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If clicked over to this blog post, then it's probably because you've heard the news about Answers Pet Food and you're wondering what you should do next. Or you're reading this and wondering “what's happening with answers? – here's an update.
Answers Pet Food Executives Resign and a Dumpster Fire is Set
The news that the brilliant founders of Answers Pet Food, Jacqueline Hill and Roxanne Stone, left the company, followed by the Science Director and Face of Answers Pet Food, Billy Hoekman, and their on staff veterinarian, Dr. Doug Knueven.
Pet parents and loyal customers of this epic brand had a total meltdown on social media as people shared their thoughts about the news and questioned the future of a much beloved and respected raw food brand.
Although I've done a couple of Lives sharing initial thoughts, I have been holding out for more information (shared below) before publishing my thoughts on my blog.
Memo from Answers Pet Food, May 2, 2021
Memo to ANSWERS™ Pet Food Business Partners, Distributors, Retail Stores, & Pet Owners (click here for memo)
My name is Keith Hill, and I am President and CEO of Lystn, LLC d.b.a./ANSWERS™ Pet Food. While I am encouraged that our company continues to make life changing differences in pets’ lives, I am also dismayed that disparaging misinformation has been spread to employees/workers and some suppliers, and now the perpetuation of the false narratives to our distributors, retail partners and pet owners.
Many of you know and associate with my wife, Jacqueline Hill as well as other employees of the company on a routine basis with less familiarity of me because I work behind the scenes and am not directly involved in sales and marketing. Please understand that ANSWERS™ Pet Food is a family owned company started with a group of passionate, individually talented, likeminded individuals coming together with the idea to change the pet food industry and pets’ lives. I am proud to say that for nearly twelve years we have accomplished this goal as a symbiotic unit expanding on the ideas of fermentation, raw, high quality sourced ingredients, integrating environmentally friendly practices, and challenging the FDA to ensure the choice of healthy, truly raw products for all our pets. Unfortunately, personal, private matters, including the separation of Jacqueline and myself, have contributed to discord among the family
and owners. Let me assure you that ANSWERS™ Pet Food remains committed to its core values, but in order for the company to continue to move forward with its mission, it is now necessary to bring clarity to the questions raised by these false narratives.
Foremost, Jacqueline and Roxanne are not being forced out of the company or being removed from leadership roles in the company. Jacqueline and Roxanne have requested voluntary transfer (sell out) of their ownership which triggers contractual legal obligations. They have also decided to resign as employees and officers of the company. ANSWERS™ Pet Food has policies and practices in-place to protect all classes of our employees and owners. From what I have seen, it appears some individuals have been engaging in the spread of misinformation, what I believe are inappropriate threats and demands and intentional disparagement of the company. While I believe most people are good and try to demonstrate, act in support of and fight for what they believe is justice, it is disappointing when such well-intended efforts actually cause more harm, making these supporters unknowingly complicit.
Yes, ANSWERS™ is experiencing shortages in supply of our products for reasons including COVID 19 and shortages of labor and raw material matters. However, the company is financially sound, and the inventory shortages are also due to growing demand for our products. Although Jacqueline and I are struggling through a divorce, the company will continue to manufacture and sell our wonderful products. I am respectfully requesting that everyone please respect our family’s privacy in this matter.
I implore you not to rush to judgement. I hope you will stand with the company as you have always done in the past.
With sincere gratitude and appreciation,Source: Answers Pet Food
Keith A. Hill
President & CEO
Facebook Statement by Answers Pet Food
We appreciate your patience as we are working to answer your questions. We will be updating this post with the latest information as it arises, and we welcome you to visit the links below for the most up-to-date information:
Q&A: Sourcing and other concerns: https://bit.ly/3nPf04p
Memo addressing recent events: https://bit.ly/3tonQr1
Our commitment to transparency remains, and we are working to provide answers and updates as much as possible.Source: Answers Pet Food Facebook Page
Statement from Jacqueline Hill and Roxanne Stone
It is with a very heavy heart that we announce our resignation from Answers Pet Food.
We leave the company with a heartfelt gratefulness to all the incredible, dedicated, conscientious, passionate humans and their animal companions that made this venture and upward movement in the raw pet food industry possible.
We sincerely appreciate the support, education, and commitment from all those involved in bringing nutrient dense, functional, beneficial, raw foods to our companion animals. We further send our appreciation to the devoted, hardworking farmers and tireless volunteers who collaborate and advocate for raw foods for our companion animals. We continue to be filled with the passion and desire to help animals and their caretakers and we look forward to the possibilities the future may bring. We appreciate the patience and consideration that all our amazing customers, retailers, veterinarians, and distributors have afforded us at this difficult time.
Jacqueline Hill and Roxanne StoneSource: Truth About Pet Food
My Thoughts on Answers Pet Food
2020 changed my life because I repeatedly saw people react to news, burning up social media while burning down communities, only to learn that they jumped the gun. Social media keyboard warriors aren't a new phenomena – however, last year the United Association of Keyboard Warriors and Trolls must have hosted a job fair because, suddenly, everyone has lost their minds and forgotten about the very real human beings they're attacking online.
So, these are my thoughts about Answers Pet Food:
- The only thing we know for certain is that Jacqueline Hill, Roxanne Stone, Billy Hoekman, and Dr. Doug Knueven are no longer affiliated with Answers Pet Food.
- There are shortages due to COVID; I know this first hand because it takes longer for me to get my orders for their fermented chicken feet and a couple of other items have been on backorder.
- Keith is now in charge of operations.
There are a lot of rumors and speculations going around, but I don't think that we will know the whole story until every party shares their perspective on events. The information I've received so far can have many explanations and since I'm not privy to the discussions that were held prior to Billy's April 30th announcement, I won't pretend like I know what is happening nor will I condemn anyone.
And, frankly, most of the things I'm reading are none of my business. I'm only concerned about which products will be going away, what changes will be made to ingredients and sourcing, and how those changes will impact the food.
Spreading gossip is fun and titillating, so when I got the news, I was on the phone with friends as we speculated about what happened to the company. But online, I'm keeping it professional because there are real human beings behind these events and I won't help matters by spreading hateful gossip and posting hurtful comments. #nojudgment
Instead, I wish everyone well because it's ultimately about our dogs. So many pets count on Answers Pet Food, so I pray for Keith's success with the company and I'm hopeful that the new direction turns out to benefit everyone. And I'm excited for what Jacqueline, Roxanne, and Billy will do next. They are three brilliant people who have made amazing contributions to our pets' health and I can't imagine that they're finished.
And, honestly, I think after the initial drama dies down, folks will continue buying Answers Pet Food. I believe the company will change and adapt, but I don't believe that it will go away.
Alternatives to Answers Pet Food
When I heard the news about Answers Pet Food, I headed to five pet stores in my area and stocked up on fermented fish stock, cow kefir, and fermented chicken feet (these are my favorite products). I also purchased a couple of cases of the detailed formula for Rodrigo (geriatric) and Scout (cancer). And I place an even larger order through my local raw food co-op. My freezers are going to look like an advertisement of Answers Pet Food by the time I'm done.
But, why stock up?
I have so many questions about the direction of Answers Pet Food, so I've decided to hold off on purchasing their products after today because I'm waiting to hear more about the changes the company will be making. I'm not concerned that their products going forward will be harmful, I just want more information. In the meantime, I'll continue DIY raw feeding along with feeding other raw food brands.
To all pet owners that have purchased the List, Answers Pet Food has been removed from the 2021 List. This is due to verification of ingredients – all verification was provided by Roxanne Stone who has resigned, thus making the verification null and void towards products manufactured after the resignation. It is unknown at this time if the brand will be questioned for consideration in the 2022 List.Source: Truth About Pet Food
But are there alternatives to Answers Pet Food?
To be honest, I don't believe that there are apples-to-apples alternatives to this amazing brand. The beauty of Answers Pet Food, besides the people and the farms, is the fermentation and, right now, I don't know of any brands that are fermenting their foods.
But there are a lot of amazing brands that I do trust for my dog (in no particular order):
- Darwin's Natural Pet Products
- Vibrant K9 (Southern CA only)
- Raw Bistro
- Raw Paws Pet Food
- Wild Coast Raw
- Columbia River Pets (PNW only)
- Raw Feeding Miami*
- Small Batch*
- The Bones ‘n Co Pet Foods*
- OC Raw
* Raw Feeding Miami offers great variety and if you have been contemplating DIY raw feeding, this is a great place to start. And I've never fed Small Batch or The Bones and Co to my dogs, but I've heard NOTHING but great things about these brands and I do buy Small Batch treats for my dogs.
This is NOT an exclusive list. There are many other great raw food brands, but these come to mind immediately and were brands mentioned when people were looking for alternatives. So, if a brand isn't on my list, please know that this doesn't mean that the brand has any flaws. This is a personal blog so I stick with what I know and what I'm doing for my dogs.
What About Dogs that NEED Answers Pet Food?
If you're raising a dog that is currently thriving on one of the Answers Pet Food diet protocols, all is not lost. If you don't plan to continue to feed Answers Pet Food, this is a fantastic time to start educating yourself on how you can meet your dogs' health and nutritional needs through another brand or through DIY.
The best place to start is with a veterinarian who can help you formulate a diet with your dog's health needs in mind.
If DIY isn't your jam, not a problem. Contact the raw food brands of your choice and speak with them about how to better address your dog's health concerns through their diet. I know that many of the brands I listed above will help pet parents create a diet using the brand's food, treats, and supplements OR they'll help you find a brand that will work for you.
Be patient because raw food brands are usually small companies with a limited staff and I bet many are being hit up with inquiries from pet parents around the US right now.
My Final Thoughts on Answers Pet Food
I was blown away by the response, but not surprised. We're learning two things from the news about Answers Pet Food:
1 – Answers Pet Food has made a significant impact on people's lives and the lives of their pets. I've heard so many stories of dogs that were very sick, a few on the brink of death, and Answers saved them. I can't think of any other raw food brands that would receive this kind of response after an announcement of a similar change.
2 – People are fast to go to the dark side when dealing with stressful news. I'm blown away by the nasty and cruel statements being posted with glee on social media. I'm currently dealing with a troll (read this story on Patreon) and the level of anxiety and stress, the sleepless nights, the headaches and general feeling of malaise is a struggle.
Regardless of which side you're on, if you're on a side, this is the end of an era. I'll miss Billy's Facebook Lives and I'll miss meals with the Answers team at events. But at least I can take “drink fermented fish stock daily” off my bucket list. Billy once told me that either Jacqueline or Roxanne drinks it daily and, DAMN, that's hardcore.
Note: If you are a representative of a raw food brand that is not mentioned in this blog post, please DO NOT take offense and DO NOT ask me to add your brand to the list. I cannot add every raw food brand on the market. However, I do have a new Raw Feeder's Directory and if you'd like to be listed there, please visit RawFeederDirectory.com.