Media release: Raw Meaty Bone Lobby of Concerned Veterinarians, 19 February 1997

Please explain.

We heard it on the ABC so it must be true.

Why was a four part series of Science Show programmes written and presented by a consultant to one of the world's largest artificial pet food companies?
(Broadcast 12.40 p.m. February 1,8,15,22. Repeats 7.10 p.m. Monday 3,10,17,24.)

Is it true that the Mars Group of artificial pet food and confectionery companies, in an attempt to thwart rising anti-pet sentiments, is actively financing 'research' and promotion of the alleged benefits of pet ownership?

Does the company boast that it feeds one third of the world's pets? Does the company control 60 to 70% of the Australian artificial pet food market?

Why were the listeners not told that the author and presenter of the programmes works for the Petcare Information and Advisory Service (PIAS), a division of the Mars group of companies?

Would the listeners know that PIAS has offices in every state and is otherwise concerned with promoting 'educational' programmes within primary schools?

Does the Science Show executive staff know these things?

If the listeners knew these things would they approve?

The eight programmes would have cost a great deal to produce. Who paid?

The eight programmes would have cost a great deal to air. Who paid?

Various pieces of 'research' were featured. Who paid for that 'research'?

How much is six hours and forty minutes of advertising on ABC Radio National worth?

Various commentators were interviewed. Is there or has there been any financial connection between those commentators and the artificial pet food companies?

Is it true that the pet food representative has contributed to the Science Show since 1994?

The same reporter can frequently be seen presenting TV advertisements on the commercial channels. Does this accord with ABC policy?

Does this form of programme represent the common standard for Science Show reporting?

The ABC Science Show has been repeatedly informed regarding the gathering evidence of the devastating animal health, human economy and environmental consequences of the feeding of artificial pet food. Commercial radio and TV have investigated and substantiated these allegations. Why has the Science Show chosen to allow a pet food industry spokesperson to make light of these allegations and simultaneously present a view favourable to her wealthy employer?

We believe that the multi-national artificial pet food industry has infiltrated and damaged too many of our national institutions. We repeat our call for the immediate establishment of a full committee of enquiry with the broadest terms of reference.

Dr Tom Lonsdale, Riverstone, NSW Tel. 02 9627 4011
Dr Alan Bennet, Bligh Park, NSW Tel. 045 87 7177
Dr Ian Billinghurst, Lithgow, NSW Tel. 063 522 822
Dr Breck Muir, Long Jetty, NSW Tel. 043 32 6026

PS. You can catch the final instalment on Radio National 12.40 p.m. Saturday 22 February, repeat at 7.10 p.m. Monday 24 February, and the ABC book will be available in June. (Unless there is prior managerial intervention)