January 28, 2020 – ZuPreem is a Morris Animal Foundation VIP – Very Important Partner. David Morris, President of the company and son of Dr. Mark L. Morris Jr., recently shared with us a few insights about the company and why they are committed to animal health both through improving nutrition and sponsoring research at the Foundation.
Q: Tell us about your products and your customers.
We have two categories of products; our zoological diets were first developed back in the 1960s and the typical customer there is a zoological institution. Our biggest niche within zoo diets is our primate diets, including ZuPreem Marmoset Diet. It’s my favorite ZuPreem product and was one of my father’s favorite ZuPreem products as well.
Marmosets and tamarins, which are callitrichids, have a very high requirement for vitamin D. Golden lion tamarins are extremely endangered, down to perhaps a few hundred pairs in the wild in a national park in Brazil. However, over the years, zoological institutions in this country feeding ZuPreem Marmoset Diet have bred these animals and re-introduced them back into the wild. The population is now more sustainable, which is exciting, and we feel pretty good about that.
The zoological diets are an important category of products, but the majority of our products are for companion animals. Those are focused around companion birds and small companion animals, specifically rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs. However, our avian diets are what ZuPreem is best known for; sold in over 30 countries around the world.
Q: ZuPreem has supported the Foundation since 1993. What inspires that commitment?
Personally, I’ve been a trustee for 20 years. The Foundation itself started in 1948, the same year my grandfather worked with a company to manufacture the dog and cat diets he had invented. My grandfather said there needs to be a foundation to support research to benefit animals, not just research to benefit people, so he established Morris Animal Foundation and then dedicated half a penny per can to fund the Foundation. I wanted to make a commitment early on to consistently fund research. It’s just basically following in my grandfather’s and father’s footsteps.
Q: How does this partnership support your broader mission?
At the end of the day, our primary missions are to support zoological institutions’ role in conservation of animals and promote the human-animal bond by helping companion animals live longer, healthier lives. It’s easy to get excited about both. Our support of Morris Animal Foundation reflects these missions as we have supported research studies on the health challenges of zoo animals and companion birds including the nutritional requirements of companion birds.
The fact that we have supported this nutritional research through Morris Animal Foundation means that the results are publicly available and can be utilized by any company to improve their products as well, and we feel good about that as the goal of healthier companion birds is more important than trying to use nutritional research for a competitive advantage.