If you scan a dog toy's description or packaging, you'll find three words: Made in ________. Sometimes it says 'America', more often it says 'China'. But is one better than the other? And if so, what are the differences?
It Matters Where Your Dog's Toy Are Made
It matters where dog toys are made because different countries have wildly different product safety standards and worker protections. This affects not only the quality of the product but also its ethicalness. When it comes to dog toy manufacturing, "Made in the USA" is considered the gold standard because of the U.S.'s product safety standards and labor protections.
That being said, there are serious concerns regarding China's regulation and oversight of manufacturing in the country as well as their labor practices. This has an adverse effect on both product safety and the ethicalness of their supply chain.
When a company outsources their manufacturing to another country, there is also the environmental impact of commercial shipping to consider.
Safe Dog Toys | Product Safety
Chinese product safety remains a persistent challenge for the U.S., especially concerning pet products. There are significant gaps in China's safety regulations which have allowed the export of dangerous pet food, treats, and toys containing high levels of lead. While the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proactively monitors imports, they do not have the staff to monitor every port and inspect every shipment.
According to the CPSC's Chinese Product Safety Report
, "imported goods in general are less likely to comply with U.S. safety requirements than U.S. domestic products." Chinese products in particular account for a disproportionately large share of product safety issues and recalls, most due to dangerous manufacturing practices (i.e. use of toxic heavy metals like lead).
In contrast, U.S. manufacturers are highly regulated by federal and state governments. Manufacturers in the US must obtain licenses and permits and follow stringent quality control procedures. There is far more oversight and transparency in U.S. manufacturing and labor in general which result in higher quality, ethical products and far fewer product recalls.
Ethical Dog Toys | Human and Animal Rights
There is a human working behind every machine that creates dog toys, and China is one of the biggest violators of human rights in the world.
China brutally represses ethnic and religious minorities, particularly the Uyghers and other Muslim minority groups. According to the U.S. Department of State regarding the Chinese Communist Party's human rights abuses
, the CCP uses forced labor to target these communities through "government-facilitated arrangements with private-sector manufacturers." This is increasingly taking place throughout China, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued an advisory to businesses to caution about the "risks of supply chain links to entities that engage in human rights abuses, including forced labor."
As a dog toy company, we also have a moral conflict working in and with a country that currently has no nationwide laws that prohibit the mistreatment of animals. Life is dangerous for a lot dogs and cats in China. It is estimated that 10 million dogs and 4 millions cats are inhumanely slaughtered each year in China for their meat, according to Animals Asia
. There is widespread animal cruelty in zoos, safari parks, circuses, and tourist attractions. There are no laws prohibiting this cruelty.
Loblola donates 4% to the Soi Dog Foundation
which works to rescue dogs and fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia. Working with China would be antithetical to our values.
Eco-Friendly Dog Toys | Environmental Impact of Shipping
About 90% of the world's trade is transported by sea. The environmental impact of international shipping
is air pollution, water pollution, acoustic pollution which interferes with marine species, and greenhouse emissions. It is responsible for the emission of one billion tons of carbon dioxide each year.
While our company is small, we feel no less responsibility to do our part in limiting the negative environmental impact of our business. By manufacturing in the U.S. (where we are based), we reduce our carbon footprint by thousands of miles per shipment. Additionally, Loblola is a member of 1% for the Planet
, a global organization whose members donate one percent of annual revenue to environmental causes.
Dog Toys Made in the USA
Loblola dog toys are made in the USA. Our decision to manufacture our dog toys here in the U.S. was an easy one. While it may be cheaper to manufacture in China, we didn’t find it ethical, transparent, or to align with our values. Luckily we are in great company: there are many other well-made and well-loved dog toys out there that are also made in the USA.