Although pets bring companionship and joy into many people’s lives, those which are abandoned or escape into the natural environment can become invasive alien species. Preparatory documents for SBSTTA-13 include a request to “collate best practices for addressing the risks associated with the introduction of alien species as pets, including aquarium species, such as fish, reptiles or insects, and as live bait and live food”.
We are working with the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) to fulfill this request as well as to highlight proactive initiatives that we have developed to minimize the risk of the ‘pet release’ pathway. The mission of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) is to promote responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, foster environmental stewardship, and ensure the availability of pets. Examples of relevant programs include:
• HabitattitudeTM: a campaign to educate consumers on wise pet choice (Attitudes), excellent pet care (Habits), and alternatives to abandoning pets (Habitats). • National Reptile Improvement Plan (NRIP): a standard-setting accreditation program for reptile and amphibian importers/distributors that provides guidance for animal inspection and the removal of external parasites. • Bd-Free ‘Phibs: A campaign and standard setting program for reducing the risk of transmission of the highly devastating chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) within/through the amphibian trade.
PIJAC looks forward to working with Parties and other organizations at SBSTTA-13.
Dr. Jamie K. Reaser, is Senior Science and Policy Advisor, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC)
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(1) UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/13/6, draft recommendation