It’s for science. The food company Mars Incorporated, founded more than a century ago and the origin of the chocolate bar of the same name, needs to take some samples from our pets. At this stage, it should be noted that since 1935, the company has also been offering products for animals via its subsidiary Mars Petcare, and that it is of course within this framework that it is in the process of launching a gigantic study on the dogs and cats.
At Mars Incorporated, we are currently looking for dogs and cats that could give “their time, their blood and their feces”, as Gizmodo sums it up. As part of the Pet Biobank Project, the aim of which is to establish a substantial database, the scientific teams aim to be able to monitor no less than 10,000 dogs and 10,000 cats over a period of ten years. In the long term, the objective is in particular to better identify the health problems encountered by the animals.
A call for participation campaign has therefore been launched in the United States, with the chains of veterinary practices Banfield and VCA (which belong to Mars Incorporated) currently relaying the message across the country. Humans who agree to have their four-legged companions take part in such a program are warned: they undertake to have their animals undergo an annual check-up, including a blood test and a collection of feces.
Annual visits will be free, which acts as a counterpart. Earning ten years of health checks for your pet represents a handsome sum, as the analyzes carried out by veterinarians are always relatively expensive.
Still, an animal that is perfectly well does not need to undergo such analyzes every year, and that in any case no one will ask its opinion. This is the whole question that will arise, and Mars Incorporated has understood it well, adding in the balance a gift card, a free DNA test, as well as a monitoring session – this one being apparently reserved to dogs.
The project is already well on track: its canine part has already started, while the feline file will be tackled a little later in the year. Humans and companions who would like to know more about the Pet Biobank Project are invited to visit the site dedicated to this vast initiative.