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Friday, April 20, 2007

Don’t Feed The Dog, Yet

This from a recent email. The contaminated materials coming from China seems to be expanding. Now it includes rice and corn, not simply wheat gluten. Keep checking the FDA list and stay tuned to find out what other brands of pet food have been contaminated. Not to mention human food.

Ann,

The dog food recall continues to expand to include Venison formulas from Natural Balance and Blue Buffalo kitten food. Here’s a quote from a Forbes article posted at this link:

http://www.forbes.com/forbeslife/health/feeds/hscout/2007/04/19/hscout603892.html

In another development, it appears that some of the contaminated rice protein concentrate made its way in to hog feed. The extent of the problem isn't known. It's also not known if hogs fed the contaminated food have made it into the human food chain, the FDA reported.
"We do understand that one of the companies that was manufacturing pet food had some pet food that was unfit for pets and it made its way into some hog feed," Sundlof said. "We are following up on that."
Meanwhile in South Africa, melamine has been found in Royal Canin pet food company's Vets Choice and Royal Canin dry dog and cat food sold exclusively in South Africa and Namibia. The source of the melamine appears to be from corn gluten imported from China, according to published reports.
The FDA believes that the pet food product contamination might be intentional. Melamine can make it appear that the protein content of the wheat or corn gluten or protein concentrate is higher than it actually is.
"We are aware that melamine can increase protein content," Sundlof said. "It's still a theory, but it seems to be a plausible one. The motivation would be economic in that you can take a product that is low in protein and would not qualify for the designation as protein supplement and make it appear that it has a high protein content so it can be sold at a higher price."
FDA representatives are hoping to go to China to investigate the manufacturers of these products. However, they have not yet been able to clear the diplomatic hurdles that would make the trip possible.
More information
For more information on pet food, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

WHY are we buying wheat from China? We have wheat in our own country. We even sell wheat to other countries.

I cannot see why we do not take care of America's needs first, before we sell out commodities to other countries. We sell to them, they do not take care of that commodity, then they sell it BACK to us, for pet food.

What complete nonsense.

We need to be supplying America with commodities that are the freshest, the best, that we can provide.

We need to make our "excess" (ONLY) available to foreign markets.

America for Americans.

And, for our pets. When will it end? When some manufacturer of frozen pasta purchases tainted wheat from a foreign country, that originally purchased pure wheat from the US, but stored it inadequately?

AMERICA, WAKE UP!! SELL THE GOOD STUFF TO AMERICANS!!!!

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"And, for our pets. When will it end? When some manufacturer of frozen pasta purchases tainted wheat from a foreign country, that originally purchased pure wheat from the US, but stored it inadequately?"

The expanded story on this now seems to be shaping up as an old, old story: Greed. Using this toxic substance to get a false reading on the "protein" so as to sell shoddy goods at a higher price. Old, old story. Matter of fact, wasn't it old Frank Norris who exposed this sort of stuff going on in the packing houses of Chicago in his famous book way back when? What the heck was it called? Not "Octapus," whihc, as I recall was about the robber barons' railroads. But was about the meat packing indunstry in the Chicago stockyards, good old Swift and other now-famous brands, & etc.

Anyway, it was a book that shocked Americans and helped lead to the formation of the FDA and other government watchdogs, that are now asleep at the switch as corporations are free to do what they will and maybe the government will catch up with them only when pets start dying?

I remember reading a squib in the Times that said, the FDA cannot order a recall of anything. Recalls are strictly voluntary, though the FDA can issue warnings to the public and urge a recall -- but not mandate one.

Huh? Can this possibly be true?

Ron said...

Great comment, Ann.

Greed. Figures, and sure does explain a lot.

"... wasn't it old Frank Norris who exposed this sort of stuff going on in the packing houses of Chicago in his famous book way back when? What the heck was it called?"

Frank Norris's The Epic of Wheat trilogy:

* The Octopus: A California Story (1901) — describes the raising of wheat in California and the conflict between the wheat growers and a railway company; Norris was inspired by the events surrounding the Southern Pacific Railroad Mussel Slough Tragedy.

* The Pit (1903) — the second novel in the trilogy, about wheat speculation within the Chicago Board of Trade.

* The third novel, Wolf, was never written but was to have shown the American-grown wheat relieving a famine-stricken village in Europe.

*pg-13 said...

Well, uh, yeah, greed is a powerful and compelling human trait. Been here since the beginning of humanity. Not likely to change any time soon I suppose as it is a universal trait. As the global marketplace continues to expand to the point there are no effective boundaries then it all becomes a homogenous mess. A giant glob of uncertainty. Its not just dog and cat food. Who knows what we put into our mouths everyday? Where it came from? where its been? Who's responsible for it? Pick a can. Any can. Or a box. Or a bag. From anywhere along any aisle in the grocery store. Then read the label and try to discern just what the H* is really in that can/box/bag and where it came from and where its been, and who's ultimately responsible for it? Apparently its not the name on the package. Too many lawyers backpeddling in damage control to allow much blame to be placed on the *big* label. Did anybody else notice how quickly the fault of this fiasco got moved to China? I'm sure there's still some litigation (or corporate buy off) to run its coarse. Until the next one. And the next one.

And then I just want to gag when I hear how our government food protection services are so diligently protecting the rights of the suppliers (be it beef, foul, vegetable or any other re-packagers) from disclosing where their product came from and what kind of processing it has undergone. Peeling back the subterfuge, they say the American public just doesn't want to be bothered by this kind of detail. To use a German phrase: 'Est macht nicht' (it matters not). And, of course, the food processing businesses are paying them off big time to say that (read: they own the process). When organic farmers can not legally advertise their products as such without government interference, when organic dairys cannot appropriately distinguish their product from the other dairy products on the shelf, when any product cannot distinguish itself by right of source or means from the other products on the shelf (see: radiated meat, genetically altered & sourced product, .... anything other than the government defined de-facto industry standard) then we have no choice but to blindly buy whatever is presented to us in the store. And this is what we get. Food that kills. Welcome to the new world.

Yet another thought. As I've been following the numerous pet food recalls I wonder why isn't there ONE web site we can go to to get all the info? The Menu Foods recall page documented only those companies to which they sourced their tainted product. Interestingly not even that list is complete. For example, some time after the fact - well after the initial Menu Foods declaration - Purina finally owned up that some of their product was tainted by the same bad source. But Purina still isn't on the Menu Foods watch list. Why? Because Purina's recall is 'voluntary' . Somehow that makes a difference. Purina's product was made with the same ingredients by Menu Foods but because they called their recall a voluntary recall before it made Menu Foods list they don't get listed on Menu Foods list. Go figure. Check it out: www.purina.com. Drill down past the many layers of marketing and damage-control hype and there it is:

> Nestlé Purina's Immediate Response:
Within hours of the March 30 FDA announcement of the melamine contamination, Nestlé Purina determined that a limited quantity of the FDA-identified contaminated wheat gluten had been used in specific, limited production runs at one of Purina's 17 pet food manufacturing facilities. The company then notified the FDA and immediately began the recall process of limited quantities of Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy canned dog food with specific date codes. Nestlé Purina has strict quality assurance procedures that provide for traceability of ingredients and isolation of finished products, which enabled it to determine that the contaminated wheat gluten was not used in any other Purina products manufactured at its other facilities. The affected Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy and Mighty Dog pouch products, produced by Menu Foods, have been recalled from retail stores.


But do you see any Purina products on the Menu Foods recall page? Not the last many several times I've looked. Seems Purina gets to fly under the radar. If you go to their website you get lots of marketing blarney and, if you are persistant, you finally learn the truth about some of their product. And only then can you choose not to feed your dog their product. But this is now weeks after the initial recall. Get real! Somebody, somewhere really needs to be fired! And some standard business operating procedures need to be re-written!

Sadly, the US Food and Drug Admin website noted in Ann's blog is just as clueless. Lots of pretty pictures & distracting links and statements about how hard they are working to protect you and your pets. But nowhere on this page or in their links can you find the Purina recall info.

*pg-13 said...

PS - I meant to add this last line to my previous commnet:

> Does anybody know of a website which documents ALL of the known tainted foods and voluntary recalls and any others notices?

Anonymous said...

I guess everyone is starting to understand the incompentency of government and yet there are those who would rely on government.

Feed your dogs and cats what you eat, save money, and give them a balanced diet. You treat your pets as four legged children with fur. Feed them accordingly!

Anonymous said...

By the way. Look to proper care of your pets teeth! Very close to the brain. Brush your babies teeth! And get a vet to remove the tarter. Milk bone helps, chews help, but dogs and cats need and deserve dental care.

Everyone forgets or has not even considered this.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 6:14PM:

I have looked for critter toothbrushes. My horse's teeth look awful. I cannot find anything on the market either in pet stores or on the internet. Same with smaller pet toothbrushes.

Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Human tooth brushes come in many sizes. Children's toothbrushes are available also. Try your local drug store.

A toothbrush is a toothbrush.

Churadogs said...

Anony sez:"I have looked for critter toothbrushes. My horse's teeth look awful. I cannot find anything on the market either in pet stores or on the internet. Same with smaller pet toothbrushes.

Any suggestions?"

I think KV Vet or Care A Lot catalogues carry doggie toothbrushes and paste. Should be able to google them. I'm surprised that Lemos Ranch can't get them for you? Pet Smart? Pet Co? They're pretty standard now. don't know about horse toothbrushes though.

PG-13's comments above leave out one key point: We The People ARE our government. So long as we keep electing congresspeople who are in the corporate pocket, we'll get what corporation wish to feed us. As I noted, I thought I read a snipped from the L.A. times that said the FDA cannot mandate a recall of posioned food, -- merely suggest it, and, as PG-13 noted, Purina is flying under the radar because of the way the rules are written. And who writes the rules? Yep, congress. And who elects the congressmen who write the rules? Yep, We The People.

That's the ultimate irony and tragedy. We get exactly the crap we ask for and allow. So if the government drug regulators are in bed with the corporate drug manufacturers and the drugs that get the government o.k. turn out to be deadly and you die, oh, well, too bad. Clearly, most Americans aren't able to connect the dots. Their dogs are the canaries in their own coal mines.

Anonymous said...

Since the US Government is so corrupt, I wonder why you continue to live here. Is anarchy your ideal?

4crapkiller said...

To ANN:

Where do you think the wealth of this country comes from? The government consumes but creates no wealth. Corporations are made up of people, get that? There are not a bland bunch of idiots running the corporations, otherwise they would be out of business. The people who work for corporations get pay checks and pay taxes. Corporations pay taxes, and the people who invest in corporations pay taxes on dividends. Union members are well invested in corporations.

Because they create wealth and do not consume, they influence politicians. You produce words and probably receive Social Security as a reward for some sort of productive service in the PAST.

As long as we continue to elect lawyers as congress people we will get the crap.

I think your communist-socialist-liberal ideas do not make sense. If these ideas were so good, we all would be working on a commune. The communes were not so good in Russia.

If you are so dissatisfied with our regulated capitalistic system, move to a communist country. Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam come to mind.

Life in these countries is not so grand.

If this was the socialistic republic of the US, the incompetence would be far worse, nepotism rampant, and the government would be in the hands of those who crack the whip on the backs of slaves for production.

However, I enjoyed your "not to well thought out" comments.

By the way, communism has only succeeded with nuns and monks, and what do they have: none.

The only time I really think of government corruption is when I listen to Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, Nancy Polosi, Schumer and the rest of the liberals. They are all wealthy people, and give the poor words and a bone with no meat in order to buy their votes. Corporations give their people a pay check. The workers are not on communes, if they are not satisfied, they can move and work elsewhere.

And you think this pet food thing is deliberate? Look at the losses taken by corporations in non saleable goods that will have to be destroyed.

However, government and corporations are composed of people. The corporations are influenced by shareholders, and government by voters, corporations, lobbiests, unions, etc. It all comes from people.

Only in Los Osos does it comes from a small group of fools who never considered the consequences of their actions. You egged these people on and still support them.

*pg-13 said...

Gadzooks!

Kinda hard to pick up after a 4Crappie screed. Shrapnel everywhere. Not sure where to even begin. Not even sure beginning is a good idea at all. < sigh > But some response seems in order. I really don't want to start a manifesto festival but ..... trying to glue the various blown-asunder pieces together I get:

Thread #1 - Business is inherently better than government.
4Crapkill says> Where do you think the wealth of this country comes from? The government consumes but creates no wealth. .... Because they (business) create wealth and do not consume, they influence politicians. .... As long as we continue to elect lawyers as congress people we will get the crap.

Ipso facto: Any government is bad. Ayn Rand business is good. So get out of the way and let business rule the world. See my previous comment about greed being a a universal, powerful and compelling human trait not likely to change anytime soon and how it is playing out in the pet food industry. So, uh, given the recent past does anybody think the pet food industry should be given a pass and allowed to run without any oversight or jurisprudence? Question: Do you have a pet? Are you willing to bet his/her/their life on your politico-economic beliefs? So, uh, well yeah those companies who prove themselves honorable and trustworthy will rise to the top and survive in a free market. But nobody ever seems to talk about the time constant of corporate shake-out. And the suffering and lives lost while that dynamic is occuring. And forever re-occuring given the dynamics of human nature and free market shake out. In Ayn Rand's theoretical world it works. In reality, in real time, there are costs to be paid to work these things out. A self-regulating free-market system is only efficient in a dollars and sense way. It is not particularly efficient in human capital. This is where government and the rule of law comes in. I don't deny I think government has become overly bloated. We have way too much of it than an effective - much less efficient - system can stand. But some supervisory oversight of the free markjet is required. I'll meet 4Crspkiller part way. Government doesn't create wealth - it does tend to consume it - but some minmal amount of government mitigates the excess and wide swings and slow dampening of market balancing. Gawd, I hate being put in the position of having to defend government. Government is not efficient. It is very inefficient. Illegal and mis-begotten government is even more so. But well founded wealth can afford to pay that burdened overhead. It is a dynamic balance. And just because we happen to be living in days when that balance is skewed toward socialism for the first time in human history don't be deceived that it is necessarily all wrong. Given a chance it will swing back and forth - hopefully not swinging toooo far one way or the other - least a revolution will be needed to set it aright. Although truth be told - as anybody who has been following my comments will remember - I believe revolution is not only necessary but also generally healthy when it comes to that. Still, hopefully, it is the last option as it tends to get messy.

Ooops, where was I? Let's see.

$CrapKill > I think your communist-socialist-liberal ideas do not make sense. If these ideas were so good, we all would be working on a commune. The communes were not so good in Russia. If you are so dissatisfied with our regulated capitalistic system, move to a communist country. Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam come to mind. Life in these countries is not so grand.

Oh Gawd, here we go again. The American Capitlalist Screed: If you don't like it move to the piss holes of the world. Why don't you offer us the opportunity to move to Denmark, Sweden or even Canada instead? Or a dozen other social democratic countries with across-the-board higher standards of life - however you measure it - than the great U.S. of A? Please, get over yourselves. You're living in the past. The US of A is no longer - uh, hasn't been for a couple of decades - the epitome of wealth, healthy living, literacy, medical care, etc. We're running on fumes. The pure relative immensity of our previous mass-momentum of resources, wealth, education and military power have allowed us to coast. And we've been coasting on our past. The reality is America is - in the eyes of and compared to the rest of the world - not what it used to be. Indeed, to borrow a phrase :"we've spent our political (economic & philosopical) capital". Telling people if you don't like our greatness then move to ...... no longer cuts it. That's a tired, over-used phrase with no meaning except to those who have been using it mindlessly for far too long. I suggest you wake up, look around and recenter your reality. Better yet, I suggest you buy a ticket and travel outside the walls of your cloistered reality. You will be surprised how much the world has changed in the last 30 years. You won't recognize it but that is indeed today's world. Get used to it.

Oh god, I am so sorry. I got carried away. Sorry. I'll stop now. bye.

4crapkiller said...

To PG-13:

Plase go to:

https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/rankorder/2004rank.html

This gives you a ranking of personal income by country. Quality of life for most of us other than monks or nuns is mostly defined by what we earn and can buy to satisfy our needs. Vacations, cars, food, housing, etc.

The US is #10 on the list. There are no socialistic countries above it. In fact, most of the countries above it give significant tax breaks to outside investment and internal and external corporations.

Denmark is #14 (oil), Canada #16, Sweeden #26, UK #28, Russia #81, China #109, Cuba #146, Vietnam #157, and N. Korea #188.

You can peruse every country and you will note some vast differences. When you buy a new car anywhere, the difference in cost is not great.

While Americans are free to move anyplace else, most countries deny work permits and deny immigration unless one moves with capital to invest, or has a pension to support him/her. You can get a tourist visa for a limited stay however.

If you think we are running on fumes, your assumptions are based on speculation without documentation.

It is clear that our regulated capitalist system has done well for us. Far better than for other countries.

Your liberal-communistic-socialistic ideas do not work. Please remember that Unions by nature are socialistic, and doctors belong to a Union called the AMA, teachers to a Union, and government workers and lawyers also. And you complain about education, medical care etc.

I think the concepts of Karl Marx have enslaved a lot of people and have been proven to be "pie in the sky".

Yes, we have "we've spent our political (economic & philosopical) capital". However, we have spent it to help others and continue to do so. Denmark and Sweeden would not exist if not for our entry into WW2. You will also note that Canada, Sweeden, and Denmark rely on the US to keep world order. They spend very little of their GNP to support a military.

"Telling people if you don't like our greatness then move to ...... no longer cuts it."

Oh yeah? I will continue to say this to the critics of America from within. At the same time I will tell them to get to work and make something of themselves. Millions wish to move here, and I do not see millions wishing to abandon ship.

Americans are not stupid. Take your socialistic/liberal/progressive ideas back to where they came from and were developed. These ideas only compound human suffering.

*pg-13 said...

To 4CrapKiller:

I think you might be surprised by my political leanings and my backgrond. I'm not quite the pinko, liberal, communistic, socialistic you claim me to be. Those labels seem to roll off your tongue and through your fingers without much additional thought. Be careful, fingers typing before the mind's engaged suggests old habits running amok. I try not to use pre-licked labels. They seldom say what I am thinking. Still I appreciate your fair rejoinder. Thank you. Although I can't agree with your conclusion: "Americans are not stupid. Take your socialistic/liberal/progressive ideas back to where they came from and were developed. These ideas only compound human suffering." No, being far from stupid, we are living in a continuation of our founding father's system. We are forever remaking our system to fit our current world. Some thoughts in return:

> Plase go to the: (CIA World Factbook). This gives you a ranking of personal income by country. Quality of life for most of us other than monks or nuns is mostly defined by what we earn and can buy to satisfy our needs.

Ah, spoken like a true market-driven capitalist! The value of life reduced to what we can buy. And if we can't buy it it doesn't count. Maybe for you but not for me. (Monks and nuns not-with-standing.) And that is probably where our paths diverge. To me there is much more to life than products. Don't get me wrong. I like products. I'm a prodigious consumer. I consume waaaaay more than my fair share of the world's resources. As an American it's sort of a natural national right, right? I honor (indeed, I love) our national fore-fathers who broke free of millenia of habituated limited thought to create a new governing system. Please note, they created a new governing system. They, in their manifest wisdom, realized the reality of systems prevailed over pure political and economic philosophies. Systems work and evolve and change over time. They respond to changing circumstance. Philosopies much less so. I encourage you to trust and have faith in our system rather than tired, shelfworn bromides.

> You can peruse every country and you will note some vast differences. When you buy a new car anywhere, the difference in cost is not great.

Au contraire. Granted, buying an auto is relatively cheap in many places in the world. There is a glut of both new and used vehicles. However, I question whether you have bought, licensed and driven a car in many foreign countries. I remind you the cost of ownership is not just the purchase price. It is the full cost of ownership. The cost of fuel (relative to GDP/individual). The cost of licensing and the expense of .... parking (in Japan). Many areas of the world have no concept or model of liability insurance for driving such vehicles. Pity the poor pedestrian or bicyclist injured in an bike/auto accident. The auto drives on and the bicyclist (still a standard mode of transport in many parts of the world) is left to make of what they can of the rest of their debilitated life. This is the time factor of human suffering I noted in my previous comment. Social engineering is no less important than mechanical engineering in such situations. Please don't slight it.

> While Americans are free to move anyplace else, most countries deny work permits and deny immigration unless one moves with capital to invest, or has a pension to support him/her. You can get a tourist visa for a limited stay however.

You're correct. The rest of the world doesn't want Americans (or anybody else for that matter) - except as tourists - unless you come with your ticket punched and can add (significantly) to their GDP. We're one of the last of the relatively free borders. And that too is adding to our problem.

> If you think we are running on fumes, your assumptions are based on speculation without documentation.

So, what kind of documentation do you want? Yeah, we're still leading the parade. Even while the rest of the world watches aghast as we rush to the cliff. They respect the US of A even while they think we are absolutely bonkers. Please note, I said we are running on fumes. We 're still moving albeit more to mass momentum of the past than to staking a legitimate leadership role in the future. Your own GDP list proves that. Number 10 and dropping like a rock. Below Norway and Ireland. Adjust this list for department of defense, the costs of current (and near future) wars, catching up with long overdue healthcare and social security, and (as you note) largesse to the rest of the world and you will find we drop significantly down the list. We're spending capital we don't have. See Federal Budget.

> However, we have spent (our political capital) to help others and continue to do so. Denmark and Sweeden would not exist if not for our entry into WW2. You will also note that Canada, Sweeden, and Denmark rely on the US to keep world order. They spend very little of their GNP to support a military.

Yes. And they - one and all - are appreciative. This is a part of our capital we are now pissing away. These are the fumes we are running on. At some point the past has to be let go. They respect us, the want to honor us, they would prefer to support us but ..... sooner or later the past fades and their more immediate interests drive their decisions. 'Coalitionof the Willing'? Has there ever been a more lame rallying cry?

> I think the concepts of Karl Marx have enslaved a lot of people and have been proven to be "pie in the sky".

Oh harumph! Forget Karl Marx. Lame, lame, lame. He is so yesterday. There are worthy items of note in his economic philosophies. Likewise many other economic models. Note them and use them when/if appropriate. But please don't keep falling back on such labels of derision. You sound like Ronnie Reagon forever caught in the past. That was yesterday. Today is today. I choose to live in today.

Anonymous said...

Could you post some comparable auto prices for the same models as sold in different countries? I've traveled a bit and seem to remember some extremely high prices in Spain, England and throughout South America.

Churadogs said...

Interesting coloquy between PG-13 & 4Crapkiller. Two issues keep coming up; One an observation and the other a question:

Under our form of Government, We The People ARE the Government and so we can make it do what we wish (unless we're too lazy to look out for our own interests or the collective good of the Commons, in whihc case we get the crap our indifference creates, followed by the bill). Therefore, we can make government programs efficient, can make them run lean and mean, can keep them flexible, and ensure fair programs that get all of us pudding. HOW we set up the system will ensure either great management or lousy management. It's up to us.(Haven't I read somewhere that Medicare spends fewer dollars on administration and overhead than the private for-profit medical plans? If so, what's with that???)

And now the question: Why should I believe that government, which I control and can instruct what to do and how to do it by the power of my vote and attention, is evil and incompetent and intends to harm me, BUT I'm expected to believe that [fill in name of corporation here] would never, ever do anything to harm me because they love and value me and have taken my welfare and well being to heart and would never, EVER do anything to cheat or harm me, ever?

*pg-13 said...

Churadogs said >BUT I'm expected to believe that [fill in name of corporation here] would never, ever do anything to harm me because they love and value me and have taken my welfare and well being to heart and would never, EVER do anything to cheat or harm me, ever?

No, not quite. I'll speak for 4CrapKiller on this one. The marketplace is not driven by empathy, altruism or warm fuzzies. It is driven - pure and simple - by economic self-interest. In the marketplace people vote with their dollars more effectively, more efficiently and far more often than they do when they vote in the polls every 4 years following a campaign season of politcal hype and hoopla. In between those 4 year voting points we are represented by a system of representational government that is anything but representational. The government is for sale to the people only once every four years and is for sale to special interests the other three. In a free marketplace the people vote all the time - in real time - and, presumably, only those providing good product for the benefit of the buyer will survive in such an environment. It doesn't take too many trips to Walmart to see some of the weaknesses in that model.

In response to anon who asked > Could you post some comparable auto prices for the same models as sold in different countries?

I thought that an interesting question. And I'm hoping 4CrapKiller has a source to share. Surely, somewhere on the net is a definitive source comparing prices of select commodities in many different countries. And automobiles have to be one of the more comparable commodities. I mean, there's air, there's food and there's cars. Air is, for the most part free. (Although that might be changing soon.) Food, with the exception of McDonald hamburgers, Starbucks & Coca Cola, tends to be regional and not easily compared. So cars might be a good common denonminator through which to make some market comparisons between countries and cultures. Although even that won't work perfectly as cars being generally considered a big item purchase and expensive new cars a luxury item tend to have VAT's added to their sales price. I'm sure 4CrapKiller will be quick to point out that some countries (i.e., those pinko, commie, socialist ones) probably have higher VAT's. Which only serves them right. Of course what good is a 180+ MPH car if there aren't any good roads to drive it on? And around and around we go ;-)

I did a quick search and I did find a few interesting citations (all values converted to dollars):

British motorists pay significantly more for their cars than their European neighbours (except Germany which is most expensive of all). In the worst case scenario, certain cars are 60% more expensive in the UK than elsewhere in the EU. A few examples, comparing pre-tax costs in the UK to various countries: a Fiat Bravo is $7,614 cheaper in Denmark, A Ford Focus Ghia is $10,503 cheaper in Belgium, a Megane Scenic $8,602 cheaper in Holland. The pre-tax price of a Mazda 323 (converted to dollars) is $21056 in the UK, $14,812 in Greece, $12,536 in Denmark. (source)

Another interesting source (here compares the price of automobiles for all 31 countries in the EU, EFTA and candidate countries (from Iceland to to Slovakia). Another table compares the out-the-door price of automobiles as well as the household consumption expenditure for each country. No great surprises here but some interesting minor subleties. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland and Iceland (?) share a good lead in household expenditures and price of cars except for Switzerland and Sweden (!) who have pretty cheap car prices. Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Bulgaria have relatively low household expenditure but not so relatively low automobile prices.

All of this data is euro-centric. During my quickie search I wasn't able to find similar data for Asia, India, Africa or other locales. I have first hand knowledge about the cost of ownership of a car in Japan. Suffice to say it is hugely expensive. Three, four, maybe five times the cost of ownership in the US. Interestingly, the older the car the more expensive it becomes. A five year old car is prohibitively expensive to own (except for classics collectables). And oh, yeah. you can't license anything with a dent, scratched paint or rust. Imagine what that would do to your cost of ownership of your current vehicles?

4crapkiller said...

PG-13 did a good job on this.

Perhaps it would have been better to compare the prices of a single Chinese produced 150 cc motorcycle throughout the world.

Apparently this all comes down to taxation and national will. If a nation wishes its populace to use public transportation ( a lessening of freedom ) they will tax gasoline, cars, and motorcycles at a high rate. Of course their noses will be held to the grindstone if their subsidized public transportation is terrible and people complain. They will take the extra taxes and put them into services such as medical care, pensions, housing subsidy, etc.

I think the greatest cost in our economy comes from frivilous suits, and it affects medical care especially. In many countries with socialized medicine, these suits are not allowed. If we would pass laws requiring funds to be deposited to reimburse the winners before the suit could be accepted, it could help greatly. As it is now, anyone can sue anyone, and if they are indigent, the winner has no recourse to recoup costs.

The trial lawyers would never allow the passage of a law effecting this. Our government is controlled by lawyers who perpetuate themselves. And we actually vote for them. We pay a terrible price for this. Look at the amount of lawyers just in San Luis Obispo. This is your elete liberal class.

4crapkiller said...

To ANN who posts:

"Why should I believe that government, which I control and can instruct what to do and how to do it by the power of my vote and attention, is evil and incompetent and intends to harm me, BUT I'm expected to believe that [fill in name of corporation here] would never, ever do anything to harm me because they love and value me and have taken my welfare and well being to heart and would never, EVER do anything to cheat or harm me, ever?"

1. Get over it. Individual voters do not control government. Groups of voters depending on their resources can. Also a few lies or half truths can go a long way.

2. Corporation products and services can be boycotted, and held to the fire by public opinion.

3. Government has far more control over you than any corporation, and apparently government cannot even control itself or its employees.

*pg-13 said...

An insignificant side note with very little association to the original thread which was, what, pet food?

> Perhaps it would have been better to compare the prices of a single Chinese produced 150 cc motorcycle throughout the world.

I had the opportunity to spend 6+ weeks traveling through the PRC in the early 80's. A totally cool experience. But that's another story. While there I saw the coolest brand new old motorcycles. Chinese industry was still turning out brand new motorcycles based on a WWII German motorcycle design. Think brand new 1945 BMW's. Aside from the ugly brown color motif - something not even war time nazi's would condone - they were near perfect historical artifacts. I was so tempted to buy a dozen of them and take them back to Europe and sell them for a nice profit. What a marvelous juxtaposition. Exporting brand new industrial products from the People's Republic of China to (at that time) West Germany selling them WWII vintage German motorcycles at a huge a profit! Kinda boggles the mind doesn't it? < sigh >

Churadogs said...

4CK sez:"3. Government has far more control over you than any corporation, and apparently government cannot even control itself or its employees."

Actually it does so because we the people let it do so. Our government is only as good as We The People make it. If we're stupid and uninformed or lazy or can't connect the dots or don't care to connect the dots, then nature, abhoring a vacuum, will ensure that vested interests WILL connect those dots and WILL make sure they're in line to get pudding and WILL stick The Other Guy with the bill. So we get exactly what we demand or don't demand. People are now 'shocked" about the dog food scandal. They shouldn't be. They allowed corporations to set their own rules concerning food safety and ingredient safety & etc. If they're pets get poisoned, that simply the result of their failure to ensure that their welfare and their pets welfare came BEFORE corporate profit and require laws that would hold corporations accountable to more than just a slap on the wrist. We truly do get exactly what we deserve.