How PIJAC is Helping Combat Antimicrobial Resistance
Michael Craig, MPP, senior advisor for Antibiotic Resistance, Antibiotic Resistance Coordination and strategy unit at CDC with Mike Bober, president and CEO of PIJAC
Gwyn Donohue, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
Last September, a few members of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC)’s staff traveled to New York to attend the kick-off of the Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Challenge. The year-long initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services was aimed at addressing the growing threat of antimicrobial resistant germs to human and animal health. PIJAC was invited by the CDC to participate and represent the responsible pet care community in working to tackle the issue.
On Sept. 23, we were in New York again for a celebration of all that the participating organizations—including national and international organizations involved in everything from medicine and pharmaceuticals to agriculture and manufacturing—had accomplished in one short year.
The evening’s program shared how the AMR Challenge received nearly 350 commitments from 33 countries to implement specific actions to combat antibiotic resistance, also known as antimicrobial resistance or AMR. These actions were depicted in video shorts, and described by speakers ranging from the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to an AMR survivor who nearly lost his life to an antibiotic-resistant infection after his leg was amputated.
PIJAC was highlighted in a video showcasing the work of CDC partners to improve how antibiotics are used in pets and the pet industry to help slow the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant germs, and protect the health of both humans and animals.
PIJAC and the responsible pet care community developed a proactive approach to combatting AMR and addressing the threat posed to humans by resistant zoonotic diseases. We gathered information on the various ways in which antimicrobials are used throughout the pet care community, and talked to breeders, distributors, retailers, manufacturers and animal healthcare professionals. Taking everything we learned, we convened a working group of stakeholders and experts and developed an industry-wide, comprehensive best management practices document, “Recommendations for Antibiotic Stewardship in Companion Animals.”
The recommendations, which were launched at the Global Pet Expo in March, encompass a unified set of principles for all sectors of the pet care community, with an emphasis on those involved in the breeding, rearing, transport and sale of companion animals as well as those who work with products where antibiotics regularly intersect with animals. They were widely distributed across the pet care and pet product spectrums.
If you haven’t seen the recommendations yet, we urge you to download and implement them into your existing animal and human health protection procedures as soon as possible.
Great strides were made to combat AMR during the past year, but the work to battle this growing threat to human and animal health is far from over. We at PIJAC will provide regular updates as our work to ensure the health and well-being of pets and humans moves forward. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Savonne Caughey is director of government affairs for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). Her nearly 20 years of government relations and public affairs experience includes high-level positions in public service as well as in the corporate and non-profit sectors. She has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Elanco Animal Health, the state of Texas, and the American Heart Association.