Millennials have set new standards for bonding with and spending money on pets. But the future of the U.S. pet industry rests not only with millennials, who are now in their late 20s and their 30s, but also with their younger counterparts known as Gen Z, according to market intelligence firm Packaged Facts.
A key challenge for marketers lies in building trust with this generation, whose members are reaching their late teens and early 20s, according to data from Packaged Facts' National Pet Owner Survey. Gen Z is viewed as being "less trusting of brands than any previous generation."
In a press release, Packaged Facts explained that "compared to Millennial pet owners, Gen Z pet owners are less likely to trust the quality of pet foods produced by larger companies such as general-market brand leaders."
"This finding may simply reflect Gen Z's overall loss of trust in large corporations and governmental institutions in today's chaotic world in this era of 'fake news,'" according to the firm.
Packaged Facts stated in the release that "many Gen Z pet owners believe that claims made by natural/organic pet product marketers are no more trustworthy than those made by marketers of general-market pet products."
Brands hoping to appeal to this demographic must "constantly prove themselves trustworthy by being honest and transparent about who they are and what they offer," the firm said. They also must have a compelling message.
"Pet marketers must remember that these younger adult pet owners tend to be attracted to unique brands and stories," says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. "To reach Millennial and Gen Z consumers, one truly must stand out from the proverbial crowd."
Pet Sitters International has released its 2018 State of the Industry Survey, revealing that its member businesses generated more than $440 million in pet-sitting revenues last year.
The educational association’s survey, conducted every two years, found that the businesses performed more than 22 million pet-sitting assignments.
Member businesses averaged 137 clients and 3,816 pet-sitting assignments in 2017, according to a press release. The national average gross revenue for these businesses was $75,658.
In 2015, businesses had an average of 109 clients, 2,645 pet-sitting assignments and $60,625 gross revenue in 2015.
“With these results, it’s not surprising that nearly three-quarters of its members indicated a ‘positive’ or even ‘sky’s the limit’ outlook for 2018-19, and we agree,” said PSI founder and President Patti J. Moran. “The need for pet-care services continues to grow and as pet owners become increasingly savvy in their pet-care choices, professional pet-sitting and dog-walking businesses will be in even higher demand.”
The United States House of Representatives Agriculture Committee approved an amendment offered by Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA) to place the language of H.R. 1406, the Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act into the House of Representatives Farm Bill.
H.R. 1406, authored by Congressman Alcee Hasting (D-FL) and Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL), along with 240 co-sponsors from the House, prohibits the slaughter, trade or import/export of dogs and cats for human consumption in the United States - a practice still legal in 44 states.
“I am overjoyed that the House Agriculture Committee has put the language of H.R.1406 into the farm bill and I thank Congressman Denham for his strong support for our cause and for making the amendment” stated Marc Ching, founder and President Emeritus of the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, the sponsors of H.R.1406.
“This is just one small victory in our effort to ban this horrible practice in our country and internationally, but it is an important one and one that could not have been possible without our great team and the strong support we have had from our great authors Congressman Hastings and Congressman Buchanan. There is still a lot of work to do but we are closer now than we have ever been before,” concluded Ching.
The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, founded by Mr.Ching in 2011 has been a leader in bringing global awareness to the international practice of torturing and butchering of dogs and cats for consumption. Mr. Ching regularly travels to Asia where he personally rescues dogs from this trade, often putting his life in jeopardy to do so. H.R. 1406 is the Foundation's first legislative effort.
The Farm Bill will move forward for a vote on the House floor and then to conference committee where it will be merged with the Senate version. A final bill is expected to be voted on in September.
Maryland's governor has signed legislation banning the sale of kittens and puppies in pet stores, the Washington Post reports.
The law, which drew opposition from some pet store owners, is set to take full effect in 2020. California has a similar law, which goes into effect next year.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the law is geared toward preventing the sale of animals from "puppy mills." But opponents of the law said that term is inaccurate and that they source their pets from responsible breeders.
Jeanea Thomson, owner of pet retail business Just Puppies, was quoted saying, "We couldn’t have been in this business for 20 years if the breeders weren’t caring for the dogs."
ALBANY, NY - People who grow up with a greater variety of pets are significantly more likely to follow a vegetarian diet as adults, according to research by a professor-student team in the University at Albany psychology department. Sydney Heiss, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology, worked with Assistant Professor Julia Hormes to gain a better understanding of the factors that play a role in a person's decision to refrain from animal products as adults. The two recruited study participants from social media pages focused on food, including those focused on vegetarianism and veganism, resulting in a pool of 325 participants with a mean age of 30 years.
Participants provided demographic information and whether they followed any vegetarian diet, including "flexitarian" (mostly vegetarian, but sometimes eats meat), "semi-vegetarian" (eats some types of meat but refrains from others), "pescatarian" (eats fish, eggs and dairy but refrains from other meat products), "lacto-ovo-vegetarian" (eats eggs and dairy, but refrains from all animal flesh), "vegan" (no animal products whatsoever), and "raw vegan" (consumes exclusively uncooked non-animal products).
Heiss and Hormes then assessed the individual's beliefs and attitudes regarding the use of animals in food, clothing and research, and surveyed them on their ownership and relationship with any childhood pets. Participants were asked about the number and types of childhood pets, and questions such as how often they were responsible for caring for their animal(s), and how close they felt to the animal(s) to determine the kind of relationship they had with their pets.
After a statistical analyses of all responses, the duo found:
- Those who owned pets in childhood were significantly more likely than those without pets to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet as an adult.
- Those who owned a variety of pets (i.e. hamsters, dogs and cats, as opposed to just dogs) were more likely to avoid a wider range of animal products (e.g., refrain from all animal products as opposed to only meat) than those who owned fewer pets.
- A wider variety of pets led to a stronger opposition towards animal exploitation, which in turn led to less animal product consumption.
- Closeness to one's pet was a significant predictor of a person's likelihood to refrain from animal products as an adult.
"It seems as though individuals who had different types of pets more easily empathize with farmed animals or those used in research," said Heiss. "For example, someone who had only a dog may have difficulty feeling empathy for a cow, whereas someone who grew up with farm animals may be more attuned to characteristics that are shared across all species and therefore, better able to empathize with all animals." "Our findings suggest that there may be more than one pathway to vegetarianism in adulthood - the number of pets in childhood, ethical concerns towards animal use, and level of vegetarianism is significant."
An outbreak of toxic caterpillars that can cause asthma attacks, vomiting and skin rashes has descended on London, officials have warned. Oak processionary moths (OPM), which are in their larval stage, have been spotted across the south-east of England and in the capital.
Hairs on the caterpillars can cause fevers and eye and throat irritations, the Forestry Commission said. The organization has issued a caution not to touch the species. The biggest infestations of OPM were recorded in Greater London, stemming from Kingston upon Thames to Brent. Some infestations were also spotted in Bracknell Forest, Slough and Guildford.
OPM caterpillars were spotted emerging from egg plaques in mid-April, and trees were later treated on 23 April, the Forestry Commission added. "The treatment program is expected to continue until late May or early June," a spokesman said. "After that the caterpillars will be too large to be affected by our preferred treatment product."
Precautions to minimize health risks:
- Do not touch or approach nests or caterpillars
- Do not let children touch or approach nests or caterpillars
- Do not let animals touch or approach nests or caterpillars; or try removing nests or caterpillars yourself
As a caterpillar, each OPM has about 62,000 hairs, which they can eject.
Hairs that fall to the ground can be active for up to five years.
The moths only live for two to three days in July or August.
It is thought that the moths were brought into the UK on trees imported from Europe for a landscape project.
A population of OPM established itself in the west London area in 2006.
Key identifying features of OPM:
- Move about in nose-to-tail processions
- Often form arrow-headed processions, with one leader and subsequent rows containing several caterpillars abreast
- Are most likely to be found in oak trees, and sometimes on the ground under oak trees
- Are most likely to be seen in late spring and early summer
- Have very long, white hairs which contrast markedly with other, shorter hairs
- Do not live on fences, walls and similar structures, as some caterpillar species do
Unaccounted for animals across Bentonville may soon have a place to call home. The city council approved the creation of a special task force last night to decide the future of both feral and foster animals in the city. One woman has opened her home to help the process move along.
Linda Picken, THE director of the Northwest Arkansas non profit, Fabulous Felines, says she has her hands full.
"I've got snowflake, Julia Roberts, Gwen and Bambi. I've got Bonnie, Lorie and Blazer. I've got the six in here and I've got checkers and E.T," said Linda Picken, the director for Fabulous Felines, a non-profit, as she attempts to count the cats in her home. "I've got Sapphire. Sapphire is in there. Oh! And Casey! And those are just fosters. I've got 9 of my own!"
Picken says she's a shining example of why Bentonville needs an animal shelter of its own.
"We took in almost 800, we counted like 778 and I'm sure there were some that we forgot to list," Picken said. Picken had 24 cats in her house on Wednesday, but its not unusual for her to have up to 45 at one time. On Tuesday night, a special task force was approved by the Bentonville City Council to analyze the need for a facility.
"It's not just for the animals, it's for the community. People call us asking for help, asking for direction, they don't know what to do when the animals are on their property," said Oliva Nagel, the founder of Crystal Creek Rescue.
Bentonville doesn't have any ordinances to protect cats. So colonies of feral felines can be found running the city. "There's a tremendous consensus in the community that they really want this, that they would donate money for this," Nagel said. Building a shelter isn't set in stone yet, that will be up for the special task force to determine. But if it is, Picken said, it will certainly lighten her load.
"This is my life right now and I love it but I don't know how much longer I can do it because of my age. So we definitely need a shelter in Bentonville," Picken said. Oliva Nagel, the Founder of Crystal Creek Rescue, says the potential shelter may not necessarily be city funded or operated, but she has no doubt that the community will step up to fund the project in the event the special task force determines it's time to set one up.
A Jacksonville Beach man accused of practicing karate kicks on swans at Lake Eola Park appeared before a judge Friday morning.
Rocco Joseph Mantella, 34, was granted a $1,000 bond after being charged with animal cruelty charges.
According to an Orlando Police arrest report, witnesses reported seeing a man at downtown Orlando's Lake Eola later identified as Mantella "kicking animals throughout the park."
One witness told officers that he saw the man practicing karate kicks, then kick two swans in the head and another in the back end. The kicks were hard enough to knock down a swan. The man also kicked a small duck that appeared to be resting, the witness said.
Mantella was arrested at the park.