While there are few things you can say positive about the slow down in pet ownership we experienced a few years ago, it did result in one amazing thing, collaboration.
It took a threat serious enough to cause our industry leaders to look at one another and say we’ve got to do something, together. On an individual level, many companies and organizations have been involved in efforts to support pet adoption and ownership but nothing had been done on an industry-wide grand scale.
Enter the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative, a coordinated effort to prove the science behind the benefits of pets on human health. When leaders saw that this model of diverse companies working together could actually work, it gave birth to another joint initiative, the Pet Leadership Council.
In the spring, the American Pet Products Association’s board of directors made a bold move to reorganize its structure and create a new council that would exist of much more than manufacturers.
This council would work as one toward the cause we all share in common, protecting and growing pet ownership. We set out to organize the industry’s brightest and most experienced, to form one tremendously powerful voice to examine and speak on important issues that effect the entire industry.
In just a matter of months, membership in the Pet Leadership Council now consists of major mass and pet retailers, distributors, product and pharmaceutical manufacturers, live animal suppliers, associations and veterinarians.
Acting like the $55+ billion industry we are, we now have a single organization in place to look at the challenges facing the industry from all angles and make decisions and recommendations jointly on how to best and most efficiently and effectively address them.
While well intended and even well managed, some individual initiatives do not have the same influence or outcome they could if they were combined into one common effort on one behalf. This council will be able to identify duplicative efforts and figure out how to combine resources to make them more successful and impactful.
Development of the PLC exceeds just new membership, in recent months we have developed and are beginning to fill several work groups including marketing and communications, government affairs and support. These groups are working on a mission statement, creating a catalog of programs supported within the industry and identifying ways to consolidate.
We are also underway on construction of a website that will serve as a channel to share industry updates and council progress.
As we continue to face growing threats from not only animal rights activists and bad legislation but also changing demographics and social behaviors, the need to come together has never been more important.
I am personally very excited to see the great body of work that will come from this council and how its efforts will help advance and protect this incredible industry.
– Bob Vetere