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Important Pet Professional Guild Communication – Change of Venue for Summit 2020

Circulated October 28, 2019. 

We regret to announce that, due to circumstances beyond our control, PPG’s Annual Summit will no longer be held at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (BFAS) in Kanab, Utah on September 20-25, 2020. We are currently working to identify and secure an exciting alternative location for approximately the same dates and will make a further announcement as soon as we can. In the meantime, we greatly regret and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

As many of you may know, prior to its 2018 Annual Summit at BFAS, PPG was comfortable that, although the respective organizations espoused different key missions, these were not mutually exclusive. Based on our conversations with Best Friends’ staff and the training resources and information we gathered during our meetings with Best Friends at that time, we felt that our organizations’ respective philosophies concerning aversive training and pet care methods were compatible and did not compromise PPG’s Guiding Principles. Importantly, they also fulfilled an important part of PPG’s mission, i.e. to educate and engage industry professionals on the efficacy of positive reinforcement based training and behavior modification programs.

A selection of links from the BFAS website that speak to its approach to training and behavior modification, and upon which we based our decision to host our 2018 and 2020 annual events there, are listed below:
• https://network.bestfriends.org/…/positive-reinforcement-tr…
• https://network.bestfriends.org/…/why-we-dont-or-rarely-use…
• https://resources.bestfriends.org/…/relationship-based-dog-…

From the very beginning of the working relationship between PPG and BFAS, PPG has offered to assist Best Friends with its training and behavior programs in any way we could. With the combined extensive training knowledge that exists across our membership and our esteemed Special Counsels, PPG is ideally positioned to assist Best Friends with its training goals, as well as any specific challenges that may arise along the way.

Over the past week or so, however, there has been some debate on social media as to certain aspects of BFAS’ training philosophy, which prompted PPG to seek further clarification. Having reviewed a number of videos and firsthand reports from a Best Friends meeting held in Kanab, Utah last Wednesday evening (October 23, 2019), it appears that Best Friends’ training philosophy is not, at present, in line with PPG’s and, in fact, is in direct conflict with PPG’s mission and Guiding Principles – especially our non-negotiables concerning the use of Shock, Prong and Choke, Pain, Force and Fear.

Because of this diversion, hosting a PPG event at Best Friends at this time would be contrary to PPG’s Guiding Principles and untenable to our members, sponsors, donors and vendors. We have also received an overwhelming response from our stakeholders who have expressed grave concern that our attendance at Best Friends may be taken as an endorsement of these approaches to training and behavior.

This has been a very difficult decision for PPG, as we always strive to effect change and to keep animal well-being foremost in our decision-making process. However, PPG must remain focused on our commitment to advocate and remain true to our organization’s Guiding Principles and key mission by promoting scientific, humane and positive reinforcement-based methods and skill application.

PPG would like to personally thank those members and non-members who have shared their cogent, well-reasoned thoughts and opinions on this issue. We will be communicating more over the next few days with all those who have already registered for the Kanab 2020 Summit.

We thank you for your ongoing support, patience and understanding, for your continued support of PPG and for speaking up for those who have no voice.

Niki Tudge – Founder and President, Pet Professional Guild

Position Statement on PPG’s Pet Industry Education Mandate
Pet Professional Guild Guiding Principles
Pet Professional Guild Key Position Statements

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