At its meeting in March, the Pet Food Institute board of directors reiterated its legislative priorities: petfood specific proposals, including taxes on petfood; food safety legislation; and expansion of the legal standing of pets.
Below are updates on legislation the PFI has fought against.
S.B. 250, which reiterates existing California requirements that all dogs be licensed and that the licensing fee for intact dogs be double the fee for spayed/neutered dogs, is currently under consideration in the California Assembly. PFI is arguing for the commercial exemption that would free petfood companies operating kennels in California from the licensing requirement.
A proposed 1% sales tax increase in Maine was defeated. However, the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is setting up a working group that will meet outside the legislative session later this year to explore funding options for the state's Animal Welfare Program, possibly bringing the petfood tax back for consideration.
A proposal to require petfood companies to register and provide their product recipes to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture was defeated.
A proposal to tax $57.50 per ton of petfood to fund a spay/neuter program was defeated in Washington.
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.