by: Mike Bober
Last week, PIJAC was proud to co-host discussions between Bernadette Juarez – the USDA Deputy Administrator of Animal Care for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – and over 40 of the industry’s top executives and leaders. The question-and-answer session, which was held at the Global Pet Expo, covered a wide variety of topics – from the USDA’s oversight of breeders and distributors to how animal activists use USDA reports and data.
Juarez also answered questions about the USDA’s decision to remove breeder inspection reports and other documents containing personal information from its website. She said that about 10,000 reports have been put back online for public viewing, while 20,000 remain offline.
Shortly after engaging with leaders, Juarez joined American Pet Products Association (APPA) President Bob Vetere, PIJAC Board Chair Laura “Peach” Reid, and myself for a tour of the show floor. Juarez saw fish, reptiles, birds, cats, and dogs, and spoke with a number of Global exhibitors.
PIJAC is grateful to Juarez and her colleague, Dr. Teresa Drotar, for accepting our invitation so they could learn about the responsible pet trade and share insights into current and pending USDA actions. We also thank APPA for hosting the event at Global, and we especially thank the industry leaders who took time out of their busy Thursday to better understand the USDA and to provide Juarez with the industry’s perspective on important matters.
For the responsible pet industry’s breeders and retailers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a necessary partner in facilitating ethical practices and putting bad actors out of business. The better we understand each other, the better off we, our consumers, and household pets will be.