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The American Pet Products Association (APPA) recently announced that its president and CEO, Bob Vetere, will be retiring following next year’s Global Pet Expo. The organization’s board of directors has selected Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) president, Steve King, to succeed Vetere. King will join APPA in January of 2019 and will work with Vetere to ensure a smooth transition.
“I have given my all to this industry for many years and it was very important to me that my replacement be someone with the same passion that has fueled me, and I’m fully confident that that person is Steve King. I’m so grateful for my dedicated staff and every one I’ve worked with along the way, and now look forward to stepping back and enjoying retirement.”
— Bob Vetere, President & CEO, APPA
Vetere’s tenure as APPA’s CEO began in 2002. In the intervening 16 years under Vetere’s leadership, APPA’s membership has grown from 668 to 1,270. Vetere has also lead several industry-wide initiatives, including the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), the Pets Add Life Campaign, and the Pet Leadership Council.
The Better Cities for Pets program is intended to improve life for people and pets through the funding of city-wide programs. Applicants were encouraged to submit proposals for programs designed to make their communities more pet friendly. Nearly 50 applications were received from which the following recipients were selected.
Large City Winner ($50,000)
Fort Worth, TX
The city of Fort Worth has proposed a local implementation of the national “Pets for Life,” pet wellness program. Pets for Life provides resources to support pets in under-served communities, including those who live in areas lacking veterinary services. Under the program, Fort Worth will use its funding to provide free services such as vaccinations, microchipping, spaying and neutering, and other services. The city anticipates that 700 pets will receive care within the program’s first year.
Medium City Winner ($30,000)
The city of Richmond has proposed a local therapy animal program in collaboration with Pet Partners, a national non-profit organization focused on improving human health and wellness through animal-assisted therapies. The program will attempt to boost the number of therapy animals teams available within the community.
Small City Winner ($20,000)
Hallandale Beach, FL
The city of Hallandale Beach has proposed the development and deployment of a responsible pet ownership campaign. Following research that indicates that education can promote the health and safety of pets, their owners, and their communities, the campaign will focus on preparing potential owners for pet ownership.
“This is the first year of our grant program, and we are blown away by the response. We received nearly 50 applications from cities across the country that proposed impactful ways to make their communities more pet-friendly. We are humbled by this response and wanted to find a way to support all of the applicant cities to join the Better Cities for Pets movement.”
— Jam Stewart, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Mars Petcare
For more information about the Better Cities for Pets program, including ways to propose a program for your city, visit the Better Cities for Pets website.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) has released a statement in response to recent changes made by United Airlines to its PetSafe animal transportation program.
United Airlines has recently made substantial changes to its animal transportation policy to the severe detriment of the pet trade. While their initial change banned the transport of virtually anything except a dog or a cat, they have now published an updated policy which allows for the transport of live fish (including tropical fish), mice and other rodents for laboratory purposes, amphibians, insects (including bees), day-old poultry and hatching eggs, and live animals shipped as food for consumption (including crustaceans and shellfish).
While this may appear to be a reprieve for some segments of the pet industry, others remain deeply affected. United Cargo will not accept shipments of birds (except day-old poultry and hatching eggs), snakes and other reptiles, rabbits, sugar gliders, zoo animals, or other warm-blooded animals (except as listed under “will accept” above). More frustrating, this decision appears to have been reached after sole consultation with an animal welfare organization lacking specific expertise on air transportation and holding restrictive views of what constitutes an “appropriate” companion animal.
We at the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) have expressed our deep concern over the recent changes that United Airlines has made concerning its animal transportation policy. The lists of allowed and forbidden animals appear to lack any basis in science, animal welfare, cargo handler welfare, or even passenger welfare. Instead, it appears to be based entirely on the perceived mainstream acceptance of the transported animal as a family pet. As an organization with many members that handle, care for and work with these animals daily, we believe that United Airlines is grossly underestimating the popularity of many of these animals and we fail to understand the rationale for banning them.
It is critical that the entirety of the pet trade weigh in on this decision. Even if your segment of the industry can continue to ship on United, such policies are often adopted by other airlines who make their own changes to them and you could very well be next. We at PIJAC strongly urge all parties in the pet trade to contact United Airlines and inform them that you disagree with their new animal transportation policy. Although our link to communicate with United Airlines does contain talking points that may be helpful in crafting your communication, we strongly recommend that you personalize this letter to describe your own situation. If you or any of your suppliers transport products with United, please share that fact. Please share this as widely as possible.
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) recently announced that Nature’s Variety, makers of natural, wholesome pet food has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research into the health benefits of the human-animal bond.
“At Nature’s Variety, we believe in the power of pure, real nutrition to keep beloved pets healthy and happy. The human-animal bond is so central to our mission to give pets everything they need for a long and happy life with us. Supporting research into the human health benefits of pets is a perfect complement to our mission. We support better health for people and pets together.”
— Reed Howlett, CEO, Nature’s Variety
Source: Nature’s Variety Supports HABRI
Global Pet Expo has officially set a new attendance record. 6,508 buyers and 1,164 exhibiting companies attended this year’s Global Pet Expo. Compared to 2017’s Global Pet Expo, this year’s attendance represents a 3% increase in exhibiting companies and a 26% increase in buyers.
According to American Pet Products Association (APPA) Executive Vice President and COO, Andrew Darmohraj, this is the 14th year that Global Pet Expo has set a new attendance record.
Attendance wasn’t the only aspect of the show to increase. The number of booths at this year’s Global Pet Expo grew 3% to 3,523 while other aspects of the show were expanded upon as well. The 2018 Global Pet Expo featured a larger Academy, a 30,000 square foot New Products Showcase, and an Aquatic Lounge dedicated to the aquarium industry.
The growth of this year’s Global Pet Expo follows the trends of the pet industry overall. According to data released by APPA during the show, pet spending increased in 2017 increased to $69.51 billion — a 4% increase over 2016. Pet spending is anticipated to grow another 4% in 2018.
Mars Petcare recently kicked off a massive new canine health study that is expected to reveal connections between pet behavior, activity, and health.
The study, known as the Pet Insight Project, is one of the largest technology-facilitated studies of pet health and will involve the study of over 200,000 dogs over the course of three years. The study will employ the Whistle pet tracker to collect activity and behavioral data from dogs. That data will then be combined with data collected about the dog’s health and analyzed using machine learning-based techniques. The hope is that behavior and activity data can be used to predict changes in pets’ health and allow owners to have advanced warning of those health issues.
“Innovative projects like Pet Insight Project are exactly what this industry needs to drive care forward. Technology and big data are powerful tools that could radically alter how we deliver veterinary care. This notion of transforming veterinary medicine is the driving force behind NAVC’s Veterinary Innovation Council and the Veterinary Innovation Summit, and resonates strongly with our Summit attendees working hard to transform pet health.”
— Tom Bohn, CEO, NAVC
The U.S.-focused Pet Sustainability Coalition will be expanding to include European companies later this year.
The Pet Sustainability Coalition, founded in 2013, is an an organization dedicated to improving sustainability within the pet industry. In just five years, it has grown its membership from eight pet companies to over 60. Its expansion into Europe is expected to follow a similar path, with its initial European contingent consisting of four companies: Brit, Josera, Pets International, and Protix.
European membership will open in May at Interzoo in Nuremburg, Germany.
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 2017 broke new records for pet spending in the United States.
Last year, Americans spent over $69 billion on pets, an increase of 4% over 2016’s $66 billion. Of that, pet food sales continue to account for the biggest portion, with over $29 billion spent. Veterinary care represented the second biggest portion at over $17 billion and is the fastest growing segment, having grown 7% in the past year.
“It’s incredible to not only see growth for the pet industry in general, but to experience growth across all categories — with the exception of ‘live animal purchases’ which remained the same. Talk to any pet owner and they’ll tell you how difficult it is to put a dollar limit on what they’d spend to give their loyal companion a happy life, and it’s this outlook that continues to drive growth.”
— Bob Vetere, President & CEO, APPA
The American Veterinary Medical Association held its annual legislative fly-in to Washington D.C. last week to urge Congress to support veterinary priorities.
As part of the event, nearly 100 veterinarians and veterinary students took to Capitol Hill to meet with congresspersons about measures to improve animal health and efforts to reduce debt for veterinary students. In total, they held 145 meetings with lawmakers and their staff members.
Among the items focused on by the AVMA contingent were the Farm Bill, H.R. 2, as well as amendments to the Higher Education Act.
For more information about the AVMA’s efforts on Capitol Hill, read the full post on the AVMA @ Work blog.