How pet industry PR and influencing works

Before you read this, just tuck away in your mind the fact that Colgate is the owner of  Hills Pet Nutrition – then this post will make more sense.

Yesterday I spotted this interesting and readable piece in our local Hobart newspaper:

Now I would be the first to agree that “68% of Tasmanians living with pets believe they are important contributors to their happiness”…… they most certainly are to us! No argument!

So I did a bit of a search….and found the exact same article, carefully orientated to the local area, in another 5 newspapers and magazines, Victoria, NSW, Queensland, and even a parenting magazine, all proclaiming that “68%, or 70% or 80% “of us are happier with pets etc. I’m sure I could find them in a lot more places if I look.

Here are a few of them ( you don’t need to read them all, trust me, they all say the same thing and point you to Colgate’s wonderful competition…): READ MORE HERE


RSPCA Close Puppy Farms Campaign – update

Stop Puppy Farms banner Monash Freeway Melbourne

On August 17th, we attended the RSPCA Close Puppy Farms round table meeting in Canberra, along with representatives from AVA, PIAA, ANKC, AWL Queensland, MBDTA , NSW Young Lawyers Animal Law Commitee and various RSPCA representatives. It certainly was “interesting” being in the same discussion as some of the “enemy”! Read more here..

How much does a pet shop make from live animals?

We were told by one of our readers that a tradesman attended their house for some work recently.

It transpires that his brother owns Warriewood Pet Shop in Sydneys northern suburbs.  He confided that the brother makes over $40,000 pa from sales of live animals….

DRP Comment and actions you can take:

There are many pet shops who have decided that they will not sell puppies and kittens from breeders ( some help rehome homeless animals from pounds or rescue groups – a practice we strongly support). We need to support these pet shops. Pet Shop Stars here..

There are many of us who will not spend a cent in pet shops that sell animals, go here to download feedback cards for pet stores you will not support. I wonder how much business pet shops selling animals ( not homeless animals) are losing because we go elsewhere?

Can we believe anything that comes out of PIAA?

Open letter to PIAA

To Janine Yeates, Member Liaison Officer PIAA, June 12, 2010

We write in connection with your recent “press release” and to point out some things you really do need to be thinking about.

“The Pet Industry Association is deeply concerned with unethical practices from either breeders or retailers.  Its Members are required to meet a Code of Practice and we believe strongly they are best placed to ensure that satisfactory industry standards are controlled and maintained.”

Your comment above is an insult to the thousands of pound and shelter staff and volunteers and volunteer rescue workers across the country who work tirelessly 24/7 in efforts to save the lives of animals who’s only fault is that they were born into a system that is encouraged to a significant degree by the pet industry to produce more and more animals. You must know that the supply chain is badly skewed towards over supply.

Your comment: …. “industry statistics suggest that the problem is not nearly as widespread as welfare groups and animal liberation officers would have us believe”.. is equally an insult to the pound and shelter staff, volunteers and rescue workers around the country.

Your industry has known about this for a long time Continue reading

“Something is wrong with this industry and something needs to be done about it.”Who are PIAA?

CEO of RSPCA ACT Michael Linke has this to say (Press release Mar 31, 2010):

Something is wrong with this industry and something needs to be done about it.  The public is confused, regulation is lax and animals are suffering as a result and RSPCA is picking up the pieces at a tremendous cost.”

Here is the June 2010, PIAA “press release”

The following “text in italics” is the text of the PIAA statement released as a result of the excellent Sun Herald expose on the reasons behind the 250,000 healthy animals killed each year in Australian Pounds and Shelters

The Facts on Pet Shops

An article in Sunday’s NSW Sun Herald by reporter Rachel Browne indicates, in part, that sale of animals through pet shops contribute significantly to the unacceptable high rate of euthanasia of pets in Australia.

The Pet Industry Association of Australia (‘PIAA’) is concerned that recent reporting on the pet industry is both inaccurate and misleading. read more here

Proof that pet shops sell puppy mill animals

The CEO of the Pet Shop Industry Association of Australia, Joanne Sillince, constantly claims that “pet shops never sell puppy mill animals”.

We have proof that this is mis-information (ie a lie).

We were recently sent these documents that show categorically that pet shops like: Toucan Pets in Adelaide, Pet City in Perth, Pets World in Sydney, Pet Land in Canberra and many others are buying their puppies from ACA Breeders (Now Banksia Puppies) in Victoria, one of the largest puppy mill sproducing over 2,500 puppies a year into the market. Download these 3 documents here: Doc1 ;    doc2;      Doc3

DRP Comment: it suits the Pet Shop Industry Association to have the public believe that pet shop puppies and kittens come from ‘responsible sources’. The truth is far different. They buy from mass producers (ie puppy and kitten mills) and from backyard breeders. We overheard a conversation in  a pet shop in Townsville recently . The store manager said to the backyard breeder “As this pup has a hernia, I’ll have to sell it as a sale item”.

Actions you can take

Contact the pet shops concerned and register your objections to their selling animal obtained from a large puppy mill. Their phone numbers are on the documents that you can download above.

If you have any information about the source of animals for pet shops, please let us know!

Pet industry association (PIAA) tactics to ‘gain respectability’…

We know that the Pet Industry Association is desperate to increase their membership dollars from pet shops (note: only a relatively small proportion of pet shops across the country are members, and yet the government of NSW still takes “advice” from PIAA).

 We know that they have engaged the services of one of Australia’s top PR agencies to advance their cause and ‘fight” the publicity gained by Clover Moore’s proposed Animal regulation of Sale Bill.

 We know that PIAA have joined in a collaborative program with the well known magazine “Dogs Life” (does anyone know of a similar initiative with cats?).

 Dogs Life Magazine and PIAA have embarked upon an annual publicity competition to recognise and reward winners in a number of categories. There are a number of pet shop specific categories, but it also includes:

 “The Dogs Life Pet People’s Award for Best Local Pet Rescue Service/Animal Shelter” 

 We were staggered to see “animal rescue” as one of the categories of this competition!!! PIAA (who stimulate and support the marketing and push of huge numbers of puppies and kittens into the market via pet shops) recognising animal rescue groups (who have to sweat 24/7 to rescue from deathrows across the country).

 Is this for real?

 Sadly it is. And sadly, many uninformed readers of Dogs Life Magazine will unwittingly associate PIAA with animal rescue efforts.

We expect that all animal rescue groups would  be disgusted.

One well known Victorian Rescue group who were asked if they could be nominated replied publically:

“Rescued With Love nominated for award but says “no thanks”

Rescued With Love has been nominated for an award which is always an honor.  This time it is for The Dogs Life Pet People’s Award for Best Local Pet Rescue Service/Animal Shelter. 

While Rescued With Love is happy with the recognition we are receiving, the Award is with Dogs Life Magazine in conjunction with the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA). 

The PIAA represents Petshops throughout Australia and  they have been extremely vocal in their stance of protecting  the practice of selling puppies in petshops (they were the main opposition to Clover Moore’s Bill to cease the sale of animals in Petshops last year). 

These puppies are of course provided by puppy millers who keeps scores of dogs in cages to breed for their babies.  Rescued With Love is against all forms of puppy milling, backyard or indiscriminate breeding while hundreds of thousands of dogs die every year in our pounds and shelters. 

It would be hypocritical to accept this nomination on ethical grounds from the PIAA, and so we will not be taking up the offer. 

While we are not the biggest nor the most financial animal welfare group we certainly will stand up for what we believe Rescue should be about and that is the plight of companion animals at every level in society.” 

DRP Comment:

 We will take a guess at which Rescue organisation will win this year’s prize – we anticipate the same as last year, (….. the only Rescue group that is actively a PIAA member…….)

Actions you can take:

 Write to the Publishers of Dogs Life Magazine, expressing your dissatisfaction with the arrangement of Dogs Life supporting the puppy and kitten trade in this way.

Janice Williams, Associate Publisher, Universal Magazines

 Janice’s email address is, or you can post any letters to Locked Bag 154 North Ryde NSW 1670.