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Alliances and Awards Among the Global Pet Expo Highlights for PIJAC


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It was great to once again be at Global Pet Expo last week. Thousands of people flooded the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., showcasing the totality of pet care across the entire industry. 

As the legislative and advocacy voice for the trade, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) was active throughout the show, meeting with you and discussing your concerns about governmental activity at the local, state, federal and even international levels. These meetings are essential. Without knowing what you do each and every day and drawing on your experience and expertise, we cannot do our job well. Your on-the-ground, day-to-day work with companion animals guides how we do our work. 

Possibly the most important thing we at PIJAC did last week was launch a discussion on antibiotic stewardship within the pet care community. For many years, this issue has been identified as a major issue by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with a primary focus on food animals. It is time for us to begin the process of reviewing our research, practices and standards in all areas of the community. Please contact me to join the conversation, as we need input from everyone to ensure we address this wide-ranging issue effectively and appropriately. 

As we do every year, PIJAC held our Annual Membership Meeting in conjunction with our Board of Directors’ meeting the day before the show began. Staff provided major updates on all of PIJAC’s legislative and education work, our five committees’ goings-on related to government affairs, aquatics, small animals, herptiles and zoonoses, as well as an update on our communications efforts. We also provided updates on a Herp Symposium, which will be held near Washington, D.C. later this year, and shared details on the first-ever Pet Industry Fly-In Day to Washington. 

That fly-in day will take place on Thurs., Sept. 6. It will offer a tremendous opportunity for the pet care community to help Congress connect with those of us who work directly with animal welfare and care every day. 

The proudest moment I had last week was handing out leadership awards to six PIJAC members and allies who have gone above and beyond on behalf of the industry’s advocacy needs. I am grateful to PIJAC Board Chair Laura “Peach” Reid for her decision to reinstate these annual awards. Full details may be seen here

The winners are:

  • Nancy G. Knutson Lifetime Achievement: Louis McCann, president of PIJAC Canada
  • PIJAC Ambassador of the Year: David Dieter, senior director of Sales for Zoo Med Laboratories, Inc.
  • Chair’s Award of Excellence: Chris Buerner, president of Quality Marine
  • Pet Industry Leader of the Year: BEAK, the Bird Enjoyment & Advantage Koalition
  • Pet Advocate of the Year: Chris Foschini, owner of Pets N’Pals 
  • Excellence in Communications: Zoetis’s “Pet Effect” Campaign

Mike Bober is president and CEO of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). PIJAC members include retailers, companion animal suppliers, manufacturers, wholesale distributors, manufacturers’ representatives, pet hobbyists and other trade organizations.

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