Five of the six Directors on the Board of the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) have resigned, citing “irrevocable differences with one board member”.

The outgoing Directors include President Barry Codling, Diana Scott, Todd Clarkson, Nathan Smith, and Candice Seckold, who were all in favour of a proposed change to PIAA’s constitution and Board structure.

This was strongly opposed by PIAA’s sole remaining Director, Anthony Ramsey, and ultimately voted down at a Special General Meeting (SGM) last week.

The proposed changes were outlined by Codling in a recent article published by Pet Industry News, where he spoke about the need to build a Board “based on a skills matrix and sound experience of the industry”. In speaking with Pet Industry News, he highlighted the significant growth the pet industry has experienced, and that the association needed to grow and evolve with it.

Under the proposed new constitution, Director appointment would be determined by a nominations committee, with candidates referenced to a skills matrix, which matches candidates’ profiles to the skills and experience needed to best serve PIAA. The final recommendations decided by the nominations committee would then be put to a vote at the Annual General Meeting.

Ramsey, who strongly believes in the current PIAA constitution, put forward a campaign to rally members to vote against the changes to the constitution and was ultimately successful.

Speaking to Pet Industry News, Ramsey said: “I recognise there may certainly be some concern among the membership given the very open airing of competing ideologies between directors. Ultimately the members cast their judgment at last week’s SGM.

“The PIAA needs to get its house in order and restore proper and normal governance practices. The constitution provides for scenarios such as director resignations and I will be following the obligations set out within our constitution moving forward. There may be some small constitution changes required, however overall, our current constitution is a comprehensive and effective document that serves the association well, it just needs to be respected.”

Ramsey has committed to announcing an interim board appointed under the casual vacancy’s provisions of the constitution within a matter of days.

“The PIAA and a new Board will work hard to restore any lost trust and I am confident the members will see vastly improved outcomes from their PIAA,” he said.

He also said that moving forward the “PIAA will seek to actively engage and cooperate with likeminded organisations such as the Australian Pet Care Association (APCA) and the Aquarium Industry Association of Australia (AIAA)”.

Australia’s pet industry is thriving with almost 70 per cent of Australian households owning a companion animal, so it is more important than ever for the industry to have a strong and united association representing it.

The PIAA’s purpose is to advance the pet industry and provide pathways to support its growth and its members, through training and education packages to administer the correct care of companion animals. It also serves to represent the interest of members in all matters affecting consumers’ rights to owning a companion animal, and its members’ rights to provide their goods and services.

It’s evident that all the PIAA’s directors, both outgoing and remaining, share the same goal of advancing the pet industry in Australia, despite going their separate ways.

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