PIJAC Presents Industry Update at The Pet Industry Leadership Conference
Small animal issues were a major focus of PIJAC throughout in the past two years.
Each year at the Pet Industry Leadership Conference, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) presents an industry update on important legislative goings-on in the responsible pet trade. This year was no exception, and I was proud to moderate an all-star panel that highlighted the legislative, judicial, regulatory and educational efforts on which PIJAC engages through its sector-specific committees. (The conference was held Jan. 28- 31, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort in Naples, Fla.)
Panel participants were Segrest Farms president Sandy Moore (who also co-chairs the PIJAC aquatics Committee), Reptiles by Mack founder and PIJAC herptile committee chair John Mack, Marshall Pet Products director of sales and Marketing Paul Juszczak (who is also a member of the PIJAC small animal care committee), and VitaKraft Sun Seed president and Bird Enjoyment and Advantage Koalition (BEAK) co-chair Brent Weinmann.
Small animal issues were a major focus of PIJAC throughout 2016 and 2017, culminating in Small Animal Care Standards finalized at SuperZoo 2017. PIJAC is in the process of sending copies of the standards and a hotline flyer to approximately 100 breeders and distributors nationwide. Drafted by industry leaders on the small animal care committee, the standards tackle a wide range of issues, including facility maintenance, biosecurity and shipping sizes.
Most of the aquatics committee’s attention in 2017, and thus far in 2018, has focused on protecting Hawaii’s local fishers and aquatic hobbyists from bills and judicial decisions that could close the entire industry in the state. These expensive efforts, including more than $200,000 to PIJAC alone between an environmental review, court challenges, and legislative lobbying, come as the first phase of an aquatics committee-funded study is being finalized by the University of Washington on cyanide fishing. This practice is opposed by the responsible trade, and we hope the commissioned study will provide a better method of testing for cyanide in fish.
The herptile committee is very active on the local and state levels, as well as on best practices. The committee reviewed and updated an Aquatic Turtle Care Sheet in 2017, began planning for a 2018 Reptile and Amphibian Conservation and Culture Symposium, and focused on legislative challenges. PIJAC was proud to succeed in several key jurisdictions, resulting in a minimally impactful exotic animal ban that was supported by the industry, tightening of requirements on farm-raised turtles in Louisiana, and repeal of a ban on turtle sales more than four inches in length in North Carolina.
While BEAK is not part of PIJAC, we work closely with them to ensure safe and effective avian policies. Established just two years ago, BEAK has conducted market research and raised awareness of bird ownership through social media and other tactics to accomplish its goal of reaching 6.7 million birds in human ownership across the U.S. On the legislative front, PIJAC and BEAK are working with Rhode Island lawmakers to enact a bill that would modernize leg band requirements for birds.
PIJAC is exceedingly proud to have the support of so many people leading the sectors of the responsible pet trade. We invite you to be part of the important conversations going on around the country by becoming a PIJAC member and joining our committees.
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.