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To our valued breeders,

Relative to the recent PIJAC direction regarding Mr. Ed Sayres, I would appreciate it if you would take the time to read the two letters posted below.  It is important to me that the position of the Hunte Corporation on this matter is clear to all.  In addition, please know that Mr. Sayres has written a letter directed specifically to our pet breeding community which is also included. 
 
Thank you and God bless,
 
Andrew Hunte
 
AN OPEN LETTER TO INDUSTRY MEMBERS
 
The recent decision by the PIJAC board to offer Ed Sayres, former CEO of the ASPCA, the position of PIJAC President has caused considerable disagreement within the pet industry. We encourage all industry members to set their doubts aside and unify behind PIJAC in an effort to focus our attention where it belongs--on preserving and protecting the pet industry as we know it.
 
Regardless of how any of us might feel about Ed Sayres, The Hunte Corporation remains 100 percent committed to doing what is best for our industry, the breeders we rely on and, the retailers who are part of our team. Every contribution we have made as a PIJAC member reflects our sincere desire to do the right thing for our entire industry.
 
Our company has advocated for, and worked on behalf of, responsible pet breeders for over 20 years. At great expense, we have undertaken programs such as our Breeder Education Conference to provide breeders with the highest levels of quality, professional animal science and kennel management information available in the industry. Hunte’s commitment has been, and will continue to be, unwavering in supporting breeders and encouraging best practices to produce the healthiest pets in the world.
 
In addition, we have invested thousands of dollars in government relations to promote proper animal welfare and legislation while preventing damaging local, state, and national regulations bent on eradicating our businesses while having no effect on the improvement of our industry.
 
We are convinced that today, more than ever, it is true that "united we stand, divided we fall."  We are all painfully aware of the extremely hostile and adversarial environment that our highly regulated and legal businesses face.  To date, by PIJAC count, at least 62 municipalities across the country have imposed live animal retail bans. New ban proposals continue to surface at unprecedented rates. This constant pressure creates stress on, not only our time and financial resources, but our emotions as well. It is no wonder that people feel passionate about important decisions like this one.
 
There is, of course, no crystal ball to help us know with absolute certainty that any particular strategy will turn out well.  However, it is clear that doing what we have always done is not good enough. Our industry is, indeed, endangered. That is why the Hunte Corporation chooses to embrace the PIJAC decision and fully support the board and staff in their efforts to unify the industry behind a fresh approach to drive a positive impact that we all hope comes with it.
 
For those who still need convincing, we pray that all industry members will keep an open mind while new leadership works to make PIJAC more effective and successful in the coming year.
 
 
God bless,
 
Andrew Hunte
An Open Letter to the Pet Breeding Community
 
To the Breeders of the Pet Industry:
 
As many of you know, earlier this week, the PIJAC Board of Directors voted to offer me the positions of President and CEO. In connection with that development, I wanted to take the time to clarify some of my views for you.
 
From the start, I have taken this opportunity one step at a time. At each step along the way, my enthusiasm at the prospect of leading PIJAC at this pivotal point in time has grown. 
 
I know I have the skills necessary to reduce the polarized dynamics between animal welfare organizations and the industry. I know, after 40 years in animal welfare, that regulations that are well thought out protect animals and facilitate commerce. I also have a core belief that, when managed responsibly, companion animal ownership provides mutual benefits. The benefits, given and received, which are best described in studies about the human-animal bond, obviously depend on owners who are well educated on the medical and behavioral needs of their animals. These are two priorities of the PIJAC mission, and I believe that my deep experience in the field would add reasoned input to this vital conversation.

I am especially interested in the challenge of breeding pure-bred dogs on a large scale with humane care standards that prioritize the care and conditions that matter most to the well being and lifetime care of the dog. I may be the only person in the animal welfare field that believes this is feasible. After spending two days visiting the Hunte Corporation, I now know it is possible. Importantly, the Purdue University study comes at the right time, and will provide us with the data we need to accelerate the process of defining standards so we can begin to meet the demand for dogs with a humane, transparent system.
In the future, we will not be debating adoption vs. purchase. Thankfully, shelters are reducing the number of homeless dogs who are euthanized each year, leaving a deficit of seven million dogs to be acquired through other channels, including retail stores. The current retail bans generate theatrics, but not solutions, about how more people can enjoy the benefits of dog ownership. If regulations are too stringent, they will drive breeding to the unregulated underground. If they are too lax, they will allow substandard operators to stay in business. I believe my professional experience makes me well qualified to lead the discussions around these issues and find common ground.
 
I do have a lot to learn about alternative pets. To that end, I would engage PIJAC directors and members who specialize in these animals to educate me on the priorities facing these species and how I could best act on their behalf as the leader of PIJAC.

In retrospect, given the nature of the ASPCA’s mission, I had a rather limited view during my tenure as the organization’s CEO, responding in the field to horrific substandard operators who represent a small minority of breeders — not the majority. My view in light of those circumstances formed the basis for the statements I made during that period and campaigns that were developed under my leadership. I know now that I was misinformed about the majority of breeders who work diligently to raise puppies humanely and to find lifetime homes through retail channels. While many in the animal welfare field still want to paint all breeders with the same low standards brush, I look forward to opening their eyes to the true nature of the breeding business. I have already begun by encouraging my successor at the ASPCA to take a team to Hunte to learn about the educational initiative Mr. Hunte is leading to create breeders who will understand and implement even more humane breeding standards in their kennels.
 
I have taken my 40-year career in animal welfare very seriously. I would not be seeking this important leadership position if I were not convinced that I could add value to the industry and move PIJAC to become more influential in defining the standards that meet the needs of animals and the consumer.
 
Sincerely,


Ed Sayres
August 22, 2014

 
 
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