Pet Food Insider Sold Shares Before Recall

There is more discomforting news this week regarding the pet food crisis. The Tuesday, April 10, Toronto Globe and Mail included an article, by Keith McArthur, headed "Pet food insider sold shares before recall; CFO calls sale a 'coincidence'." (pg B1)

The article opens:
"The chief financial officer of Menu Foods Income Fund says it's a 'horrible coincidence' that he sold nearly half his units in the troubled pet food maker less than three weeks before a massive recall of tainted pet food.

"Insider trading reports show that Mark Wiens sold 14,000 units for $102,900 on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27. Those shares would be worth $62,440 today, based on yesterday's close of $4.46 a unit.

"That represented 45 per cent of Mr. Wiens's units..."

We read:
"Mr. Wiens said the first reports of illnesses and deaths related to Menu Foods products came in to the company's toll-free customer relations line in late February. But he said he did not hear of any possible problem with the company's products until early March."

Jay Strosberg, a Windsor, Ont., lawyer who has filed a lawsuit against Menu Foods on behalf of a woman whose six-year-old cat died of kidney failure on Feb. 22 is quoted:

"At this point in time, we have absolutely no information about what the company knew or when they knew it. That information would not be disclosed to us until we're further along in the class action."

You'll find the whole article on line at:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070410.wxrmenu10/BNStory/Business/home

The Wednesday, April 11 Washington Post carries the story on page D3, headed, "Pet Food Officer Sold Stock Before Recall."
That article tells us, "Meanwhile, a large veterinary hospital chain said it saw a 30 percent increase in kidney failure among cats during the three months that contaminated pet food was on the market, supporting the belief among pet owners and animal doctors that adulterated food has sickened or killed far more pets than officially recognized."

It ends with:
"Pet owners have complained that Menu Foods should have acted more quickly after the first complaints or after it realized it might have a problem in mid-February. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) is to hold a hearing tomorrow on the controversy and on the FDA's investigation."

(Of course we read at the top of piece that the CFO did indeed act quickly in one way -- but that was an unfortunately timed coincidence.)

The story is on the Washington Post website at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/10/AR2007041001691.html

The story is on the USA Today website under the heading "Menu Foods CFO sold shares weeks before pet food recall" at
http://www.usatoday.com/money/markets/2007-04-11-cfo-sold-pet-food-shares_N.htm
It might be in USA Today's print edition, and in many other papers, on Thursday.

This sad scenario opens the door for letters to the editor of every paper, discussing any aspect of the way our society treats members of other species.

But why not get in the habit of sending to your local media?

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Remember that shorter letters are more likely to be published. And please be sure not to use any exact comments or phrases from me or from any other alerts in your letters. Editors are looking for original responses from their readers.

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