We at the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) know that pets play an important role in our lives. The benefits of pets are endless...
...from companionship to reducing stress and blood pressure to increasing a child’s sense of responsibility, compassion and promoting an interest in conservation. That’s why the vast majority of American families have one or more pets.
The human-animal bond has been studied for years, and that bond is beneficial for pets and people alike. Owning a pet is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. Pets add to the quality of our lives. Pets make us happy. Pets make us healthy. It is PIJAC’s goal to make sure that pets are well-taken care of by pet owners and the industry, so we can all enjoy pet ownership well into the future.
PIJAC’s mission is to:
- PROMOTE animal well-being and responsible pet ownership
- FOSTER environmental stewardship &
- ENSURE the availability of healthy pets
As pet owners, and as an industry, we have a responsibility to ensure that the animals in our care are treated with kindness and respect, and that pets do not cause environmental or human health problems. PIJAC is a pioneer in developing educational programs for pet owners, the pet industry, related industries, and governmental organizations that address these issues. Below you’ll find some examples of how PIJAC accomplishes its mission.
Animal Welfare and Care
Standards of animal care have steadily risen over the years; from breeding to transportation to retail sale practices. PIJAC has worked with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the past 40 years to enhance effective enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Over the years, PIJAC has supported further amendments to enhance effectiveness of this law to ensure that companion animals in pet stores are raised under humane conditions consistent with appropriate animal care standards. PIJAC continues to work directly with the USDA to facilitate appropriate enforcement of the Act, helping to protect animals and the loving families that bring these pets into their homes.
Responsible Pet Ownership
Because pets don’t come with an owner’s manual, PIJAC developed Care Sheets for new pet owners. Covering a variety of pets, these Care Sheets provide basic care information including proper housing requirements, diet, and additional items needed to care for new pets. Care Sheets are available to retailers nationwide to provide customers with important information for ensuring a happy, healthy pet.
Sometimes a pet is released into the wild, either accidentally or because a pet owner doesn’t know what options are available when they can no longer care for their pet. These released pets can become invasive species. Invasive species are now among the top environmental problems worldwide, costing the U.S. more than $100 billion per year. That’s $1,100 per household, per year! To combat this continuing problem, PIJAC co-founded Habitattitude™ with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Habitattitude™ inspires and educates people to be both responsible pet owners and environmental stewards, minimizing the impact of invasive species concerns on the environment, economy, and human health.
Protecting the pets we love, as well as the natural environment for all animals, is part of our mission as pet industry representatives. In addition to Habitattitude™, PIJAC has been instrumental in developing and implementing proactive educational programs to minimize the impact of diseases and invasive species issues on pets, people, and the environment.
The Amphibian population is threatened by a disease caused by “Bd”. PIJAC created the Bd-Free ‘Phibs campaign to educate pet owners and the pet industry about the problems posed by this disease and provides care practices that can be used to reduce the spread and impact of the disease.
The Pet Pathway Toolkit is another program developed by PIJAC to foster environmental stewardship. It is designed to assist governments, the pet industry, and their partners in establishing programs and policies that prevent the release or escape of pets into the natural environment, where they can become invasive species.
Protecting the Right to Own a Pet
Some legislation can be detrimental to pet ownership. Excessive licensing fees for breeders or pet owners can make pet ownership more expensive and potentially prohibitive. Pet sale bans and limits on the types of pets people may own can cripple legitimate businesses and foster an underground, unregulated market for pets in the future. PIJAC is the national watchdog organization that addresses these issues by:
- Monitoring legislation regarding pets and pet ownership at the local, state, and national level;
- Providing testimony and comments on legislation that is in the best interest of pets and those that care about pets;
- Empowering members with the tools necessary to respond to legislative issues; and
- Collaborating and forging strong networks among government agencies, industry groups and non-governmental organizations.