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As the world adapts to unprecedented circumstances brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, and concern for human health mounts, the PFI remains commitment to our vision and mission, most importantly to the well-being of South African pets and their need for safe and nutritious pet food.

We applaud the decisive decisions taken by our local authorities in their early attempts to curb the spread of this novel virus. As more stringent steps are being put in place we wish to remind authorities and the public of the need to include pets in considerations of disaster management plans.

The need to continue caring for our pets is as imperative as caring for ourselves and our families, to assure their continued well-being. We are hopeful that the production of pet food (and other pet related businesses) will be considered as crucial throughout the lifespan of this pandemic, should measures for containment move into any sort of mandatory closures.

At this time we call on our members to retain a high standard of production and safety, adhering to the regulations and guidelines that govern the manufacture of pet food in South Africa. Compliant facilities boast a high level of hygiene and sanitation which should be maintained and increased over this period.

The Global Alliance of Pet Food Associations (GAPFA) has prepared this open statement regarding pets and pet food during COVID-19 precautions, which goes into more detail and which the PFI supports.

Though a couple of dogs have tested positive for covid-19, at this stage there is no scientific evidence to support the notion that cats and dogs can transmit the virus to humans. This further GAPFA statement may be of interest and provides links to further information on this, such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), World Health Organization (WHO) and World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

We implore pet owners to do all in your power to continue to provide and care for your pets. In the wake of the financial burdens that such a crisis may bring, pet owners are reminded of the myriad of pet food options available, to suit a tighter budget. Ensure the new food that you choose is registered with Act 36 of the Department of Agriculture (by confirming it has a v number displayed on the packaging) and that it is a member of the PFI. When changing food, as far as is possible, do so gradually.

In a time where feelings of fear and hopelessness abound, take heart that we can all do our part by following the precautionary measures put in place by our authorities and by taking responsibility for the care of our family and extended fur-family.

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