Global Alliance of Pet Food Associations (GAPFA) recently released a statement regarding pets and pet food during COVID-19. The statement reads:
“The members of the global pet food industry and pet food companies are very concerned by the threat to human health posed by the rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic, and commend the swift actions taken by authorities at the national, regional and local level around the world to help control the spread of COVID-19.
We note that experts including WSAVA, OIE and WHO all cite scientific evidence that pets such as dogs and cats have not been shown to transmit the virus to humans and are not a source of infection. The pet food industry urges the public and policymakers to also consider the well-being of the pets loved by millions of citizens throughout the globe, and calls for ensuring that pet food retailers and pet services are deemed ‘essential’ and are exempt from any mandatory closures during the crisis. There are more than 470 million dogs and more than 370 million cats plus hundreds of millions of other companion animals, and more than half of the people around the globe have a pet living with them at home.
Pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family and they play a very important role for individuals and the society as a whole. It is therefore vital that businesses that provide products or services for the care of pets are included among the essential infrastructure that is allowed to remain open throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Just as food stores/supermarkets provide necessary supplies to humans, pet businesses must remain operational to ensure the continued care for millions of pet animals.
Specialized pet food, supplements and even medication that are required to maintain the health of millions of pets are purchased primarily through specialized pet stores and veterinary clinics, not in standard food stores/supermarkets for humans. Keeping these specialized pet outlets open in many cases will therefore provide access of pet owners to vital supplies and protect pets from suffering. The pet food industry therefore asks authorities to ensure that pet owners have the ability to provide appropriate care for their beloved pets, and list pet food as essential products as well as list pet stores and veterinary clinics as essential outlets that are exempt from any mandatory closures.”