Turns out the New Year isn’t off to a great start for everybody—Blue Buffalo is being sued to the tune of $5 million. The litigation against the company comes on behalf of Shannon Walton, who’s suing the company (and seeking class-action status) under the premise that one of its recipes caused her dog, Tucker, to become overweight and develop diabetes.
Walton’s main point of contention, and basis for the lawsuit, is that although Blue Buffalo claims its recipes are inspired by the ancestral diets of wolves, they’re high in dietary carbohydrates that animals wouldn’t find in the wild.
It’s really not as misleading as Walton’s alleging it to be. Blue Buffalo uses the term "inspired by," not "an ingredient-for-ingredient replication." Perhaps Tucker’s health issues could have been prevented if Walton realized the importance of turning the bag around and reading the ingredient panel.
There’s also a lot of blanks I’d like filled in here—how often was Walton feeding her dog? How many scoops was she putting in his bowl? How big were those scoops? Was she "supplementing" her dog’s diet with table scraps?
Listen, I’m not stepping up to bat for Blue Buffalo or making light of pet obesity and diabetes by any means, but a lawsuit of this kind (and the $5 million pay day) could be the start of an extremely slippery slope for the pet industry. If pet owners fail to realize their own faults and find success in suing food companies over their marketing strategies, where will it end? Who’s next? The retailer, for selling it? The veterinarian, for recommending it? The pet, for eating it?
There’s a difference between advocating for yourself/your loved ones and deflecting the blame with frivolous lawsuits—we can’t let the latter set the precedent.