As 2015 draws to a close, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council reflects on the great strides that the industry has made in coming together for the common good.
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it’s only right that we as an industry take stock of the things for which we are thankful. Sure, there are the usual suspects: our customers, friends and family, the opportunity to have a positive impact on animal well-being while doing what we love. But there are plenty of other reasons to give thanks this year.
As we’ve worked to promote responsible pet ownership, foster environmental stewardship and ensure the availability of pets this year, we at the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) have found a number of new reasons to be thankful:
Communication—This has been a banner year for increased communication within the pet industry, from the way we tell our story to the way we engage elected officials. We’re embracing transparency in everything from the way we care for animals to the materials that go into our products. We’re gathering facts and figures to support our arguments and refute misinformation spread both knowingly and unknowingly by activists.
Our industry’s communications regarding legislation have improved this year, as well. We’re hearing from more of you regularly as you become aware of proposals and activists’ efforts at the state and local levels; and we’re thankful for the role you play as our eyes and ears on the ground. We’re especially thankful for the thousands of advocates who have responded to our PetAlerts and used our Legislative Action Center to share their views on pending legislation with lawmakers.
Commitment—Even under the best of circumstances, it can be difficult to stay politically engaged. Your business comes first, second and third. Thankfully, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this kind of ongoing engagement is as necessary to business success as paying the electric bill or keeping track of inventory.
We’re thankful for the people throughout the industry who understand this necessity and put in the time to make a difference: the small business owners who joined their local Chambers of Commerce and got to know their elected officials; those who’ve gone the extra mile to lend support in jurisdictions and on issues that didn’t affect them directly; and especially those who invest their time, talent and treasure in support of the entire industry through PIJAC—our members, consultants and tireless Board of Directors. We are so much more effective when we work together than we could possibly be working individually.
Cooperation—In ways big and small, pet industry players have demonstrated an eagerness to work together. Coalitions are the key to success when no single group holds a monopoly on data, experience, connections or grassroots contacts. For example, local fisheries partnered with national organizations and hobbyists across the country to oppose legislation that would harm the responsible aquatics trade in Hawaii.
Within the grooming and styling industry, we worked with more than a dozen groups to form the Professional Pet Groomers and Stylists Alliance. The resulting standards of care, safety and sanitation—developed by groomers and stylists for groomers, stylists, pets and pet owners—will help to build the necessary trust that forms the basis of a positive pet care relationship.
We at PIJAC are also pleased that conversations conducted throughout 2015 have laid the groundwork for new cooperation among the industry’s major trade associations. Our partnership with the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) to organize the Pet Industry Leadership Conference (Jan. 18-21 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz.) will combine the best elements of the Top2Top Conference and PIDA’s Management Conference with the size and scope of APPA to deliver a not-to-be-missed program. And we are excited to bring our legislative and regulatory experience and expertise to bear on behalf of the entire industry as we work with the Pet Leadership Council on a broad array of government affairs topics.
As we look ahead to 2016, there’s still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to the issues and opportunities facing our industry. We will need to build upon the communication, commitment and cooperation that we’ve seen come together over the past year.
What would you, as an industry, like to be thankful for in 2016? And how can PIJAC help achieve it? Let us know by visiting pijac.org or sending us an email.
Mike Bober is executive vice president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. For more information on ways to engage the public and your elected officials, contact Bober at email@example.com.