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Canadian pet food suppliers advocate for stores to be deemed essential retailers amid pandemic

Summary

Pet food suppliers are asking the government to consider their shops to be essential like grocery stores


Some suppliers have concerns about where people will be able to buy food for pets that require special diets


PIJAC has sent a letter to Ottawa asking the government for its consideration


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As people stock up on food for themselves amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, some questions are being raised as to what our furry friends will eat.

As more and more services shut down due to the current situation, some pet food suppliers are banding together. They’re asking the federal government to recognize their businesses are as essential as grocery stores and that they should also be allowed to remain open.

Karima Jivraj, a Bosley’s franchise owner in New Westminster, has been telling her customers that no matter what happens, she will get them food for their animals, even if that means she has to hop in her car and drive it to them herself.

“You go to the grocery store to get your food, we are the pet grocery store,” she told CityNews Vancouver. “Therefore, we’re essential to the pet parents, and we’re here to help them make the right decisions with the right information and guide them through this entire process.”

Jivraj and other store owners are concerned that if the federal government declares nation-wide closures of all non-essential businesses, they will be shut down too.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada (PIJAC) represents more than 1,000 pet stores across the country.

The group sent a letter to Ottawa on Tuesday asking the government to classify pet supply stores as essential as grocery stores.

“The health and wellbeing of pets in Canada should be part of the list of essential services for Canadians at a time when many things in Canada are shutting down,” Craig Brummell, PIJAC board chairman, said.

The top five retailers in Canada have signed the letter.

Jivraj notes pet food sold in grocery stores isn’t enough because some pets are on specialty diets and the food they need can’t be found in a large scale supermarket.

According to PIJAC, pet specialty stores sell one third of the pet food in Canada, and for now, supply availability is relatively good.

“I mean, we have seen some hoarding going on with things in grocery stores, and unfortunately, there’s probably some of that going on with pet supplies as well,” Brummell said. “However, we would encourage folks to have a solid supply on hand — but not more than two or three weeks.”