Venezuela’s economic crisis has reached new heights, with even pet shops struggling to keep food and basic supplies on the shelves. Because of this, animal owners are being forced to make due with what little food they have for their cats and dogs, and police departments are rationing dog food for their canine units, used to protect officers and to sniff out contraband items.
Now, pet owners are being confronted with the same issues, struggling to provide their cats and dogs with basic needs due to feed manufacturers’ lack of raw materials, funding, and resources.
“I only have two or three kilos [of dog food] left,” Maura Morales, a dog owner and Venezuela resident, told Business Insider. “If I can’t find more, I’ll give him rice and carrots”.
But homemade pet food alternatives made from grain and meat are not practical nor sustainable alternatives, due to the short supply of these food items on grocery store shelves.
According to a recent leaked report conducted by the Venezuela government, there are at least 15 food items and 26 personal care items that are in short-supply or simply unavailable in Venezuela grocery stores, Panam Post reports.
The food supply shortage is also part of a larger ongoing problem, as Nicolás Maduro’s administration continues to create socioeconomic unrest in the once-economically booming country. Just last year, for example, a dairy shortage led many of the country’s major ice cream companies to close during the high season. Meanwhile, more than one billion gallons of ice cream and other dairy dessert products continue to be produced within the United States each year.
Venezuelan pet food manufacturers, such as the Venezuelan division of Purina, are trying to continue supplying the market by reducing pet food varieties. The manufacturers hope that this will allow them to maximize what scarce raw materials they have.
A few months back, the Venezuelan division of Purina halted production entirely due to a lack of raw materials such as soy and corn, but they have recently began full-capacity production once more.