NARBC Tinley Park Show Was Successful for PIJAC and Other Attendees
Last weekend, hundreds of reptile hobbyists, businesses, and pet lovers flooded the Convention Center in Tinley Park, Ill. In just its fifth year, the Tinley Park North American Reptile Breeder Conference (NARBC) has become the go-to herp event in the country, and the largest held each year at the Chicago suburb’s convention center.
As in Arlington, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) was proud to do our part to help the reptile-loving public have a fun and healthy relationship with reptiles. NARBC’s Bob Ashley, who recently spoke with me about the great work he and his team do for the shows, made sure that we were able to give out our Healthy Herp Handling posters to at least 50 attendees on Saturday alone.
In addition to providing our posters for public education, I was able to introduce PIJAC director of communications Dustin Siggins to many hobbyists and full-time herp professionals. Eugene Bessette, Bob and many others helped Dustin to better understand herp health, herp businesses and the regulatory challenges facing those who love reptiles.
Last, but not least, I was able to discuss some of what PIJAC is doing to help advocates protect themselves and pet ownership against animal rights activists, such as in Virginia and Nevada. PIJAC has also worked with the Centers for Disease Control to raise industry awareness about a recent turtle-based Salmonella outbreak—including correcting a media misconception that turtles are dangerous pets.
Reptile professionals from all over the country once again showed the power of pets during the event—as well as the compassion of the reptile industry, as $45,000 was raised through cash donations and an auction to help a reptile professional whose daughter recently passed away.
Dustin and I spoke with people from Wisconsin, Maryland, South Carolina, Indiana and elsewhere—all people dedicated to the human-animal bond as well as the continued health of reptiles across America.
Josh Jones is director of legislative and regulatory engagement for PIJAC.