Radio Systems Corporation (RSC) has announced that it will be folding in its Premier line of products under its PetSafe brand beginning in October 2012, ending the Premier line as a separate brand and product line.
We wish that RSC were not taking this action. The separation of the Premier products and the RSC products was important to Premier's founder, Sharon Madere, to her team, and to many leading advocates of force-free training—us among them. RSC is one of the leading producers of electric shock collars. It's a huge business for them. RSC now wants to be "training method neutral" in its approach to marketing and product development. We don't share that philosophy. We, along with you, have worked long and joyously to educate professionals and pet owners on force-free training and its benefits over training methods based on punishment and correction. We think RSC's decision and actions will harm, not help, that cause.
Karen Pryor, along with several other respected names in force-free training, was in Knoxville, TN (RSC Headquarters) when the CEO and President of RSC pledged to grow the Premier line of products and keep the brand intact. As a result of this commitment, many trainers agreed to go forward with product development under the Premier name, to carry Premier products, and to continue with Premier event sponsorship. We were among that group. RSC's decision is not merely a business decision, but a broken promise to which there is more than one witness.
We will not carry or sell products that carry the PetSafe name, even if they are former Premier products. We have products under development with Premier and, because of the change, will be pursuing that development on our own and not with RSC. We will not be re-ordering inventory of Premier products. We have canceled Premier's planned sponsorship of ClickerExpo.
There have been many calls to stop buying and using Premier products, immediately. We can understand those calls and the feelings behind them. People are angry and hurt. But, from where we stand, a boycott of the Premier products right now hurts more than RSC sales. It hurts the force-free community of retailers who have invested in inventory. It hurts the force-free trainer inventors whose livelihoods may depend on royalties from Premier sales. It deprives trainers and pet owners of good products. Consequently, we will continue to offer Premier products from our existing inventory until the fall of 2012, when the brand disappears. This allows our community to conduct an orderly wind-down of its affairs—retailers can sell off inventory, inventors can make new plans and maybe find new sponsors for their products, and trainers can find alternatives.
Please remember that most Premier employees are devastated by this change, so be kind to Premier people. This was not their decision. They now work for RSC and are in a difficult position. We hope to find ways to celebrate their past contributions and say goodbye to Premier with style.
With warmest regards,
Karen Pryor and Aaron Clayton