Here Michael Bellingham, PFMA CEO talks about what is buzzing around his head... it's the Pet Food Vision.
THE THREE CORE PILLARS AT THE HEART OF OUR VISION
The core purpose of PFMA is to place pets at the centre of everything we do. In 2018 we launch the PFMA Pet Food Vision, which focuses on 3 core pillars underpinning our work: animal welfare, nutrition, safety and standards.
These pillars are areas of ongoing activity, however our Pet Food Vision spans a three-year period and each year we will throw the spotlight on a different aspect of our work.
In 2018, PFMA focused on animal welfare.
Animal Welfare is fundamental to the PFMA and we believe that the five welfare needs are essential to the well-being of any animal:
- the need for a suitable environment
- the need for a suitable diet
- the need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
- the need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
- the need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
Read more in the PFMA Animal Welfare Framework. Key points from the Framework document are detailed below:
PFMA Animal Welfare Framework
1. Commitment to providing high quality, safe nutrition for pets
We believe that animal welfare starts with great quality nutrition. Our members are responsible for feeding the 50 million plus pets in the UK and we take that responsibility very seriously. As an industry, we are committed to providing high quality, nutritious and safe pet food, and providing clear guidelines on how to responsibly feed pets. We work closely with the European Pet Food Association (FEDIAF), and other leading authorities to achieve a balanced regulatory regime for the production of nutritious and safe food and are committed to continuously raising the bar across industry.
2. Welfare-driven feeding
Not only what is fed, but how food is delivered to companion animals is central to safeguarding their environmental and behavioural needs. PFMA recognises a welfare-driven approach to the below topics, and the positive impact that its members can make to the lives of UK pets:
- Understanding and respecting feeding guidelines
- The provision of not only appropriate calories, but exercise and activity outlets according to needs
- Responsible treating/rewarding and supplementary feeding
- Optimising feeding environment, respecting species-specific requirements and natural behaviours
- Responsible labelling and communication of nutritional data; ensuring pet owners are fully informed on products
3. Promoting companion animal welfare
PFMA works hard to encourage responsible pet ownership more broadly. We work in partnership with relevant organisations to provide education around healthy lifestyles for companion animals (beyond food and feeding) and aim to be the main source of expert information for its members, publics and others. Examples include:
- Healthy Weight Management Tools (Pet Size O Meters) Nutrition Fact Sheets & Posters
- Raw Pet Food Guidelines
- Pet nutrition as part of the primary school curriculum
4. Maintaining our high standards of raw materials
PFMA is committed to maintaining a credible and responsible industry by placing pets at the centre of what we do. We are proud champions of some of the highest feed safety and animal welfare standards in the world. We work to ensure these are maintained and that our high standards of raw materials are not undermined by imports with lower standards. We encourage our members to have responsible sourcing policies and traceability programmes in place to ensure high standards and maintain trust.
5. Respecting animal welfare:
PFMA is dedicated to the welfare of all animals and is firmly committed to their wellbeing. We endorse the Five Freedoms laid down in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and with respect to farm animal welfare, support the FAWC1 concept of a Life Worth Living:
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
- Freedom from Discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
We use a significant amount of animal by-products, surplus to the human food chain. Whilst we have limited influence over these supply chains, we are committed to working closely with organisations such as DEFRA, NFU and others to maintain high standards of wellbeing.
6. Collaboration with stakeholders:
The welfare of both farm animal and companion animals is important to us and we recognise that success in these areas will come through collaboration. As a result, PFMA is a proud co- sponsor of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) where we join other influential voices in the welfare sector to ensure animal welfare is a key consideration.
PFMA also keeps abreast with broader animal welfare matters and actively participates in forums such as the Canine Feline Sector Group. Through our participation with these groups we are able to ensure our members are up to date with the latest issues and can input on discussions as relevant.
We recognise that education is an important aspect of animal welfare and PFMA helps communicate these welfare messages to a broader audience as a trustee of National Pet Month and through our support of the Animal Welfare Education Alliance.