The past financial year has been somewhat challenging for the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) as it grappled with ongoing significant financial losses.

But in the coming year its members will be its primary focus, explains Anthony Ramsey, President of the PIAA.

“The PIAA, with its new highly energised board in place, is committed to better representing our membership with communication, consultation, and collaboration being at the heart of how we engage with our members.”

Ramsey said there will be a greater focus on identifying and responding to sector specific agenda issues, and that the PIAA will also be re-implementing a suite of member benefits to its small business members, which will hopefully benefit them financially.

“We have also begun the rollout of a series of sector specific social media channels to provide consumers and industry with a forum to deliver a variety of content and key messaging in a modern and cost-effective way. This is also a great way to combat the disinformation often disseminated by those who oppose our industry.”

On those who oppose the industry, Ramsey said that the industry is coming under an ever-increasing threat by organisations which hold ethical and fundamental objections to the keeping of all domestic animals, including pets.

“We must ensure as an industry we unite and continue to focus on our professionalism and the highest standards, to best be able to defend our industries against the challenges ahead.”

This is not the only challenge facing the industry, there are of course the supply chain difficulties and increasing costs that all businesses, regardless of industry, will have to come to terms with over the coming year.

“Although a downturn in the economy seems likely in the next 12 months, the Australian pet industry has traditionally been relatively recession proof. Consumers still spend on their beloved pets no matter how tight the household budget becomes. Service sectors of the pet industry such as boarding, doggy day care, and grooming are also likely to see good growth, with so many more pets entering Australian households during Covid over the past few years.”

With Covid seemingly now almost in the rear-view mirror, the PIAA is hoping to take full advantage of the ability to have face to face interactions.

“Consumer expos are again on the calendar and the PIAA looks forward to once again promoting itself and it’s messaging around responsible pet ownership to the industry and pet owning public alike.”

Ramsey said that the PIAA is focused on addressing the interests of its members and ensuring their voices are heard when important regulatory decisions are being consulted on.

“The PIAA is back and once again an organisation run for the members by the members. If you are not a PIAA member or have left PIAA because of past issues or frustrations, I once again urge you to join and give the association another chance. With greater numbers comes a greater voice as we continue to advocate for and guide the Australian pet industry through the regulatory challenges that lie ahead.”

This article was originally published in the Nov-Jan issue of Pet Industry News.

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