Mars dominates the pet scene in America. They have just bought a chain of veterinary hospitals to make them the largest owner of animal hospitals/clinics in the USA. Mars now own Banfield and VCA veterinary clinics/hospitals.
Mars also manufacturers a large range of pet foods brands: Cesar, Eukanuba, Iams, Natura, Pedgigree, Royal Canin, Sheba, Temptations Whiskas. Sales were $17 billion in 2015.
This combination of pet food and medical care leaves the door open to misdeeds, misjudgements and conflicts of interest. A similar problem is apparent when big companies such as Mars fund medical research or any other research to do with cats for that matter. The researchers are no longer independent. They will be drawn to biased conclusions.
Veterinarians working at Mars owned clinics are not genuinely independent in the same way that veterinarians who own their clinic are.
The obvious potential conflict of interest is that the veterinarians will push Mars manufactured pet foods whether it is in the best interests of the patient or not; whether it is suitable or not.
The dry food prescription formulas are pushed by vets when they are frankly controversial.
When there is an arguable monopoly prices are likely to be less competitive. That’s obvious. I am not saying that veterinarians at Banfield and VCA clinics are selling pet foods at inflated prices or pushing inappropriate foods but there will be an incentive to do so. And medical professionals must set the highest standards of integrity and use their best efforts to further the welfare of their patients unencumbered by potential bias and conflicts of interest.
Not only are prices likely to be uncompetitive, Mars veterinarians will be directed to sell Mars products when they might be inappropriate. There might also be pressure to recommend unnecessary procedures.
Apparently for humans, in the USA, there are regulations in place preventing corporations from owning clinics and hospitals but pets are second class citizens in this regard. There is a slightly slacker approach to protecting the rights of animals and this applies to anywhere.
Source: The Truth About Pet Food.