The responsibility the pet food industry feels toward the communities it serves continues to grow in a time of economic upheaval and global unrest. Below are four companies doing their best to make a difference for pets and people all over the world.
The ElleVet Project aims to head across the U.S. to help homeless pets and people
The ElleVet Project came to be in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Co-founders Amanda Howland and Christian Kjaer realized homeless pets and their owners had fewer resources than usual. With shelters closed and no free clinics open, The ElleVet Project decided to take matters into their own hands and within three weeks had hired a team of veterinarians, rented a 38-foot RV, bought medical supplies and were on the road to help.
In 2022 the ElleVet Project has grown significantly with a team of volunteers, vet students, veterinarians and ElleVet employees who all dedicate their time to the project. With the team expansion, they were able to help over 70 pets each day they were present at the Crow reservation in Montana.
As for their plans in 2023, the project will make its way across the U.S. to help more homeless pets and people.
“We will be on the road from January on, starting in Florida and making our way across the country visiting even more states, helping more homeless pets and people and doing what we do best,” said Howland. “Our goal is to keep growing and to go where no one else goes, to find the hidden or invisible homeless encampments, the ones in greatest need, give compassionate care and hear stories, and share the stories with the world.”
Himalayan Pet Supply puts focus on human-centric philanthropy
Though the company serves the pet space, Himalayan Pet Supply’s human-centric philanthropy has a personal connection to company President Suman Shrestha.
“Human progression and economic growth are at the heart of what drives us,” said Shrestha. “When I started this company, I wanted to make a positive impact on the people in my home community back in Nepal. We were founded on three core tenets — people, pets and progress.
“Through my parents’ experiences growing up in Nepal, I saw a need for change,” said Shrestha. “My mother never had the opportunity to go to school because she was asked to take care of her brothers and married at a young age, and my father left school without completing 10th grade to help his parents raise his brothers and sisters. These experiences are far too common, which is why the country has a very low literacy rate.”
Himalayan Pet Supply works closely with their partner, the Kathmandu, Nepal-based Manaram Foundation, using proceeds from the Original Himalayan Dog Chew to help bring education and protection to the children of Nepal.
“We donate one textbook for every pound of cheese we sell, which has resulted in more than 200,000 books being donated to local schools and libraries,” said Shrestha. “Additionally, we’ve supported the building of 135 libraries in remote areas of the country and [the] creation of dozens of annual scholarships for higher education.”
In addition, the company strives to improve the lives of women and farmers in Nepal.
“Less than 10% of women in Nepal are employed, and most of them are informally employed, which means they earn below the government’s minimum wage rate and are economically constrained by their employers,” said Shrestha. “It is also customary for young girls to be married off into other families with little to no education. I knew education would lead to better job opportunities for girls in Nepal, while also empowering them to seek higher education, and this has become a key pillar in our sourcing strategy.”
When purchasing milk for their Original Himalayan Dog Chews, Himalayan Pet Supply requires that the dairy farm owners are giving their daughters an opportunity to get an education and do not promote child marriage.
In 2023, the company plans to continue building libraries, donating books and providing scholarships to increase access to education in Nepal. Himalayan Pet Supply also plans to help the Manaram Foundation expand their work in supporting safe houses for women who fell victim to trafficking.
Hill's Pet Nutrition has plans to help end pet homelessness
Hill’s values their work alongside the campaign outside of just the adoption numbers.
“Through our work as a national sponsor, we were able to make an impact beyond just the adoption numbers,” said Nicki Baty, president of Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “Including engaging our employees to volunteer at shelters throughout the campaign, working with Greater Good Charities to airlift almost 300 shelter pets from overcrowded shelters to another part of the country to provide a greater chance at finding new homes, spreading awareness to potential new pet parents with our celebrity spokesperson, actor Taylor Lautner, matching US$50,000 in donations and facilitating an additional US$125,000 from Amazon and iHeartMedia, and supporting shelters holding adoption events during the last weekend of the campaign.”
Hill’s Pet Nutrition puts ending pet homelessness as a key focus in their philanthropy.
“Purpose is at the heart of everything Hill’s does,” said Joann Fuller, lead of Hill’s Food Shelter and Love. “Twenty years ago, Hill’s created the Food, Shelter and Love program to partner with shelters 365 days a year to provide premium pet nutrition for animals in need because we know that feeding them science-led nutrition helps make them healthy, happy and more adoptable. The program has provided more than US$300 million in pet food to more than 1,000 shelters and has helped more than 12 million pets find new homes.”
The company believes giving back to the pet community “comes easy for those in the pet industry because we know just how much pets enrich our lives,” said Fuller. “Whether it’s volunteering at a shelter or donating to an animal welfare organization, our community and partners all share a collective mission of helping animals live their best lives.”
Greater Good Charities continues Save Pets of Ukraine initiative
Some of the many things Greater Good has done so far for the pets of Ukraine include:
- Awarded emergency relief to dozens of organizations in five countries to help support the people and pets struggling in Ukraine and neighboring areas.
- Helped sustain emergency relief for millions of fleeing refugees and those who remain in the war-torn communities.
- Responded to meet humanitarian and animal welfare needs that include on-ground support, distribution of food and essential supplies, deployment of licensed veterinarians and activation of a pet foster software to help displaced pets.
- As of publication, provided more than 31.6 million pet meals for Ukrainian pets of refugees displaced in Ukraine and fleeing neighboring countries, and to struggling animal shelters.
Along the way, there have been challenges getting supplies safely to pet parents and animal welfare organizations who still reside in the war-torn areas.
“To help overcome this challenge, Greater Good Charities helped form a coalition with pet food industry leaders that also work with Save the Pets of Ukraine,” said Noah Horton, COO at Greater Good Charities. “Greater Good Charities has partnered with national pet food industry leaders to provide cash support, EU-certified pet food and medicine, and critical veterinary supplies to animal welfare organizations and pet owners struggling from the devastation of Ukraine.”
The coalition is made up of Phillips Pet Food & Supplies, the American Pet Products Association, Pets Around the World, Matrix Partners, Animal Supply Company, Central Garden & Pet, Pet Food Experts, Southeast Pet, Kormotech and the U-Hearts Foundation.
To strengthen the Save the Pets of Ukraine initiative Greater Good Charities and the coalition have been working closely with Kormotech, the largest pet food manufacturer in Ukraine. Kormotech’s U-Heart Foundation, based in Lithuania, is providing pet food and critical supplies to Ukrainian animal welfare organizations.
The pet food industry can continue to help support Greater Good Charities’ efforts in Ukraine by giving cash donations to help procure products and pet food locally, or by giving product donations if you are U.S. company with an EU-certified product or a European company interested in making a donation.
Pet companies, organizations aid in Hurricane Ian relief efforts