Meet the PIJAC Board
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council’s Board of Directors includes some of the most knowledgeable and experienced people in the pet industry, all focused on protecting the well-being of companion animals and the pet trade.
You hear from us at the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) all the time. You’ve used our Pet Alerts and Issue Updates to stay aware of legislative and regulatory actions affecting your business. You’ve stopped by our booths at SuperZoo and Global Pet Expo. But what do you know about the PIJAC Board of Directors, the industry professionals who commit their time and talents to advising PIJAC’s professional staff?
Your PIJAC Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from various segments of the pet industry, including representatives from other member industry trade associations. As you know, PIJAC’s mission is to:
• Promote responsible pet ownership and animal welfare
• Foster environmental stewardship, and
• Ensure the availability of pets.
To most efficiently work with PIJAC staff on our mission—which addresses our goals through education and government affairs—the board has some of the most knowledgeable and experienced people in the pet industry, all of whom serve as volunteers. Each year at our annual meeting (typically at Global Pet Expo), about a third of the board members are elected to serve a three-year term. Then officers are elected (chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer), with each serving a one-year term—although the chair serves for two years.
Because our mission centers on the companion animal element of the pet industry, our board composition reflects that. Board members have extensive experience in either retail, wholesale distribution or breeding. Three additional board members are nominated by broader industry organizations and keep us connected to the industry as a whole. Board members are dedicated, hard-working and passionate about protecting animal well-being and promoting our responsible pet trade.
As you can imagine, there is a great deal of committee work going on all the time. Our government affairs committee is, of course, the most active. When state legislatures are in session, we have hour-long or longer conference calls every two weeks, with staff updating us on the latest proposed pieces of legislation or regulation and the latest developments on pieces already being tracked and worked. We engage in lively discussion as to how to handle matters, and brain-storm on strategies. Some board members also act as their states’ legislative liaisons with PIJAC.
Our zoonoses committee, which deals with various diseases that can be spread from animals to humans, is incredibly important to us all, and we are very fortunate to have representation from both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV). You can count on PIJAC to be the point of contact to quickly notify the industry about any outbreaks, such as salmonella. You can download Zoonotic Disease Prevention flyers for you and your staff, as well as our Healthy Herp Handling poster on our website.
A newly formed animal care committee has been created to enhance and protect the trade’s supply of companion animals. When this project is completed, we will have comprehensive best management practices (BMPs) for breeders and the wholesalers who distribute their animals. This document will address animal care standards for small mammals, reptiles, birds and aquatics. We are also developing recommendations regarding employees addressing everything from hiring through training and their individual responsibility and commitment to providing quality animal care. This is an industry-wide undertaking that you’ll be invited to weigh in on as we proceed.
We also have sector-specific committees for aquatics, herptiles and small mammals. Membership on these active committees includes PIJAC members and invited guests to ensure that we have the most knowledgeable individuals possible. Like all our committees, these too have regularly scheduled meetings and conference calls. We have on-hand and on-call experts for dogs, cats and birds, as well. All these groups and their expertise are instrumental when we are working on the local, county, and state levels with legislators and regulators. Committees are usually also engaged in one project or another year-round. The most recent product of sector-specific work was the industry response to the release of the Finding Dory movie, with our messaging about responsible aquarium and fishkeeping.
There are regularly scheduled conference calls for all the other administrative committees, and lots of work in-between. It is truly remarkable and exciting to be working and collaborating with industry peers and leaders. We have face-to-face board meetings quarterly, generally at the major trade shows, and these are open to all members of the pet trade and press. Our next board meeting is at SuperZoo on Monday, August 1, from 5 – 9 p.m., in room Tradewinds C at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. I hope you’ll join us.
We always have time for you, and welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions. We also appreciate any participation and involvement you can give, and would sure love to see you at our next board meeting.
For more info, go to www.pijac.org
Laura “Peach” Reid is chair of the PIJAC Board of Directors, and president and CEO of Fish Mart Inc.