Are pets stakeholders under business ethics analysis? Yes. Why is that? Theoretically a pet cannot buy a product. However, a pet does express preferences in products, particularly what they eat. So, pets do exercise choices as consumers as pet owners all know.
But they are stakeholders in another sense, by their existence they establish a need. So, when a manufacturer of pet treats kills pets, he kills his market.
I do not believe a rational argument can be made on behalf of pet killing by purchased treat. It might be a Friedman type thing where profit is foremost and you don’t kill enough of the market to mar your income. Of course, once again, that would suggest that businesses are not any good at or are very bad at self-regulation.
Simple business ethics, and I’m talking very simple here, very basic says, “Don’t kill the client.”
When businesses fail this basic test, and do not act to fix the problem, then the government has to step in. While this government action is late, it is welcome. I hope it works.
Amid pet deaths, FDA finally proposes new food safety rules – Salon.com
As the Food and Drug Administration continues to come up short on a possible explanation for the deaths of nearly 600 pets nearly six years after they were first linked to imported jerky treats, the federal agency is at last getting around to passing rules for pet and animal feed that would help prevent contamination before it begins. The Associated Press reports:
The proposed rules would require those who sell pet food and animal feed in the United States — including importers — to follow certain sanitation practices and have detailed food safety plans. All of the manufacturers would have to put individual procedures in place to prevent their food from becoming contaminated.
The rules would also help human health by aiming to prevent foodborne illnesses in pet food that can be transferred to humans. People can become sick by handling contaminated pet food or animal feed.
From around the web.
From the web site,
On Sunday, Senator Brown held another news conference at the Ohio Humane Society in Hilliard Ohio about tainted chicken jerky treats from China. It was Brown’s second public statement to the Food and Drug Administration regarding the treats that are reported to have been causing illness and death in pets across the country.
The conference on February 19 came in the wake of 400 new complaints to the FDA about pets becoming ill after eating the treats. Although the FDA has been trying to find the contaminant causing the illnesses, they have been unable to pinpoint the specific toxicant. As a result, manufacturers have not been required by law to remove the products from store shelves, keeping the potentially dangerous treats readily available to the public.
In December of 2008, when pets began falling ill in Australia, University of Sydney researchers made an epidemiological connection linking the illnesses to the consumption of chicken treats imported from China. Australian dog treat importer KraMar withdrew its Supa Naturals Chicken breast strips from the Australian market as a precaution, even though a specific toxicant wasn’t pinpointed.