When I was in sixth grade, I had a salamander named John (Lennon) and loved the little guy. He was our class “pet,” and at the end of the school year, my science teacher let me take him home as my permanent companion animal. I was one proud momma! I knew John came from the local pet store, but I had no idea that buying animals from pet stores actually supports their suffering.
For every animal on display at pet stores like PetSmart and Petco, there are many animals you don’t see. Their stories are hidden because pet stores don’t want you to know that they get their animals from breeders who treat them cruelly. If people just took a moment to learn about the massive breeding facilities that the animals came from, NO ONE would shop at pet stores.
Animals at pet store suppliers are crammed into crowded, dirty cages and often deprived of water for days or even weeks.
PETA’s undercover exposé of a breeding mill that supplies reptiles to pet stores across the country revealed that the severe crowding and intensive confinement leads to gruesome injuries. Injured animals are denied veterinary care and left to suffer alone. Some animals’ injured limbs are even left to rot off.
Unwanted animals are often gassed or frozen to DEATH.? Caring for the reptiles is considered a low priority for those who breed and sell them. The owners of Jurassic Pets, a Colorado breeding facility and pet store, admitted to killing reptiles and rodents by putting them in freezers. The facility didn’t employ a single full-time employee to care for the animals.
Living animals are shipped in barbaric conditions, including stuffed inside plastic bottles, milk jugs, mesh bags, plastic containers resembling “to-go” boxes, and wooden crates, as if they were objects instead of living, feeling beings.
They’re considered nothing more than goods to be peddled for cash. Unlike the animals you see at shelters, who were rescued from bad situations or surrendered by people who could no longer care for them, animals sold at pet stores were purposely bred solely to make money. (Ironically, many animals bought at pet stores are later surrendered to animal shelters.)
Animals are only valued by pet stores and breeding mills for the money that they bring in. Mitch Behm, owner of Global Captive Breeders, LLC (GCB), a company that bred and sold rats and reptiles to pet stores, repeatedly told workers NOT to care for the facility’s reptiles, since most of his money came from rat breeding. Many reptiles suffer a long time and ultimately die at pet stores or the warehouses that supply them. At GCB, chronic deprivation was the norm. Reptiles laid around helplessly for weeks before dying.
Animals are denied everything that’s natural and important to them at these places. Snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises, and frogs, among many other animals, were denied adequate space and air and most basic necessities, like food and water, at U.S. Global Exotics, an international exotic-animal wholesale facility investigated by PETA.
These are not isolated incidents. PETA has conducted SIX investigations showing that this is “normal” treatment for reptiles and other animals in the pet industry.
What You Can Do to Help
NEVER buy animals (or anything!) from stores that sell animals. The less money these places make, the less they are able to support cruel breeders. Instead, buy supplies and pet food from local companion-animal supply stores that DON’T sell live animals, or you can shop at various online retailers or at Target.
If you’re thinking about adding a companion reptile to your family, always adopt from shelters—NEVER buy an animal from a pet store.