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PIJAC Announces Industry Care Standards for Small Animals

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They’re designed to assure proper care of small mammals, reptiles and birds.

(Press Release) LAS VEGAS, NV — The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and leaders from across the pet community have unveiled an initiative to help assure proper care of small companion animals. The PIJAC Small Animal Standards of Care (SAC) is the first comprehensive set of voluntary standards for breeders and distributors of small mammals, reptiles and birds.

Pet industry leaders, animal care experts, veterinarians, and others have worked together for over a year to evaluate Animal Welfare Act regulations, existing animal care policies and companion animal care best practices.

Their goal was to address a gap in animal welfare – a lack of regulations surrounding birds and reptiles – and to align best practices for the care of small mammals at breeders and distributors. The result of this collaboration are the SAC standards, which are a rigorous, substantive program to assure the health and well-being of small companion animals.

“This truly was a collective effort to create and launch the first national set of robust guidelines for the care of small companion animals being raised by breeders and distributors of animals,” said Mike Bober, president and CEO of PIJAC. “These standards incorporate current best practices, science, and data into a single set of high-level standards to help ensure the welfare of these animals; to provide critical animal care guidance for breeders, distributors, and employees; and to demonstrate our shared commitment to assuring responsibility and appropriate animal care at all times.”

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Bober and PIJAC Board Chair Laura “Peach” Reid worked closely with pet industry leaders for more than one year to create the standards. “PIJAC’s diverse membership enabled our committee to secure input and evaluation from experts representing all sectors within our pet community,” said Reid, who also chairs the PIJAC Small Animal Care Committee. “The SAC standards for birds, small mammals, and reptiles will allow all who care for these pets to hold themselves to the same high standards for best practices.”

The standards are a compilation of federal Animal Welfare Act regulations, veterinary review, and existing industry best practices with a firm grounding in science and data. Standards are divided into sections on facilities, care practices, and transport to address all stages of animal care by breeders and distributors. Guidelines for record-keeping and staffing procedures also are included.

The standards also codify best practices for the care of reptiles and birds, which are not regulated under the federal Animal Welfare Act. By creating industry expectations for care, the standards will ensure proper nutrition, veterinary care, and other best practices are provided for these animals.

“A critical measure included in the standards is the establishment of new guidelines for biosecurity and facility security,” said Bober. “The standards for these areas are general enough to account for the individual circumstances in which each breeder and distributor may find themselves, but specific enough to provide effective guidance above and beyond the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act for disease prevention, health and well-being and site management.”  

Specific elements of the standards include, but are not limited to, care provisions addressing housing, water and air quality, lighting and temperature control, feed and nutrition, cleanliness and sanitation, biosecurity, veterinary care, quarantine of sick animals, euthanasia, and much more. Standards also address the humane transport of small animals, including handling and receiving, animal carriers, shipping, space per animal, safety, and temperature control.

As an added measure of assurance within the program, two complementary programs focused on animal care by the employees of breeders and distributors accompany the introduction of the standards: a Duty of Care policy and a toll-free hotline.

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The Duty of Care template is designed to be adopted by breeders and distributors for their employees to sign. Signing the code affirms that employees understand and share their employers’ commitment to the SAC standards and agree to care for animals according to those standards.

The animal care toll-free hotline provides an anonymous method for any employee of a breeder or distributor to confidentially report animal abuse or mistreatment, without concern for retaliation, so that all claims can be investigated thoroughly, and disciplinary actions can be taken as needed.

“Empowering employees with the resources and education to recognize and report animal mistreatment or care issues makes this program even more meaningful – and will ensure proper care across the entire breeding and distribution channel,” said Bober.

SAC standards are the first of what is anticipated to be additional developments in the area of small animal care.

Program leaders anticipate that over time, the now-voluntary standards may be expanded as part of a continuous improvement process, and verification of compliance with the standards may be affirmed through third-party, independent audits.

An executive summary, as well as the full set of comprehensive SAC standards, is available online at www.PIJAC.org.

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7 Pet-Friendly Trends Taking Hold Across America

Mars Petcare released a new report.

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FRANKLIN, TN — Mars Petcare and its Better Cities for Pets program released their first annual report, demonstrating how pet ownership is shaping communities. From housing and business policy to overarching economic health, pets “are making a profound impact on our lives and thus the decisions to be more inclusive made by businesses, shelters and government,” according to a press release.

As part of the report, Mars Petcare has identified seven emerging trends in pet-friendly cities that are leading the way.

“We’re excited to share the inaugural BETTER CITIES FOR PETS Annual Report, which highlights the latest trends in pet-friendly cities and what citizens want to see in their own communities,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “We created this report using data and insights from our collaboration with government officials and consumers across the country. We look forward to following the journey of these cities as they continue to make progress, and we hope that this report serves as inspiration for other communities looking to drive change and welcome pets.”

Here are the trends:

From “Pet-Friendly” to “Pet-Optimized” Pads: With the rise of people owning pets, rental property owners are increasing their pet-friendly amenities to offer more upscale, convenience-driven options.

Open for Business: Businesses are evolving their retail experiences and catering to pet owners by educating shoppers and offering new amenities like in-store pet-sitting and pet-friendly decals in their storefronts for easy navigation.

Pets as a Work Perk: An increasing number of employers are welcoming four-legged friends into the workplace to maintain and attract new talent and increase productivity.

Beyond Doggy Bags: Unique dining options for pooches and their human parents are growing across the country as pets on patio legislation becomes more popular.

Bringing Zen to Shelters: Shelters are sprucing up their environments to attract more potential adoptive families and make pets feel more at ease in their temporary homes.

Reclaiming Public Space: From Parklets to “Barklets”: Cities everywhere are transforming parking lots, street corners and sidewalks to establish gathering spaces for people and pets alike.

Pet “Paw-litics”: An increasing number of political leaders are advocating for animal rights and pet welfare as more of their constituents demand change.

This year, Mars Petcare introduced the Better Cities for Pets certification to celebrate cities that have implemented pet-friendly programs and policies and committed to expanding their efforts to make people and pets welcome. To become certified, cities shared data on existing and future pet-friendly features related to the 12 traits of a pet-friendly city across the areas of businesses, parks, shelters and homes. Similarly, the company rolled out a consumer assessment, allowing citizens everywhere to offer input on the status of their city and what they’d like to see change.

The Better Cities for Pets Annual Report leverages data and insights from certified pet-friendly cities, consumer assessments, a consumer survey and recent studies from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition and Banfield Pet Hospital.

Key data points within the complete Annual Report include:

Ninety-two percent of Better Cities for Pets certified cities surveyed said they have local programs that distribute pet food for families in need.

Eighty-seven percent of employers say being dog-friendly helps them attract and retain more talent.

A majority of cities (60 percent) say they’re now taking pets into account when planning their green space.

Only 41% of cities said pets are welcome in most rental housing.

Certified Cities:

To-date, 31 cities have received the Better Cities for Pets certification, including:

Arlington, TX
Bentonville, AR
Bloomington, IN
Calumet City, IL
Cleveland, OH
Dallas, TX
Downey, CA
Fort Wayne, IN
Franklin, TN
Gresham, OH
Hallandale Beach, FL
Henderson, NV
Houston, TX
Key West, FL
Laguna Niguel, CA
Meaford, Ontario, Canada
Memphis, TN
Miami, FL
Miami Lakes, FL
Nashville, TN
Oakland, CA
Plano, TX
Port St. Lucie, FL
Reno, NV
Rochester, MI
Royalton, MN
Santa Clarita, CA
Southport, NC
St. Petersburg, FL
Topeka, Kan.
Tucson, Ariz.

To view the full Better Cities for Pets Annual Report, visit http://bit.ly/BetterCities2019ReportPDF. For more information on the Better Cities for Pets program and how to become certified, visit BetterCitiesForPets.com.

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Raw Pet Food Producer Plans Manufacturing Expansion

The project will result in a 70% increase in the output of frozen and freeze-dried products.

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GREEN BAY, WI — Carnivore Meat Co. has announced plans for a manufacturing expansion — its second in two years.

The raw pet food producer said it is “revamping production lines and making significant investments in new meat processing equipment including individual quick freeze (IQF) tunnels, blenders and conveying systems that will increase overall speed and capacity.”

No dollar figure for the investment was released.

The expansion will result in a 70% increase in the output of Carnivore Meat’s frozen and freeze-dried products. This comes on the heels of the multi-million-dollar expansion of the company’s freeze-drying facility in 2018.

“With the increasing demand for our products, which is expected to continue trending upward, our ability to more efficiently manufacture all of our products is paramount,” said Brian Lakari, vice president of operations. “With these changes, we will be prepared and well positioned to meet the rapidly growing demand.”

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Vital Essentials and Vital Cat, are the company’s two leading brands.

“It’s impossible to improve meat quality, we can only maintain it,” said Jason Goddard, director of quality. “The new equipment and line improvements give us even greater control in maintaining the quality and preserving the nutritional value of the food and treats we manufacture.”

Melissa Olson, vice president of sales and marketing, said, “These improvements, coupled with our sustainability initiatives, positions us to answer the demands of our newest generation of pet parents. Millennials are looking not only for high quality food for their pets, but premium products that will enhance the quality of their pets’ lives and their own family life. We sincerely believe Vital Essentials is that brand.”

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FTC Releases Disclosures Guidance for Social Media Influencers

It explains when and how influencers must disclose sponsorships to their followers.

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Enlisting social media “influencers” has become a popular way to promote a wide range of products, including pet items.

Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious to consumers what is and isn’t an ad. The Federal Trade Commission wants to fix that.

The FTC has released a new publication for online influencers that lays out the agency’s rules of the road for when and how influencers must disclose sponsorships to their followers.

The new guide, “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers,” provides influencers with tips from FTC staff about what triggers the need for a disclosure and offers examples of both effective and ineffective disclosures.

The guide and accompanying videos underscore that the responsibility to make disclosures about endorsements lies with the influencer. The guide outlines the various ways that an influencer’s relationship with a brand would make disclosures necessary, and it reminds influencers that they cannot assume that followers are aware of their connections to brands.

The guide includes tips for when and how influencers should tell their followers about a relationship. For example, it suggests the words influencers might use, as well as where in their social posts a disclosure should appear.

The new publication summarizes the FTC’s existing guidance in this area, including the FTC’s Endorsement Guides and a 2017 question-and-answer document produced by staff.

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