*Special Global Pet Expo Coverage*
In the face of increased pet-related legislation and regulations, the looming question for the pet industry is: Do we self-regulate or do we wait to be regulated? The pitfalls of waiting are vast, from risking a decrease in pet populations to potentially eroding pet businesses of all types.
In an effort to improve conditions for both puppies and dogs, a group of pet industry associations and animal welfare organizations met to discuss substandard breeding facilities. One of the positives that came out of these meetings was a consensus about what constitutes sub-standard commercial -breeding facilities, including any “dog breeding operation, which offers dogs for monetary compensation or remuneration, in which the physical, psychological and/or behavioral needs of the dogs are not being fulfilled due to inadequate housing, shelter, staffing, nutrition, socialization, sanitation, exercise, veterinary care and/or inappropriate breeding.” The challenge is articulating comprehensive, well-defined standards on which the breeder industry agrees (and has input on), and encouraging voluntary compliance throughout the industry.
After several meetings, the pet industry groups decided to proceed with direct interaction with dog breeders and those pet industry groups concerned with excellent breeding. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) (booth 735), American Pet Products Association (APPA), and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) will continue the mission of creating industry-wide standards for breeders with input from the breeder community. As an industry, we have the responsibility to ensure that the animals in our care are treated humanely. The industry has the animal-husbandry background needed to create science-based standards. Creating industry-wide standards of care illustrates the industry’s commitment to animal welfare to legislators and the public.
PIJAC, APPA and PIDA will reconvene shortly to address these issues. They will be reaching out to breeders and others in the industry to develop concrete, science-based standards—standards that are meant to bring substandard kennels into compliance with the standards the majority of breeders use on a daily basis.
By adopting voluntary standards throughout the industry, we will protect the animals entrusted in our care, challenge the small minority of substandard breeding facilities to raise their standards of care, and ensure consumers have reliable choices.
Cathy Calliotte is vice president of marketing and communications for the Washington, D.C.–based Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.