure Pasteurization and practices “a test and hold protocol to ensure that all High Pressure Pasteurized Raw Frozen Diets test negative for harmful bacteria before being released for sale.” The expanded recall was done to remove any product made before the new safety measures were in place. To get a refund or replacement, bring your receipt or empty package in a sealed bag to your local retailer.
A company taking responsibility for the safety of its product and providing customer service??? What a concept! Are you paying attention Merrick?
The recall includes the following products with a “Best If Used By” date of 10/29/10 or 11/9/10: