Saturday, March 24, 2007

Vast Right Wing or Maybe Left Wing Pet Food Recall

I am pleased to announce that upon my triumphant return home from harrowing domestic travels, my pets greeted me with the utmost in health and fervor. Apparently they had yet to succumb to another vast and sinister conspiracy spearheaded by evil pet food manufacturers. What is the latest? Rat poison detected in pet food may be the cause of the untimely demise of several cats and one dog. I have tried in vain to contact representatives of both the cat and dog unions but their representatives seem tied up in yarn balling and the burying of rancid bones. I also tried contacting a PETA representative but all available members are apparently spending time on a wicked and violent campaign that urges citizens to murder and consume the living flesh of lettuce and a few other pulpy vegetables.

I left home three weeks ago and delivered 50,000 pounds of green peas to a pet food manufacturer in Columbia, South Carolina. I arrived at the plant early Monday morning in the hopes of facilitating an efficient delivery. I am usually wrong in hoping for such nonsense. At the unloading facility I checked for the appropriate personnel for an hour and one half before contacting security and alerting them that no employees manifested themselves in the area. After much stewing and brewing two workers from the warehouse arrived to take charge of my unloading process. Apparently the man responsible to be on shift at my arrival time had done a "Peter Pan" off of a bridge deck on his Harley the night before and no one knew he lay in critical condition at a local hospital with what I would guess to be "moderate to severe" scratches. Modern product movement systems are usually controlled by a central computer system. The operator simply clicks on the product, selects which floor pit will be utilized for the unloading process, and finally chooses which bin to store the product in. After that analytical maze, giant augers and cups beneath the ground in the unloading pit transfer the product or "leg" it up and over to the appropriate storage facility. Those poor fellows poked and plugged and beeped through computer keys until the pit augers burped, spit dust, and finally whirred to life. They sampled the load via two dixie cups which I found relief in knowing were not intended as a random drug test for me. I had just used the restroom minutes earlier.

By midweek I found myself in beautiful Russellville, Arkansas which lies south of the Ozarks and just a spit north of,.............. well I guess just a spit north of southern Arkansas. I always wanted to say "just a spit north of." I loaded what is coined "chicken meal" for transport to yet another pet food manufacturing plant in Victorville, California. Basically the earthly remains of poultry are incinerated and then ground into a fine powder that stinks to kingdom come. It sure is worth paying for the overpriced stuff once it is in a dog food sack. You're only paying about a 200% markup for this gruel. No wonder my dog prefers table scraps and only eats dog food when his ribs begin to show. You always can tell which trucks have meat and bone meal on board because the trip is almost always carried out with an entourage of flies and stray dogs. Truck stop attendants are always eager to wait on a driver that has struggled to shovel off a load of this hellish and foul substance. As I stand covered in this ghoulish beige powder I have to waft the flys away just to communicate intelligibly. At any rate, the plant rejected my load because its moisture content exceeded acceptable levels. I just transported rotting chicken entrails 1500 miles in temperatures reaching 95 degrees in Needles, California and they're worried about moisture content? I can accept a rejection based on stinky content or gross content but moisture content seemed a bit silly. At any rate I hauled the rotting flesh to back from whence it came.

To make a tediously long story short, most pet food manufacturing plants have far more stringent product standards than do companies that accept food for human consumption. It just goes to show how out of whack everything is. My company usually makes more money from the transportation of pet food than human food. While we all struggle to make a living the focus of the industry seems to center around the accidental deaths of a few pets. It's a pet food conspiracy I tell you. Pet food manufacturers intentionally poisoned those animals so that they could lose business and profits based on gargantuan price markups. I think not.

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