Saturday, July 28, 2012

SpyTrek 2004: The Secret History of Modern Espionage

by Kathy Kasten

The spy is called an eye because his work is through his eyes or because of his excessive preoccupation with observation, as if all his being is an eye. -- al-Qaeda Training Manual

The SpyRetreat™ Espionage Conference – which focused on the dark side of humanity's need to know what the other is doing – took place took place April 25 to April 30, 2004 against a backdrop of exquisite beauty and ultimate luxury. The rooms at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia – when not included in a package deal – cost $425.00 a night. The price allows guests access to hundreds of acres of the Virginia mountain ridges rising on either side of the hotel. We had come to hear about the desperate, lonely, egotistical and sometimes greedy depths to which humanity could sometimes sink.

The SpyRetreat was organized by the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CIC) of Alexandria, Virginia, which is staffed by retired intelligence experts, as well as historians and authors. The CIC, known for its counterintelligence training, also owns and operates the Spy Museum ( in Washington, D.C. Guests mingled with former FBI, CIA, military, KGB and other intelligence professionals in an intimate setting. I was most interested in the lectures dealing with al-Qaeda. I wanted to find out whether our government had figured out how to respond to al-Qaeda and terrorism.

Counterintelligence requires that its practitioners try to understand the motivation behind its acts of opposition. Just as the CIA, FBI, NSA, DoD, and other intelligence agencies search for the motives of America's enemies, the conspiracy theorist searches for the truth behind the weakening of the American vision. It is up to the conspiracy theorist to keep focused on this effort. It is the reason I regularly attend the spy retreats sponsored by the CIC.

Sunday: April 25, 2004.  In keeping with the SpyRetreat conference theme, "The Secret History of Modern Espionage," the hotel's evening film series featured movies with a spy theme. Each night the film was introduced by a CIC lecturer. The consensus among the audience and lecturers was that The Falcon and the Snowman was closest to the facts of the real case on which it was based. During the introduction to this movie by David Major, co-owner of CIC and ex-FBI agent, a comment he directed at me was misunderstood by some people in the audience. Apparently, our public exchanges had led a couple of NSA employees to think I was a deep undercover agent. They insisted I was hiding my real identity and attempted, by buying me drinks and telling "insider" jokes, to get me to confess. The more I protested, the more they insisted.

The film The Recruit, according to ex-CIA operations officer Peter Earnest, was a realistic portrayal of the recruitment and training of a deep cover operative. Oleg Kalugin, ex-Chief of the KGB and Director of Foreign Counter Intelligence, said he could relate to the Russian General's predicament in The Funeral in Berlin. The fourth movie was The Russian House. Nigel West, British author of many books on the spy game, thought the depiction of the support activity of MI6 was very accurate. I would recommend these four films to readers who want to have a better understanding of how the game of spying works.

Cold War Cable Messages

Monday: April 26, 2004.  The first lecture, given by Nigel West, was titled "Venona Revisited." The lecture focused on World War II Russian translated secret cable messages relating to the U.S. atomic bomb program, which were released to the public by the NSA in 1995. The decoding of the cables was so important that the Soviets penetrated "Arlington Hall" starting in 1943 to assess how much American intelligence had discovered through the cables. The cables proved that people employed in various capacities in early atomic research were Communist agents. Ernst Lawrence, of Lawrence-Livermore Laboratory at Berkeley, was sharing his work with both the American and Soviet governments. Most of Dr. Lawrence's employees were Communists. Further, West revealed that Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were not the only ones spying on the project: forty-three spies had penetrated the Manhattan Project.

The point of the Venona project is that many spies posted to these projects are still alive and living in the United States, having never been caught, and some work in the highest levels of government. West said that his book, Venona: The Greatest Secret of the Cold War, names names. Judging from his lecture, declassifying these cables is changing our understanding of America's Cold War relationship with Russia.

The Story of Theresa Squillacote

The next lecture, presented by Dr. Paul D. Moore (FBI China Analyst for 20 years), was titled "Cloak and Blabber: A Story of Espionage and Very Loose Lips," and involved people from my hometown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where I worked and attended classes. Parts of Milwaukee are still entrenched in their German ways, and this may explain why friends Theresa Squillacote, Kurt Stand and, later, James Clark would want to spy for the East German intelligence service. Theresa claimed that the "ideological legacy of their families led them to pursue spying for East Germany." 1

Theresa Squillacote was a very ambitious and highly neurotic young woman. She had a birth defect that required her to wear a prosthetic leg and made her the center of attention throughout her childhood. Her desire to become a super spy was part of her adulthood need to stay in the center of attention. The three friends had belonged to the Young Workers Liberation League. Stand wrote for the New German Review, which was described by a former UWM radical as "an incredibly dense Marxist journal." It was through the meticulous record keeping of the Stasi that an FBI agent, who read and spoke German, uncovered the three spies.

The files came to light in forty-one concrete buildings in East Berlin after German reunification. The three spies were captured after the collapse of East Germany, following Theresa's attempts to contact the South African government and the KGB, as she simultaneously climbed the career ladder in the Pentagon. Theresa was so willing to ingratiate herself with someone she thought was a South African intelligence officer that she blabbed. The trigger used by the FBI to catch the three is known as a "false flag." This technique is based on a careful profiling of the targets. Her profile included her need to have a government job with security and a chance to live a greater "reality." Theresa had very strong ego needs. The false flag agent played to those needs.

False flag operatives can be FBI, CIA or Military Intelligence agents posing as foreign agents. Journalist Bruce Kennedy has suggested that terrorist Al-Zarqawi served as such an agent. In an article titled "Al-Zarqawi, An American False Flag Operative," Kennedy states: "To rouse public opinion to support America's colonial war effort, the U.S. intelligence community has created its own terrorist organization."

According to Kennedy, Al-Zarqawi has a starring role in U.S. intelligence diversions to control the press and keep the spin on terrorist events around the world, which in turn keeps Americans vested emotionally in the "War on Terror." One of the clues to this scenario, according to Kennedy, is that some of the terrorist events turn out to be "hoaxes." Kennedy develops his theory from media accounts that claim to document Al-Zarqawi's activities through the Middle East, Europe and America. In these media accounts, he explains, "(D)isinformation is circulated to the news media and the intelligence community creates its own terror warnings concerning the very organizations it has created. In some cases the disinformation appears in advance, in order to pave the way for an up and coming act of 'terror' that roots in a desired political outcome. This problem/solution equation always appears when the war effort is waning and serves to give a face to terror via an expensive advertising campaign." 2

This ruse doesn't always work, as, for example, when reporters not linked to the intelligence agencies follow up on the story and discover the event never took place. The documentary Outfoxed claims the American public hasn't a clue about the close connection between Murdoch's Fox Network and the policy making arm of the White House and intelligence agencies. In other words, "journalism" has been co-opted at one of the major mainstream news outlets that is supposed to inform Americans.

The Story of Ryszard Kuklinski

Tuesday: April 27, 2004.  E. Peter Earnest, ex-CIA operations officer, presented the story of Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski. Kuklinski was a highly placed CIA agent in the military councils of the Warsaw Pact. He operated alone in Poland giving the West information about Russian weaponry, military plans and the plans to come down hard on the Solidarity movement. Depending on which political side a Pole was on, Kuklinski was either a hero or a traitor. George Tenet, ex-CIA director, claimed that Kuklinski was "a courageous man who helped keep the Cold War from getting hot." Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, claimed that "Kuklinski decided to help America better understand Soviet planning, thereby increasing America's ability to deter Soviet aggression. " Those in power in Poland in the mid-1980s sentenced Kuklinski to death for treason.

Before he was discovered, Kuklinski had delivered 40,265 pages of highly classified documents to the CIA by secretly photographing a single page at a time. In 1978, he provided to the CIA a 363-page Russian document detailing the tactical and technical specifications of weaponry to be introduced into the Warsaw Pact through 1985. The plan would be used to develop "fast-moving air and land forces that could break through front lines and penetrate far into NATO territory" according to a CIA document. Kuklinski realized that the Russian plans were offensive, not defensive. Further, he decided that if the Soviets launched an attack on Poland, the West would respond and Poland would become a battleground.

In Kuklinski's words, his country "was on the wrong side." Kuklinski was not a trained intelligence officer; he did what he did out of his love for his country. He watched as the Solidarity movement gained support among the Polish people. Kuklinski agonized over the jeopardy his mission placed on his family and in 1981 he escaped from Poland. He returned to Poland just before his death in 2004 and was able to walk the streets. The Poles he met recognized him and "greeted him warmly." Recently, during an interview with Kuklinski's wife, she claimed he kept his mission secret even from her.

The Story of George Trofimoff

This contrasts with another case presented by Connie Allen, retired Senior US Army Counterintelligence Special Agent, and Oleg Kalugin, former Chief, KGB Foreign Counterintelligence and Acting Chief, KGB Rezidency, Soviet Embassy. Colonel George Trofimoff spied for the Russians for decades and then retired to a resort community in Florida. He was arrested in 1999 after a spy career of 25 years. Trofimoff divorced each and every wife – and there were many – who questioned the source of the money that supported their extravagant lifestyle. The money came from the KGB, which was paying Trofimoff for classified information "relating to the national defense of the United States."

Trofimoff is the highest-ranking U.S. military officer ever charged with espionage. His spying career started when he was a member of the Nuremberg Joint Intelligence Committee, a part of the 66th Military Intelligence Group stationed in Germany. It ended in a retirement community in Florida when the FBI used a false flag agent posing as a Russian intelligence officer. Trofimoff would have never been discovered but for Vasili Mitrokin, an archivist for the KGB. Mitrokin came to the West carrying a suitcase filled with material documenting the KGB's activities. (This material is available in The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB by Christopher M. Andrew and Vasili Mitrokin.)

The Cambridge Five

Wednesday: April 28, 2004.  In "An Evening with Kim Philby," Nigel West provided a condensed history of the Cambridge Five, of which Kim Philby was a member. The Cambridge Five were students recruited at Cambridge who penetrated high levels of the British government for the Russians. Philby had been a high-level spy for MI6. The other four were Donald McLean (British Foreign Office), Guy Burgess (MI6, Foreign Office), Anthony Blunt (MI5, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, Knight) and John Cairncross (British Foreign Office, Treasury, GC&SC, MI6). Each spied for the Russians for ideological reasons: As privileged Brits the Cambridge Five believed the British system of government was corrupted and only the Marxist-Leninist doctrine provided equality.

Following this, Oleg Kalugin gave SpyRetreat attendees the same introductory speech he gave in Moscow at a KGB dinner honoring Philby. Soviet flags hung behind Kalugin and the other CIC speakers seated at the head table. One could imagine being in the audience that night because after Kalugin finished, Philby's voice responded and accepted Kalugin's praise. As we listened to the taped voice, photos of Philby throughout his life – including his life in Moscow – flashed across the screen. Philby was heard praising the Soviet system of government. Later, the audience learned the tape had been smuggled out of Moscow by someone who Keith Melton (advisor to the U.S. intelligence community) refused to name.

Melton then talked about his attempt to recreate Philby's Moscow study in his museum in Boca Raton, Florida. He was especially proud of the fact that he had charmed Philby's widow into smuggling Philby's copies of Lenin's works out of Moscow, one volume at a time, so that the Russians would not become suspicious. I had trouble understanding what was so valuable about a work that could be easily purchased in the West without putting Philby's widow in danger.

I asked Melton about this during the question and answer period. He claimed that if I didn't understand there was no way he could explain it to me. Dave Majors then asked me what I would do with Philby's copies of Lenin's work. I blurted out "burn them." Nigel West stated he agreed with my sentiments but could see the historical value. I couldn't understand the need to have exactly that set of volumes, unless Philby had made notes in the margins. If true, this would provide insight into his thought processes.

Although Melton, an advisor to the U.S. intelligence community, claims on his CIC resume to be a leading expert on clandestine devices and equipment, when I had asked him – on a previous SpyTrek cruise (see "Cruisin' With the Spooks," Paranoia, issue 30) – about the electronic equipment covertly tested on private American citizens, he claimed not to know what I was talking about. It does give one pause, on top of the fact that the tape of Philby's speech came through Melton.

I discovered over drinks before dinner in the President's Lounge of the Homestead that about half of the attendees had read Ghost Wars, the Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll, managing editor of the Washington Post. Most of us would be on the same page as we sat through the lectures discussing the threats the West now faces.

We noted during our discussion that Richard Clarke, Counterterrorism Coordinator, National Security Council, had attempted to inform all presidents he worked for of the threat of bin Laden. Long before his own book was published, Steve Coll documented Clarke's attempts to inform high-level White House officials. One unit within the CIA's Counterterrorism Center was assigned to monitor bin Laden only. The unit was staffed by highly-educated young women. They knew everything there was to know about him. For example, they knew which wife bin Laden was sleeping with on any particular night. However, CIA field officers did not like to "take direction from the ladies" (a quote from Coll's book). The unit referred to themselves as "the Manson Family." They watched bin Laden's rise to power and tried many times to alert their supervisors.

Coll's book documents the fact that many high level intelligence officers in the field, in Langley and in the White House knew about bin Laden, and knew some of his "career" plans as far back as the 1980s. They knew the people he was contacting, which governments supported him, where the funding was coming from, and which paramilitary groups were closely allied with his core group. Furthermore, during the Afghanistan war with Russia the CIA supplied stinger missiles to the "northern tribes" – which included bin Laden – through Pakistan. The CIA was involved in what is called a non-linear role in the field. The funding and alliances had been known for years.

The Spy is an Eye

Along with a navy blue fleece jacket with the SpyRetreat logo on the left breast, each participant had received at orientation a mock-up professional Debriefing File. Flipping through the file, I found material called "Select Short Excerpts from al-Qaeda Training Manual." This material would form the background for two lectures: "al-Qaeda: The Spy is an Eye" and "The Threat and Psychology of Suicide Bombers."

The "eye" alluded to comes from the Training Manual, Eleventh Lesson: Espionage (1) Information-Gathering Using Open Methods, which states: "[it is said that] the spy is called an eye because his work is through his eyes, or because of his excessive preoccupation with observation, as if all his being is an eye." These two lectures were the focus of my attention because of my investigative research into mind control.

Thursday: April 29, 2004. Dan Mulvenna presented both lectures on al-Qaeda. Mulvenna is a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police security service officer, with 25 years of field experience developing security, counterterrorism and personal protection in high-risk areas such as the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia and Southeast Asia. He has been Senior Executive and Director of Global Security and Risk Management for 18 years.

Mulvenna began "The Spy is an Eye" by saying "It will take another attack for the reality of living in a world with terrorists to sink in." He used the term "asymmetrical warfare" to describe terrorism. In other words, lacking a single direction, a single focus, and a single force, how do al-Qaeda cells work? According to an al-Qaeda manual collected in a raid in Manchester, England,3 before every attack there is information collection. As an example of this collection technique, we were shown two videos obtained from the raid in Manchester. The videos recorded a busy airport and a subway station. I suppose most civilians would have assumed the videotapers were tourists filming for the folks back home. From a cell raided in 1997, investigators found information on New York's Twin Towers and the Liberty Towers in Los Angeles.

Mulvenna then provided a short version of information given to his private clients. Some of his rules are: vary times of coming and going; always vary the route to and from the work/meeting place; stay aware of collection teams – a team will attempt to stay in place up to one hour before dispersing. Attacks usually happen in the morning because traffic is going towards a work place and the target has a specific time they must arrive. Eighty percent of the attacks happen close to the target's home or hotel.

Mulvenna gave us a "practice exercise" using slides of actual locations and graphics of real life situations. The exercise involved getting away from potential kidnappers. The set-up: your driver pulls the car onto a bridge. Another vehicle pulls around and parks across your path. The perpetrators exit their vehicle, coming toward you, guns drawn. What do you do? (E-mail me: if you want the answer.) Only one other woman (an ex-intelligence officer) and myself "escaped." I would want to partner with this woman anytime I had to go into a potentially dangerous area.

Mulvenna's security group uses a remote piece of land in Mexico for his defense-driving course. Drivers are taught to use a vehicle to get out of tense situations. Also, there are techniques to check a vehicle before getting into it. Check the engine compartment, the firewall and the air filter for small explosive devices. Check the exterior for hanging wires. Check doors, hood or trunk left ajar. Use a mirror to check the undercarriage for wires, levers or trigger devices. Detailed guidelines are provided in Keith Melton's The U.S. Government Guide to Surviving Terrorism.

In Mulvenna's estimation, the group behind the various terrorist cells is the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He bases this on the fact that there are few terrorist attacks in Egypt. The Brotherhood has provided a home for bin Laden and acts as a funnel for new recruits to other terrorist groups. Mulvenna's opinion is supported by Steve Coll's Ghost Wars. The Brotherhood is interested in a jihad to oust all "foreigners" living in the Middle East. Participating in a jihad is the highest form of living Islam and is a requirement of being a Muslim. However, Muslim websites and literature provide a more complicated scenario than the "good" Muslim vs. "bad" Muslim presented by the major media agenda.

The University Connection

During the break between lectures, I asked Mulvenna how vulnerable a large university campus was to harboring a terrorist cell. He stared off into the distance, turned to me and said, "We are very worried." This reinforced my concern over some incidents I have witnessed on the UCLA campus. These concerns were confirmed in an article in Eye Spy entitled "MI5 Infiltrate UK Universities" (Volume IV, #25, 2004): "MI5 has infiltrated a secret group actively looking to recruit agents by literally brainwashing the students into helping them. This group has been under observation for three years and has a particular modus operandi now known to MI5."

There is good reason for an intelligence agency or a terrorist group to be interested in students, according to the article in Eye Spy. Their focus is on vulnerable students who work in scientific labs. Suspicion was raised when materials that could be used in making "dirty bombs," including radiological materials, were removed from supposed secure university sites. The reason the general public hasn't heard about these security breeches is because senior campus officials do not want to cause "panic, or indeed embarrassment." Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center, was recruited by al-Qaeda while he was an engineering student at Swansea University in Wales. The list of terrorists recruited as students is alarming, and the CIA has stepped up its surveillance of students who fit a specific profile. At the same time, CIA and FBI recruitment on campus continues.

In "The Threat and Psychology of Suicide Bombers," Mulvenna's profile of a shaheed (suicide bomber / martyr) included the following traits: self-aware individuals who deliberately kill themselves; not irrational; not asocial; not uneducated. The shaheed/martyr is a group phenomenon within a culture of martyrdom where suicide is glorified. The tactic of using suicide bombers has worked because "democracies are vulnerable to coercion as these incidents create fear and panic in the population." Mulvenna claimed that for the jihad leaders using suicide bombers is cost-effective, requires no elaborate escape plan and leaves no perpetrator to be interrogated. The martyr gets to see the face of Allah, his or her family gets $25,000, and 17 family members get into paradise as a reward.

Having researched childhood mind control programming in American culture, I don't think the above statements cover the entire story. For example, Mulvenna flashed a slide on the screen showing a potential shaheed dressed all in white, ready for burial and left a couple of days lying next to a dead body in a cemetery. I thought of Kathleen Sullivan's description of a similar event in her book Unshackled, an account of the programming techniques she has experienced. Indeed, Phyllis Chester, in her essay titled "The Psychoanalytic Roots of Islamic Terrorism,"4 argues against the shaheeds being well-adjusted individuals, describing: "barbarous family and clan dynamics in which children, both boys and girls are routinely orally and anally raped by male relatives; infant males are sometimes sadistically over-stimulated by being masturbated; boys between the ages of 7-12 are publicly traumatized and circumcised; many girls are clitoridectomized; and women are seen as a source of all shame and dishonor and treated accordingly; very, very badly."

This description is almost a duplicate of Sullivan's description of life within her satanic cult family. For both Sullivan and Islamic girls, life is always under the threat of death. In both cultures boys and girls grow up to be "paranoid, traumatized and revenge-seeking adults." The father dominates the family unit and it becomes important to seek the father's favor. The "ideal" father of the family unit likely to raise a shaheed is a sociopath, as Sullivan points out in her on-line paper ( She states, sociopaths have "zero empathy for any other living creature, and therefore have no difficulty doing whatever they believe they need to do."

As an example, I quote from a statement of an Islamic father figure, and religious leader, Imam Khomeini ( "There is no greater achievement for a momin than to leave his abode with wounds that are medals on his chest, and his face covered in blood, in the struggle for justice, and in the highest stage of Taqwaa-e-Ilahee. He inspired thousands of other thirsty people to drink this beverage of light."

The supreme act is to mix the blood of the martyr with that of his enemy. Our American military is in contact/combat with people who are motivated by their religious leaders, fathers, uncles, brothers, and mothers who want their children's blood mixed in death with their enemies. There is no negotiation. There is only death. There is no intent to work out an environment in which "we all just get along." The policy of Islamic leaders of this jihad is to eliminate everyone who is not of the Islamic faith. This is our reality. This is what was must learn to deal with.

In conclusion, during drinks one evening before dinner the SpyRetreat participants discussed how to determine who was an American. The only solution discussed was something akin to carrying around a smart card containing all items of personal history. The card would be produced any time an individual is challenged to prove that they are "a real American."

My own reaction was, Is this what it means to be an American? A card carrying American? Not if I, and a few American taxpayers, can help it!


1. In their defense, on October 4, 1997, Stand, Squillacote and Clark were arrested as a result of a sting operation; allegedly after nearly two years of "indiscriminate FBI wiretapping and searches of their homes, justified because Squillacote and Clark held 'secret' level security clearances, and because their political sympathies were known to be left-wing." (

2. Kennedy, "Al-Zarqawi, An American False Flag Operative," 6/25/04,

3. Excerpts from training manual:

4. Chester, "The Psychoanalytic Roots of Islamic Terrorism," ID=13230

©2004 Kathy Kasten. Kasten is a researcher and targeted individual living in Los Angeles, now retired from the staff at the University of California, Los Angeles. Four years as Staff Liaison to the Human Subject Protection Committee/Institution Review Board developed an awareness of worldwide need for human subject protection policies. The Homestead:, SpyTrek: (1-866-SPY-TREK). Kathy Kasten may be reached at

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cannibalism in the Pet Food Industry

Are we slowly killing our pets each time we feed them commercial pet food?

by Ann N. Martin

My investigation of the commercial pet food industry began in January 1990. Prior to that time, I had always fed my dogs and cats commercial pet food. This changed when, after feeding my two dogs a well-known brand of dog food, both became ill with vomiting and excessive thirst. Our veterinarian advised me to put them on a homemade diet for a few days – cooked hamburger, brown rice, and grated vegetables. Both dogs did very well on this diet. Two days later I switched them back to the commercial diet and encountered the same problems. Both the veterinarian and I were convinced there was something in the food that was causing the problem.

A private lab showed that the food contained excess levels of zinc, 1120 parts per million (ppm), a level that would have caused the dogs' symptoms. It also contained over twenty other heavy metals. The pet food company stated they were not responsible. I then contacted the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture and found that this is a virtually unregulated industry. Governments, U.S. and Canadian, only regulate the labeling of the food: the name and address of the company, weight of the product, and if it is made for a dog or cat; nothing more. If that was the case, what else was going into these foods that we, the pet owners, were not aware of?

Road Kill and Garbage

A friend, a veterinarian in California, had told me that euthanized dogs and cats from veterinary clinics and shelters were routinely rendered and used as sources of protein in pet food. As a Canadian, I never thought it would happen in Ontario, where I live. I was wrong. I soon learned that almost every veterinarian clinic in the city was using a dead-stock removal company that picked up the pets and sold them to a broker, who sold them to rendering plants in Quebec. The rendering plant that was paying the highest amount at that time, Sanimal Group, purchased most of the dead animals.

The Minister of Agriculture in Quebec advised me that the dogs and cats were cooked along with other material. This material, as I later learned, included dead, diseased, dying, and disabled (4-D) animals, slaughterhouse waste, road kill, garbage from restaurants and grocery stores, and even zoo animals. The use of such ingredients is perfectly legal. Because well over 90% of the pet food sold in Canada is imported from the U.S., I began to investigate America's pet food industry.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that this industry is essentially self-regulated. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a non-governmental body, oversees labeling text and provides a list of ingredients that can be used in livestock and pet food. Some ingredients on the list: hydrolyzed hair, dehydrated garbage, manure, swine waste, ruminant waste, poultry waste, and "undried processed animal waste products." Undried waste products are excreta from any animal except humans.

The Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA/CVM) oversees drugs that are used in the food, but has no input as to the sources of the ingredients. As with the AAFCO, the only input as far as ingredients relates to the labeling. If the label says that the product contains 24% protein, it must contain 24% protein; the source of the protein doesn't matter. This also applies to any grains or fats in the pet food.

The Pet Food Institute (PFI) is an association that represents the interests of the pet food industry. Over the years, the PFI has insisted that the companies they represent use only quality ingredients. I have questioned this organization many times as to what testing the pet food companies do to determine the sources of protein, the meat meal, which they buy from rendering plants. They have chosen not to respond. Their silence says it all.

In the fall of 1997 my first book, Food Pets Die For, made people aware of the dubious ingredients in some commercial pet foods. Pet owners were shocked that their euthanized pets could well be ending up in pet foods. Naturally, the pet food industry denied this was happening.

Are We Turning Our Pets Into Cannibals?

Not only was the rendering plant in Quebec accepting euthanized animals for rendering, this practice was also being carried on by many rendering plants in the U.S. In a July 12, 1994 letter from the FDA/CVM, Christine Richmond wrote, "In recognizing the need for disposal of a large number of unwanted pets in this country, CVM has not acted to specifically prohibit the rendering of pets. However, that is not to say that the practice of using this material in pet food is condoned by CVM." It is not condoned, but no steps have ever been taken to prohibit the use of dogs and cats in pet foods.

In 1995 Van Smith, a reporter from the Baltimore City Paper, wrote an extensive article, replete with pictures, documenting his day riding with a truck from a rendering plant called Valley Proteins. Smith describes how carcasses of zoo animals are rendered along with "thousands of dead dogs, cats, raccoons, possums, deer, foxes, snakes, and the rest that local animal shelters and road kill patrols must dispose of each month." Pictures show barrels overflowing with dead dogs and cats waiting to be rendered.

In January of 2000, Florida's Gainesville Sun published a story on the Alachua County Animal Shelter, whose employees had to deliver the euthanized animals to the rendering plant. Reporter Paula Rausch wrote that the employees had to "lift them off the truck and heave them into a pit exposing themselves to foul odors, putrid substances underfoot, and having to see the grinding going on." These duties were taking a toll on the staff at the shelter. In January of 2002, I contacted the Alachua County Animal Shelter in Florida and was pleased to learn that their employees no longer had to truck the euthanized animals to a rendering plant. They had built a crematorium for disposal of animals. Also, in March of 2000, due to public outcry, Valley Protein of the Baltimore area stopped accepting dogs and cats, leaving shelters in a dilemma as to how to dispose of their animals.

Before the publication of the revised edition of Food Pets Die For in 2003, I learned that Sanimal, the large rendering plant in Quebec, now refuses to accept the carcasses of dogs and cats. Philip Lee-Shanok, a reporter for the Toronto Star interviewed Mario Couture, Sanimal's head of procurement, about euthanized pets rendered into pet food. Couture said, "This food is healthy and good, but some people don't like to see meat meal that contains pets."

So, there has been some progress. However, in 2001, I contacted the Ministry of Agriculture in Quebec and asked if any other rendering plants in Quebec were accepting and rendering dogs and cats. Their reply was, "Yes, here is the establishment that now accepts cats and dogs, Maple Leaf, Inc.," which also owns Rothsay Rendering and Shur-Gain pet foods.

200 Tons a Month

In research for my second book, Protect Your Pet, it became clear that California operated more rendering plants and sent more pets to rendering than any other state. Sandra Blakeslee, a reporter for The New York Times, in a March 1997 interview quotes Chuck Ellis, a spokesman for the Los Angeles sanitation department, "Los Angeles sends 200 tons of euthanized cats and dogs to West Coast Rendering every month."

After acquiring a list of U.S. animal shelters and veterinary clinics, I e-mailed the ones in California and asked how they disposed of euthanized animals. Ninety percent said they sent the animals to rendering. The replies I received named two companies that picked up the animals from their facilities: D&D Disposal in California and Koefran Services in Nevada.

An employee at a Humane Society in California wrote that in his area, Escondido, D&D Disposal picks up about one-hundred bodies each week. In the same area, there are three other shelters and more than one hundred veterinarians using the same disposal company. D&D was rather hard to find, but fortunately one shelter had a complete address for them. D&D shares the same address as West Coast Rendering in Vernon, California. Interestingly, Baker Commodities, another rendering plant notorious for rendering companion animals, is within a block of West Coast Rendering, as is a large pet food company that produces several popular brands of pet food.

Unfit for Human Consumption

As with the sources of protein, grains used in dry pet foods are materials unfit for human consumption. These can include broken grains, hulls, chaff, joints, and can be contaminated with straw, dust, sand, dirt and weed seeds. In addition, in less than ten years we have seen two major recalls of pet foods because of mycotoxin contamination. Mycotoxin is a fungus that occurs when grains are stored in damp conditions. Many mycotoxins can cause serious illness and even death in both humans and pets.

In 1995, Nature's Recipe pulled thousands of tins of dog food off shelves after dogs began to vomit and lose their appetites. The fungus in this product was vomitoxin, caused by moldy wheat used in the foods. Although not a deadly toxin, it can cause serious illness in pets.

In late 1998, Doane Products, the manufacturer of many private-label foods including Old Roy, recalled over fifty lines of pet food. The deaths of roughly 25 dogs were attributed to aflatoxin, a deadly toxin found in the corn Doane had used in their products. How many other pets have become ill and died from contaminated pet foods, with their owners being unaware of the true cause?

Euthanizing Drugs

In the first edition of Food Pets Die For, I wrote about studies by the University of Minnesota which showed that the euthanizing drug sodium pentobarbital withstood the rendering process without degrading. This drug is used primarily to euthanize dogs and cats. Animals euthanized with this drug were ending up in pet food, but no one could be sure from batch to batch how much of this drug was actually in the finished product.

In May of 2001, I filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act requesting all documentation prepared by the FDA/CVM relating to their tests of dry commercial dog foods for sodium pentobarbital levels. Again the waiting began. In September of 2001, I received a reply from the Office of Communications for the FDA, "We request you wait until the evaluation process is complete, at which time we will send the full results to you." They expected these to be ready in January of 2002. It had been well over two years since I first requested the information, and five years from the time they had begun testing these foods.

Finally, the results were published in early March of 2002. In the 74 samples analyzed, over half contained levels of this drug. Some brands shown to contain this drug included Old Roy Puppy Formula, Kibbles 'n Bits Beefy Bits, Dad's Bite Size Meal, and Pet Gold Master Formula Puppy Formulation. In an earlier study done in 1998, the FDA found other pet foods containing this drug, although the amounts were not listed in their report: Ken-L-Ration, Trailblazer, ProPlan, and Nutro – Premium. These are just a few of the brands listed.

The FDA/CVM also assessed the risk to dogs who ingest sodium pentobarbital in pet food. The report concluded that the levels of exposure to sodium pentobarbital that the animal might receive through food are "unlikely to cause them any adverse health effect." However, the FDA/CVM has admitted that if these levels, any levels for that matter, of sodium pentobarbital were found in human food it would be pulled from the shelves immediately.

I wrote to Stephen Sundlof, Director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, regarding this drug and the fact that under the Code of Federal Regulations it states, "Do not use in animals intended for food." In a letter dated March 22, 2002, he replied, "A euthanasia solution such as pentobarbital cannot have a withdrawal time and its mechanism of action leads to tissue residue, so it could not be used to euthanize animals intended for human or animal food." So, sodium pentobarbital is not allowed for use in either human or animal food, yet the FDA does not plan to take any steps to prohibit its presence in pet food.

Are we slowly killing our pets each time we feed them commercial pet food? Although the FDA/CVM tested many pet foods, we do not know if the food we are feeding our pets contains this drug, nor do we know the long-term effects of ingesting this drug. In the last ten years, however, some other species, primarily birds of prey, have died from ingesting euthanized dogs and cats buried at landfill sites. Sodium pentobarbital stays in the tissues of these animals for extended lengths of time. Bears and even a tiger have also died after eating animals euthanized with this drug.

It is clear that any animal that is euthanized with sodium pentobarbital should be incinerated, not rendered and fed back to other animals.

Spin Control

The FDA/CVM also decided to undertake DNA testing on the commercial dog foods they tested. Their press release stated that no dog or cat DNA was detected. Therefore, they concluded "the pentobarbital residues are entering pet foods from euthanized, rendered cattle or even horses."  However, in communications with agriculture veterinarians, most said that sodium pentobarbital is seldom, if ever, used to euthanize cattle. Rather, cattle are killed by captive bolt and gunshot. Horses are sometimes killed with this euthanizing agent in special circumstances, but generally the methods used to kill cattle are also used on horses.

Also, the DNA testing results were extremely vague and provided no insight into the testing methods. What it amounted to was, "Take our word for it, no dog and cat DNA was detected in the food we tested." After consulting several forensic scientists, it became clear that if indeed the FDA/CVM did such testing, the methods used would be extremely important. Yet no information was given on the DNA primers used, and no information was given regarding whether they tested for all the metabolites of pentobarbital.

Clearly, the FDA/CVM had been feeling the heat about the use of euthanized pets in commercial pet food. With their press release noting that no dog and cat DNA existed in the rendered dog foods, perhaps they felt that pet owners would no longer confront the industry with the fact that companion animals were being used as sources of proteins in their products.

Inside Iams' Research Labs

After spending over thirteen years researching this industry, I thought I was aware of all aspects of the issue of the ingredients used in pet foods. I was wrong. In early January of 2002, I received a letter from a student at the University of Illinois concerning nine dogs that were housed in a windowless lab at the University. These dogs had cannula (tubes) surgically implanted in their sides so samples of digested food could be taken. The study included feeding the dogs raw and rendered animal by-products, including "poultry necks and backs and viscera, and ground up poultry feathers." Until 2002, this research was funded by the pet food giant Iams, but now is being funded by the soybean industry and the USDA.

Over the years, I knew of dogs and cats being used for research in human medicine, a practice I don't approve of, but never thought an industry that claimed to care about the welfare of pets would undertake such barbaric practices. I was soon to learn that this was just the tip of the iceberg. Iams in particular had been notorious for carrying on such experimentation.

Two animal rights organizations, In Defense of Animals, based in the United States, and Uncaged, based in the United Kingdom, have outlined some of these animal experiments. According to Iams, these studies were needed to support its nutritional claims, which it uses to market its products. Iams experimentation conducted on dogs and cats included:

1. Twenty-eight cats' bellies were cut to see the effect of feeding them fiber, and then the cats were killed. Bueno, AR, et al, Nutrition Research, Vol. 20, No. 9, pp. 1319-1328, 2000.

2. Twenty-four young dogs were intentionally put into kidney failure, subjected to invasive experimentation, then killed. University of Georgia and the Iams Company, White, JV, et al, American Journal of Veterinary Research, Vol. 52, No. 8, pp. 1357-1365, 1991.

3. Thirty-one dogs' kidneys were removed to increase the risk of kidney disease, and then they were killed and dissected. University of Georgia and the Iams Company, Finco, DR, et al, American Journal of Veterinary Research, Vol. 55, No. 9, pp. 1282-1290, 1994.

4. Bones in eighteen dogs' front and back legs were cut out and stressed until they broke. University of Wisconsin and the Iams Company, Crenshaw, TD, et al, Proceedings of the 1998 Iams Nutrition Symposium.

5. Ten dogs were killed to study the effect of fiber in diets. Mississippi State University and the Iams Company, Buddington, RK, et al, American Journal of Veterinary Research, Vol. 60, No. 3, pp. 354-358, 1999.

6. Eighteen male puppies' kidneys were chemically damaged, experimental diets were fed, tubes were inserted in their penises, and then the puppies were killed. Colorado State University and the Iams Company, Grauer, GF, et al, American Journal of Veterinary Research, Vol. 57, No. 6, pp. 948-956, 1996.

7. Twenty-eight cats had surgically forced kidney failure and either died during the experiment or were killed, to study the effects of protein. University of Georgia and the Iams Company, Proceedings of the 1998 Iams Nutrition Symposium.

8. Fifteen dogs' bellies were cut open and tubes attached to their intestines, the contents of which were pumped out every ten minutes for two hours. Then the dogs were killed. University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Iams Company, Hallman, JE, et al, Nutrition Research, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 303-313, 1996.

9. Twenty-four cats had their female organs and parts of their livers removed, were made obese, and then were starved, University of Kentucky and the Iams Company, Ibrahim, WH, et al, American Journal of Veterinary Research, Vol. 61, No. 5, May 2000.

10. Thirty dogs were intentionally wounded and patches of skin containing the wounds removed to study wound healing. Auburn University and the Iams Company, Mooney, MA, et al, American Journal of Veterinary Research, Vol. 59, No. 7, pp. 859-863, 1998.

Procter and Gamble (P&G) purchased Iams in September 1999 and issued a code of ethics. Animal People, an online organization devoted to the health and welfare of pets, reported in June 2001 that P&G stated its intention to phase out animal testing as fast as alternatives can be developed and approved by regulators. In 2002, an investigator from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) infiltrated one of the Iams labs in the U.S. What they found was a horrifying situation where dogs and cats were confined to small cages for up to six years. Dogs had their vocal cords removed so they could not bark. The animals suffered severe heat in the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter. Videotapes showed researchers dumping dogs on concrete floors after cutting huge chunks of muscle out of their thighs. Cats were confined in cinderblock rooms with wooden boards, nails sticking out of them, as resting places. The PETA investigator watched as one of these boards fell on a cat, killing the animal. The cruelty was continuing.

Iams is not the only company involved in such cruel research. Ralston Purina, before their acquisition by Nestle; Hill's Pet Nutrition, owned by Colgate Palmolive; Pedigree Pet Foods, owned by Mars; and Alpo Pet Foods, before their acquisition of Nestle, are just a few of the companies involved in such experimentation.

As we have seen, what we are feeding our pets is garbage, unfit for human consumption and unfit to feed our pets. The only way we will see a change in this industry is for pet owners to boycott pet foods that contain undesirable ingredients. We must also boycott companies that do experiments on animals, not only dogs and cats but all animals. Together, you and I will make a difference.

Ann N. Martin is the author of Protect Your Pet (NewSage Press, 2001) and the new edition of Food Pets Die For (NewSage Press, 2003). To order her books, contact NewSage Press at or call toll free 877-695-2211.