PIAA looking for friends, fans, relevance

May 10, 2018

The Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) represents the pet industry and tend to make themselves most visible when the discussion of commercial pet breeding (or "puppy farming") is debated, arguing for the side of keeping puppies in stores.

See also: Who is the PIAA?

Currently of its 8 member Board of Directors, 2 are large-scale commercial pet breeders supportive of puppies being sold in retail stores for profit.

- Suppliers & Manufacturers - Dr Josiah Pit - Aquarium Industries
- National - Sean Duggan - Masterpet
- National - David Young - PETstock
- Retail - John Grima - Kellyville Pets
- Aquatics & Pet Services - Daniel Kimberley - Monsoon Aquatics
- Boarding, Training, Daycare & Pet Sitters - Glenn Cooke - Pet Resorts of Australia
- Grooming - Marianne Suckling - Mojos Grooming Shed
- Breeding - Matt Hams - Banksia Park Puppies

(highlighting mine)

The PIAA make their revenue primarily in two ways; events and membership...

PIAA Annual Report 2016/17

And it really can't afford to lose much of either, as for the last two years (at least) the organisation has been running at an eye-watering loss...

Which makes this extremely bad news for them...

The annual PIAA Pet Expo has been running for more than 20 years. The showcase event was originally designed to allow suppliers and manufacturers to connect with independent retailers, air new products and offer special Expo deals. Over the years, the retail sector has seen corporate groups become more the norm, whilst the independent retailer numbers have continued to decline. Due to this shift, there has been a noticeable drop in attendees at the annual PIAA Pet Expo.

In 2016, as part of the PIAA strategic plan to focus on education, the expo became more of a conference scenario, with multiple education streams over two days, along with a two day tradeshow.

In 2017, the Expo was renamed Auspet, with an increased focus on the education side of things. Conference numbers were pleasing but the trade numbers continued to decline.

In 2018, we will be attempting to address this decline by completely turning Auspet on its head. This October, Auspet 2018 will head to the Gold Coast, with the new format of a one day industry trade show and conference, and two days of public expo. The public days are a new foray for PIAA and will offer education and information along with entertainment and interactive opportunities. The public days will include displays and activities around reptiles, aquatics, birds, cats, dogs and more.This is a great opportunity for not only industry to connect with consumers, but also the perfect scenario for PIAA to grow our brand awareness amongst the general public. We are very excited about the new direction and we look forward to having strong industry backing for this new initiative.

If you have contemplated exhibiting at, or sponsoring Auspet in the past, then now is the time to get on board and show your support for your association. We are the voice of the industry, but we are only as loud as the support of our members and the industry at large enables us to be.

Mark Fraser Directors Report, PIAA
Pet Industry News Autumn 2018

(highlighting mine)

It seems changing the name away from 'PIAA Pet Expo' wasn't enough to distance themselves... from themselves.

'Auspet' is still struggling to attract members (membership fees) and tradeshow attendees (conference revenue) so the PIAA is having to open up their industry conference to the general public in the hope of attracting someone (anyone!) to show up.

Which might explain this email sent to rescue groups at the start of the year.

(Staff details redacted)

That's right. The PIAA have been contacting rescue groups to join their fold; hoping they'll come on board and pay membership fees and lend them the charity halo of animal welfare groups.

See also: PIAA 'Companion Animal Centres' hope to recruit rescue groups

Which of course is absurd. No self-respecting rescue group is going to join forces with an organsation which lobbies to keep puppies in retail stores, fights for the rights for commercial pet breeders to farm dogs and has in the past denied the very existence of puppy farms in Australia.

The PIAA is struggling. They've stacked their board with commercial puppy breeders - put their brand in their hands - and now are paying the price with the public. They have a stank on them that is crippling their organisation and no matter who they put in charge (six CEO's since 2007!) they've backed the wrong horse, put themselves on the wrong side of the debate. They might not be dead (yet), but they're definitely resting.

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