PIJAC Meetings Deepen Key Public-private Partnerships
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council's Habitattitude partnership with Fish & Wildlife Services raises awareness about the proper handling of potentially invasive species kept as pets.
As the responsible pet industry’s legislative and advocacy voice, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) regularly engages with policymakers to shape and influence laws and regulations that impact the pet industry. Inherent in this duty is ensuring the safety and health of pets, the environment, and pet owners.
While this is often done through legislative relationships, some of PIJAC’s most important work is accomplished by public-private partnerships with federal and state officials. Public-private partnerships, such as our Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with Fish & Wildlife Services (FWS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), help regulators and the industry better understand each other for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Readers are familiar with PIJAC’s Health Alerts, a staple of our MOU with the CDC that ensures industry awareness of human-animal disease outbreaks. PIJAC’s Healthy Herp Handling posters are popular with reptile and herp lovers, and our Habitattitude partnership with FWS raises awareness about the proper handling of potentially invasive species kept as pets.
Last week, PIJAC staff met with FWS officials to discuss the details of a significant update to the Habitattitude website. Once this is completed, PIJAC and the federal government again will have a powerful tool to help pet owners recognize how they can stop their pets from becoming invasive species.
FWS officials also expressed interest in finding greater opportunities to meet with and better understand the industry.
The CDC’s partnership with PIJAC deepened a year ago with the addition of a CDC representative to PIJAC’s Zoonosis Committee, and more recently with coordination regarding social media and newsletter-based awareness campaigns on important pet-related issues. Most recently, on Jan. 19, the CDC hosted discussions with PIJAC senior staff and Zoonosis Committee leadership on effectively combating zoonoses issues. These meetings were helpful toward meeting the CDC’s and PIJAC’s shared goal of ensuring the health and safety of all pets and pet lovers.
PIJAC is honored with the trust to represent the industry to lawmakers and regulators alike. Our partnerships with FWS, CDC, and other federal and state agencies are just some of the many powerful tools we use to ensure a vibrant future for those who care for and about pets.
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.