I requested a press pass to the Petfood Forum and Petfood Workshop to be held in Chicago in April 2011; I was denied access to report on this pet food event to Pet Owners. Industry doesn't want a consumer advocate to see and report on what they do! Do they have something to hide?

Yes - they told no. No, a consumer advocate is NOT allowed to attend an industry forum. No, a consumer advocate is NOT allowed to "arm yourself with knowledge" and meet "key contacts" in the pet food industry. No - go away kid, you're bothering me.

The following email was received from Steve Akins, WATT Vice President/Publisher this morning. This email was in response to a phone conversation I had with Mr. Akins two weeks ago requesting a press pass for the 2011 Petfood Forum and Workshop.

Hi Susan,

After consulting with our owners, advisors, and business partners, I’ve decided it’s in the best interest of our conference and exhibition to deny your request for a press pass to Petfood Forum 2011 and Petfood Workshop 2011.

I do appreciate your request and hope we can work on other ways to communicate with you appropriately.


Steve Akins
WATT - Vice President/Publisher
Global Petfood/North American Agri-Food
Cell - 815-209-6444 sakins@wattnet.net

I sent Mr. Akins the following response...

Ya know Steve, I'm quite shocked. It proves to me Petfood Forum definately has something to hide from Pet Owners. I'm confident my readers will feel the same! This attitude furthers the lack of trust and confidence consumers have with industry.

Susan Thixton

And then I sent Mr. Akins the following question...

Would I be allowed entrance to the forum if I paid your attendance fee?

His response...

"I'm sorry Susan, but the answer is still no."

The strange thing is, two pet food companies (that I respect) suggested I attend this conference (actually they more than suggested - they said 'you HAVE to go'). These two pet food companies wanted pet owners to learn more about the industry and ingredients - both felt it would be in the best interest of consumers to learn more. Both felt this show was the best way to learn and share with Pet Owners. I shared this information with Steve Akins; I told Mr. Akins that while I would be representing consumers the suggestion was originally from industry (those in industry that have nothing to hide). But it appears Pet Food Industry.com doesn't care whose suggestion it was; they don't want consumers to know what goes on at their get together.

I'm shocked and quite angry. Pet Owners support this industry, yet the industry wants Pet Owners to know nothing about what's going on inside. The Pet Food Industry doesn't want me to speak with ingredient suppliers (exhibitors at the Forum), doesn't want me to report to all of you about what is really in those ingredients you are feeding your dog and cat. The Pet Food Industry wants your money at the pet store, but forget about learning detailed information about pet food ingredients!

So our truth is that they want to keep us quiet. Go away Pet Lover, you're messing with my profits. Forget about it! Just continue to buy our product and stop asking questions. I'm appalled.

If you feel the same, here is the contact information for the executives of Watt Publishing (corporate entity responsible for this decision)...

Corporate staff

Greg Watt
President, CEO
Phone: 815.966.5517
Fax: 815.734.5649

Bruce Plantz
Vice President – Director of Content
Phone: 815.966.5425
Fax: 815.734.5649

Joyce Neth
Vice President – Director of Research & Insight
Phone: 815.966.5500
Fax: 815.734.5649

Steve Akins
Vice President, Publisher North America
Phone: +1.919.387.7961
Fax: +1.815.968.0941

Wishing you and your pet the best,

Susan Thixton
Truth about Pet Food
Petsumer Report