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A better world with pets [26/03/2010]

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) has announced its vision for 2020. With one eye on the growing pet population and the need to promote responsible pet ownership and the benefits of pet interaction, the PFMA devised its goals for the next ten years as pet food sales hit a record high of £2 billion.

Shaped by research of its stakeholders and 4,000 members of the public, the four ambitions were finalised in association with WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), SCAS (Society of Companion Animal Studies), Dogs Trust and the PHC (Pet Health Council):

1. RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERSHIP Increase responsible pet ownership through:

  • 90% of rehoming centres providing the Pet Size-O-Meter* in packs
  • 60% of new pet owners given advice on pet health and nutrition working with relevant organisations
  • 50% more visitors returning to PFMA’s website for pet advice

2. PETS AND PEOPLE Ensure all leading UK housing providers implement responsible pet policies that enable older people to make an informed choice about their future by:

  • working closely with SCAS (Society for Companion Animal Studies) and those MPs, Nick Palmer and Nigel Waterson, taking the issue forward to strive for fairer treatment of the older pet-owning public. Research found 90% of the public agreed that separation from a pet is traumatic, while 83% felt pets would make their owners happier and 54% agreed owners should be able to make the choice after seeing the accommodation policy.

3. ENVIRONMENTAL Reduce the environmental impact of prepared pet food by:

  • achieving a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 compared to 2010
  • sending zero pet food waste and no recyclable packaging to landfill by 2015
  • 80% of all pet food packaging material to be recyclable or recoverable by 2020
  • working with WRAP to promote responsible use of end-of-life packaging material by consumers
  • achieving a 20%. reduction in water use by 2020 compared to 2010
  • supporting best practice and behaving responsibly towards our local communities by minimising the potential for pollution to land, air and water, including to manage odour control within the local environment.
  • reducing the environmental impact of transport practices by working with industry partners through collaborative projects and sharing of best practice

4. PET FOOD Increase public awareness of the advantages of feeding prepared pet food

  • 90% of dogs and 95% of cats to be fed commercially prepared pet food by 2020 to help guarantee the correct nutrition for pets, leading to longer, healthier lives
  • distributing PFMA’s pet obesity tools to highlight the importance of good pet nutrition to consumers
  • raising awareness that feeding human food (scraps etc) is a major cause of obesity as recognised by pet owners surveyed
  • communicating that owners surveyed this year scored feeding the right amount of food and a high quality food highly when asked what contributed to the health and longevity of their pets

PFMA, Chief Executive, Michael Bellingham explains: "Having analysed the research and consulted our stakeholder partners, we are delighted to announce our 2020 vision to make a better world with pets. This four-fold ambition is a commitment to promote the benefits of pets to society while reducing their impact on the environment. Working together with our partners over the next ten years we can make a big difference."

Dogs Trust, Veterinary Director, Chris Laurence, says: "We are delighted to be working alongside these respected organisations to support the PFMA in its vision for 2020. As the pet population continues to rise, improving responsible pet ownership is vital. We look forward to helping the PFMA achieve its ambition over the next decade."

Elizabeth Ormerod, SCAS, adds: "Our research with PFMA has been invaluable in illustrating the numerous benefits of pets to people. In the UK, there is still a lack of formal policy in many residential care and sheltered homes to manage the needs of older and vulnerable people who wish to keep pets. We are determined to support people and pets in their plight to stay together and will work alongside PFMA to reach their goal."

WRAP, Head of Retail Programmes, Andy Dawe, says: "We welcome the move by the pet food industry to commit to setting these goals. With only 1% of pet food currently going to disposal, the industry has created a very targeted product. Reducing the amount of waste produced is the most effective thing we can do to protect our natural resources, cut costs and reduce our carbon footprint. We look forward to working with the PFMA and monitoring progress over the next ten years."

PHC, vet John Foster, comments: "The number and variety of nutritionally related problems we, as vets in practice, encountered 40 years ago was legion. Memories are short, for we saw bad skins and coats, poor teeth and mouths, compromised digestion, bone diseases, blindness and shortened life spans. These were greatly the result of inadequate and inappropriate nutrition, changed fortunately now for the better. We will continue to develop educational materials with the PFMA to deny the mischievous myths surrounding quality manufactured pet food."

*The Pet Size O-Meter enables pet owners to check their animal is a healthy weight and was developed in conjunction with nutritionists

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