ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Members of the pet care community gathered Sept. 18 in Washington D.C. at the second annual Pet Care Community DC Fly-In event, hosted by the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). Lawmakers and a variety of pet industry members, from distributors and retailers to processors, attended.
The event raises awareness about the positive impacts that animal interaction has on veterans and schoolchildren. It also gives the industry a platform to discuss other topics centered around animal welfare, pet health and the human-animal bond.
PIJAC and other industry spokespeople took the opportunity to lobby Congress members for legislation on veterans’ access to service animals, allowing animals in classrooms and other educational settings, protecting public health by expanding animal importation oversight and resolving the current trade issue with China.
“We at PIJAC take great pride in connecting the pet care community to their elected officials for productive discussions about legislation to improve the emotional and physical well-being of both people and pets,” said Mike Bober, president and CEO of PIJAC. “The fly-in is an important opportunity to help lawmakers understand the extraordinary positive impact of pets, from the value of the human-animal bond to the significant role of pets in our nation’s economy.”
Attendees heard Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) discuss a bill he is sponsoring, which would increase access and funding to provide service animals to veterans. World Pet Association representatives Jacinthe Moreau and Vic Mason, along with Elena Bicker of the Animal Rescue Foundation and Pets 4 Vets, presented Stiver with WPA’s Pawsitive Impact award.
John Mack, founder of Xenia, Ohio-based Reptiles by Mack, commented on the event. “My experience during the fly-in has given me a unique appreciation for how complex legislation can be and how important it is for elected officials to hear from the responsible pet care community about the issues that are important to us,” Mack said. “Pets and pet ownership are integral to our society’s health and well-being, and I’m honored to share that message with lawmakers.”
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