National Invasive Species Awareness Week Highlights Little Understood Pet Owner Issue
From Feb. 26 through March 2, the National Invasive Species Council invites the industry to celebrate National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Invasive species are considered to be among the top environmental problems worldwide and are detrimental to the environment, economy, and both human and animal health.
Part of the problem with invasive species is the lack of awareness on the issue. An invasive species is a harmful non-native organism that threatens native wildlife and habitats. Many pet owners don’t know that their pet can become an invasive pet, so they release it into the wild if they cannot sustain the animal in their home.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) insists that pet owners never abandon their pet into the wild. While the owner may think that they are being humane by releasing a pet into the “natural environment,” it’s actually very harmful.
Given the moral and public policy implications of invasive species, PIJAC has taken action to solve the problem. We are proud to work with the Fish & Wildlife Service on our public-private Habitattitude partnership. While the site is in the midst of updates, it will soon be a powerful tool to educate people to be both responsible pet owners and environmental stewards.
PIJAC also works with lawmakers across the country to ensure invasive species policies are effective. We are engaged with legislators and regulators in Florida right now to protect animals that are inappropriately targeted by House Bill 145.
Lastly, for the first time ever, PIJAC is a proud sponsor of the National Invasive Species Awareness Week luncheons, reception and other events taking place on Capitol Hill. This will help us empower relationships among those in the private and public sectors who care about invasive species, as well as establish new ones through these events!
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.