Mars Petcare or Hurricane Sandy: Which is More of a Disaster?

Mars Petcare, of Pedigree dog food and Whiskas cat food fame, funded an American Humane Association Red Star rescue team to provide aid for pets endangered by Hurricane Sandy. To this end, they sent "Lucy," an 82-food "rescue rig" operated by 12 volunteers to the northeast  through "a $200,000 sponsorship with the American Humane Association."

Mars Vice President Debra Fair expressed her excitement at the prospect of working with the American Humane Association Red Star to save "thousands of lives, reunite families torn apart by forces beyond their control, and help affected communities become whole again."

We can subtract this latest effort from the undue suffering tab Mars opened in 2007, when the FDA recalled the company's products after 66 cases of Salmonella turned up in five-pound bags of Krasdale Gravy Dry Dog Food. They had to close a whole plant down and clean it out afterward.

In 2008, a second Salmonella outbreak in the Special Kitty Gourmet Blend and Ol’ Roy Meaty Chunks ‘N Gravy elicited a voluntary recall of Mars products at area Wal-Marts in 15 states.

Just as they managed to get the Salmonella issue under control, bits of shredded plastic began appearing in the company's pet food products. In July 2012, Mars had to "recall of a limited range of three varieties of PEDIGREE® weight management canned dog food products due to a potential choking risk" the shredded plastic presented.

Considering the pet food company's history with the FDA, and that PETA puts in their two cents on them as well for inhumane product testing, it starts to seem like Mars is decent competition for the hurricane itself in terms of net suffering from the perspective of an animal.

And like disasters of the natural stripe, Mars threatens animal and human alike, with a wrongful death at their facility and a discriminatory termination in 2010, should we choose to believe the involved plaintiffs' allegations in these cases?

Why put all this energy into high- profile rescue missions instead of cleaning up horrible business practices?