Superheroes: Protecting Pet Communities
As an industry we develop products and deliver services for the health and well-being of pets. Food for nourishment, toys for mental stimulation, bedding and enclosures for comfort and the list goes on. It is our business to understand the needs of pets and the laws that surround them. Fostering positive experiences impacts the relationship people have with their pets and as a result the health of our industry. Supporting the pet community is at the core of what we do. This is one of the reasons, we are going into our third year of working with food banks and SPCA’s, to gather donated food and products for animals and families in need. Businesses are an integral part of our communities and it is also the reason for our “Animal welfare is everyone’s business!”® campaign.
Beyond the manufacturing and delivery of goods and services there is something more to consider. Since 1892 the criminal code dealing with animal cruelty has remained largely unchanged. What has changed in the last 122 years is the way we perceive our animal companions. What was once considered a piece of property is now a member of the family. This shift is what gave birth to our industry.
In January of this year a dog and a cat were both discovered dead in a Calgary alleyway. They were found emaciated and their muzzles taped shut. The public outcry was intense and spurred many to action hosting walks and awareness campaigns. One small group, formed in the wake of these events, The Time is Now Alberta, decided to focus on supporting a private member’s bill put forth by Federal NDP MP Peggy Nash. Bill C-232 proposes amendments to the current law, making animal abuse an indictable offence which would result in more severe penalties, something we can all get behind. The Bill is currently awaiting second reading in Parliament. Support for the bill has been steadily growing with approximately 15,000 signatures collected, with more coming in. Donna Parker and her small band of colleagues have collected over 2200 signatures by attending pet events and local weekend markets. No small feat for a few people wanting to make a difference. Now imagine what a business could accomplish leveraging their network, community and political influence.
The point we want to raise in this article is that as a business community you can be a powerful force to effect change. We have worked for over 25 years to help craft pet laws at all levels of government, happily with more successes than failures. Our biggest asset has been the willingness of some brave industry businesses to jump in and be part of the process. We are now calling upon all companies to look at the part they can play in shaping animal welfare and look for ways to be involved locally, provincially and even federally. From the smallest pet shop to the largest distributor you can use your influence to help protect those you serve.