Lifestyle Pets

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Lifestyle Pets
Industry animal breeding
Key people Simon Brodie (founder)
Website http://www.lifestylepets.com/
References: formerly Allerca

Lifestyle Pets, formerly Allerca, is a Delaware-based biotechnology company that claims to have bred hypoallergenic cats through a selective breeding process. The company was originally incorporated in California.[1]

According to company literature, the company's cats have significantly reduced levels of a particular protein that humans suffer allergic reactions to.[2] The journal Nature reported in September, 2006 that in an Allerca-funded study, Sheldon Spector, a clinical allergy expert at the University of California, Los Angeles, found the company's cats to be less allergy-inducing than the control. However, neither the study nor its underlying data have been published,[3] and Spector himself advises caution as regards his study's interpretation as he used an experimental setup that is generally regarded as less than reliable.[4] A July 2006 article in the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that no details about the cats have been released, nor have there been any peer-reviewed studies published about the company's work.[1] Cat experts also questioned whether the company's breeding model - stated at the time to be up to 10,000 cats by 2009 - was viable.[citation needed] Time named the company's cats among its list of Best Inventions for 2006.[5] Allerca refuses to provide its kittens to clients whose allergy test results "indicate a level that includes HIGH".[6] A cat based on the Domestic shorthair cost US$6,950 while ones based on the Siamese and Ashera cost $16,900 and $26,950 respectively.[7]

In February 2006, Allerca was evicted from its San Diego headquarters, an address that doubled as the founder Simon Brodie's home.[1] Brodie's previous businesses have "left behind unhappy clients, unpaid employees, debts, lawsuits, court judgments and liens...."[1] The company Transgenic Pets sued Allerca and Brodie for theft of trade secrets and business plans.[1] Allerca settled. The settlement agreed that Allerca would not re-enter the genetically engineered allergen free cat market until May 31, 2006.[8]

For a while, Allerca offered a franchising program, possibly in violation of California law.[9] Reports from Allerca indicate that they accepted at least partial payment from potential franchisees. [9]

The company announced that on January 1, 2010 they will cease their breeding activities.[10] However, their website remains active, and recent online complaints suggest that they are still in business.[11] A report by ABC news in July 2013 [12][13] confirms that the cats sold by Lifestyle Pets are no more hyperallergenic than any other cat.

Fel d 1[edit]

Most human cat allergies are caused by Fel d 1. Allerca (and earlier, Geneticas) scientists tried to delete or disable the gene. The company now says it has "discovered" a breed of cats that had a mutant version of the protein that did not induce an allergic response. Since a number of Fel d 1 alleles are known and documented whereas it is presently impossible to deduce allergenicity from their DNA or protein sequence alone, the alleged mutant cats could in fact exist, but their hypoallergenicity cannot be considered proven for the time being.

Controversy[edit]

Discussions on forums and blogs continue to debate the status of this company and whether it is "vaporware". This has given rise to at least one web site complaining that creature has not been provided as promised.[14] A report page has been opened at the Better Business Bureau of Wilmington, Delaware. It shows the current rating as "Unsatisfactory.". Reports of customers receiving their Allerca GD kitten are sporadic, but they can be found on the web.[15]

A Warren, NJ man filed suit against Allerca for return of $7900 he paid in September 2007 for a hypoallergenic cat.[16] Delivery was initially promised in eight months, but after repeated delays of the promised delivery date through 2008 and 2009, and a statement in March 2009 that the delivery scheduled had been affected by "decreased kitten production," the customer requested return of his money.[16]

Ashera cats[edit]

Main article: Ashera

Lifestyle Pets also markets a hybrid cat under the name "Ashera." Several of the cats sold under the Ashera name were actually of the Savannah cat breed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Crabtree, Penni (2006-07-16). "Questions trail local entrepreneur". Sign on San Diego. San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. 
  2. ^ Exposure Trial by Leading Allergist Shows ALLERCA Cat Is Hypoallergenic Allerca, Sept. 14, 2006
  3. ^ Allergy-free pets surprisingly simple, Nature, Michael Hopkin, Sept. 26, 2006
  4. ^ Grens, Kerry (2007-01-01). Felis Enigmaticus 21 (1). The Scientist. p. 32.  archived copy 2008-11-15
  5. ^ TIME Best Inventions 2006
  6. ^ Allerca sales e-mail
  7. ^ Hypoallergenic cats Lifestyle Pets
  8. ^ Crabtree, Penni (2006-06-08). "Allerca promises sneeze-free cats". Sign on San Diego. San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. 
  9. ^ a b Crabtree, Penni (2006-10-25). "Franchised felines?". Sign on San Diego. San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. 
  10. ^ "Lifestyle Pets". Allerca. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  11. ^ http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Allerca-Lifestyle-Pets/internet/Allerca-Lifestyle-Pets-Simon-Brodie-Cats-are-NOT-hypoallergenic-Internet-997100
  12. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/case-hypoallergenic-cat-19695208
  13. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/man-hypoallergenic-cats-19695238
  14. ^ Mintz, Bob. "Allerca Lifestyle Pet Rip-Off". Allerca Lifestyle Pet Rip-Off. Archived from the original on 2008-08-06. 
  15. ^ Cahoon, Lauren (2008-04-16). "Allergy-Free Cats: Fact or Fiction?". Allergy-Free Cats: Fact or Fiction?. ABC News. Archived from the original on 2008-08-06. 
  16. ^ a b Deak, Michael (2009-08-13). "Warren man wants $7,900 back for 'hypoallergenic kitten'". myCentralJesery.com. Courier News/Home News Tribune. Archived from the original on 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 

External links[edit]