Written by Michelle Kretzer
People who recently purchased
mice, hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs from a pet store might have gotten more than they bargained for—such as vomiting, chest pain,
testicular pain, meningitis, paralysis, fluid on the brain, or even children
born with birth defects.
The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) is investigating an outbreak of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)
infections in mice shipped to pet stores throughout the country earlier this year. Mice with LCMV can
infect other rodents and even people who come into contact with them.
And guess which company shipped
out some of the infected mice?
None other than Sun Pet, Ltd.—the PETCO and PetSmart supplier whose Georgia warehouse PETA investigated in 2009 and 2010. Our undercover
investigator documented filthy, severely crowded conditions; unsalable animals killed
in a crude, filthy makeshift gas box; and sick animals deprived of veterinary
care. One worker put live hamsters into a bag and then bashed the bag
against a table in an attempt to kill them.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture put the facility
on probation following PETA's investigation.
Infected rodents shed LCMV in their
urine and saliva, and it also becomes airborne in filthy, cramped conditions such
as those that PETA documented at Sun Pet's warehouse. For animals, it can cause
weeks or even months of lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, inflammation,
and eventually death.
The CDC is encouraging people who
experience symptoms of LCMV to see a doctor. The agency isn't being overly
cautious: In 2005, three
people died after receiving allegedly infected organs from a donor who had purchased a
hamster with LCMV from PetSmart. One of the victims' widows sued PetSmart for negligence. We all knew animals paid the price for the cruelty and filth that are rampant
in the pet trade. Now we see again that consumers might be paying it, too.
This is just one more reason to
avoid sleazy animal dealers by never buying mice,
hamsters, rabbits, fish, birds, or any animal from a pet store or
breeder and by steering others who are considering getting an animal toward animal shelters.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
According to a whistleblower, two bearded dragons languished in the back room of a Chicago-area PetSmart store for six months, apparently suffering from improperly treated eye infections that spread to their jaws and caused their faces to rot away.
After pressure from PETA, the store's manager finally took the bearded dragons to a veterinarian who put them out of their misery, but untold numbers of other animals are likely languishing in PetSmart stores and its suppliers' warehouses across the country. PETA's undercover investigations have shown time after time that this kind of cruelty is business as usual for PetSmart and its suppliers.
PETA revealed horrors at Rainbow World Exotics, one of PetSmart's main animal suppliers, including throwing live animals into the trash, crude neuter surgeries performed in a dark and filthy room by a layperson, depriving animals of desperately needed veterinary care, and leaving them to cannibalize each other, suffer, and die alone in their cages.
At Sun Pet, another PetSmart supplier, an employee—who has since been fired—placed hamsters in a bag and bashed it against a table in an attempt to kill them. Other animals who couldn't be sold were gassed in a crude, filth-encrusted tank.
Animals at the now-defunct U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., which supplied exotic animals to PetSmart, were crammed into severely crowded and filthy containers, including soda bottles and milk jugs, litter pans, cattle-feeding troughs, and barren wire cages. Hundreds of animals were denied basic necessities, such as food, water, and veterinary care.
And PETA's undercover investigation of a PetSmart store in Manchester, Connecticut, documented that more than 100 animals—including hamsters, rats, lizards, chinchillas, and birds—were deprived of adequate veterinary care and just left to die slowly, hidden from customers' sight. PetSmart boasted that this store had an "outstanding pet care team" and an "exceptional pet care record." Pathetic.
Please show PetSmart that you haven't forgotten about the animals who suffer unseen. Boycott PetSmart, and tell company officials that you won't set foot in their stores until live animals are no longer part of the inventory.
Written by PETA
Authorities recently raided Dutch animal dealer and breeding mill Reintjes—a supplier of U.S. Global Exotics (USGE)—and found animals crammed in cages in a dark warehouse with no working fan to combat stale air and the stench of urine and feces. Many animals had no access to food or water, and many were starving. Authorities seized every animal on the premises—5,900 in all, including mice, rats, hamsters, and birds—from Reintjes' owners, who already had criminal records for cruelty to animals.
Reintjes was a global supplier of animals to the pet trade. In 2009 alone, it supplied 112,546 animals to USGE, a major supplier of animals to wholesale dealers and pet stores in the U.S.—including PETCO and PetSmart suppliers Rainbow World Exotics and Sun Pet—until it was shut down following a PETA undercover investigation. USGE, which purchased rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, chipmunks, tree squirrels, and other animals from Reintjes, shared the Dutch company's view of animals as disposable commodities. Authorities raiding USGE found live animals shoved into soda bottles and tiny food storage containers; animals with severe, untreated injuries; a widespread lack of food, water, and adequate housing; and sick animals left to die. In fact, on the day of the seizure, an unpacked shipment of hundreds of chinchillas and hamsters from Reintjes was among the first things authorities found.
There is no word yet on whether Reintjes will be shut down permanently, but we will release updates as we have them. It is impossible to patronize pet stores like PETCO and PetSmart that sell live animals without supporting abusive animal dealers and breeding mills. Please, purchase your animal supplies at stores that don't sell live animals.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Validation came this week when PETCO settled a $1.75 million lawsuit filed by four California counties over the company's atrocious animal care record and deceptive consumer practices. The suit alleged that PETCO failed to notice or treat sick animals—and overcharged customers to boot! This lawsuit follows a 2004 case in which PETCO paid more than $850,000 to settle similar charges and was ordered by the court to implement a detailed daily animal care procedure in all its California stores. Guess it forgot.
Is anyone surprised? We've been filing complaints about PETCO's abysmal treatment of animals for years. But the mills that supply the birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and other small animals to PETCO (and PetSmart) are also responsible for widespread animal suffering. PETA's undercover investigator documented horrific conditions in the enormous warehouses at Sun Pet Ltd., an Atlanta-based wholesale animal dealer that supplies these chains. And who can forget the dead, dying and diseased animals our investigator discovered at animal mill U.S. Global Exotics?
If PETCO is apparently incapable of providing decent care to animals right in its own stores, what hope do animals have at these awful mills that churn out animals as if they were disposable toys? Buyer beware: Go elsewhere!
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
This week, PETA released never-before-seen footage from our three-month investigation of Sun Pet Ltd.—an Atlanta-based supplier of small mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and other animals to stores nationwide, including PETCO and PetSmart. In the shocking video, a Sun Pet worker is seen slamming hamsters against a table in an attempt to kill them—evidently because they were deemed unsalable. At least one of the hamsters was still alive for several minutes afterward, panting in the sealed plastic bag.
Not surprisingly, Sun Pet has released a video of its own, showing conditions for the animals at its Atlanta small-animal breeding farm. It doesn't look all that great to us.
Thank you, Sun Pet, for helping PETA show the world the sort of hellish warehouses that PETCO and PetSmart's animals come from! We are not quite sure which part is supposed to serve as a response to PETA's allegations. Is it the footage of the animals who were crammed into pitch-black, tomb-like bins and wire cages; the footage of the animals who were being packed up for shipping as if they were inanimate objects; the footage of the chinchilla cages that the Georgia Department of Agriculture last month found to be in violation of the law; the footage of the fecal matter that was all over the small animals' bedding; or the footage of the rabbits who were being kept in tiny, barren wire cages with no bedding to protect their tender feet?
In its written response to PETA's video, Sun Pet says that it has dismissed the employee in the video. That's a start—but it's not enough. The manager who approved of the hamster-bashing is apparently still punching the clock down at Sun Pet. That's the same manager who said that one could throw mice against a wall and suggested that PETA's investigator expose small animals' testicles by poking and prodding away at their abdomens as if they were PlayStation controllers.
Every employee who abused animals at Sun Pet should be fired and prosecuted—something that Sun Pet vice president and general manager Barry Wisebram said in an interview that he would "make sure" happened. PETA sent a letter to Wisebram yesterday asking him to stick to his word. (He's apparently been too busy taking reporters on tours around his spruced-up warehouses, crafting misleading media statements, and making cameos in the video to do what's right for the hundreds of thousands of animals in his care—or even to get back to us.)
Oh, and one more thing: In Sun Pet's written response, the company asks for "suggestions or information that would help us."
We think that's a great idea. Please take a few minutes to contact Wisebram and politely suggest that it's time for the company to get out of the animal business altogether:
Barry WisebramSun Pet Ltd.3765 Zip Industrial Blvd.Atlanta, GA 30354
Written by Paula Moore
In case anyone needed another reason never to spend a cent at Petland or other stores that sell live animals, Animal Planet is airing a special report tonight showing how puppies suffer even before they end up in Petland stores. According to Animal Planet, an investigation of puppy mills that supply animals to Petland uncovered "more than 140 dogs housed in chicken-wire kennels, water bowls encrusted with mold and containing green water, … and one breeder's confession that she kills healthy dogs because of their less-than-stellar looks."
This appalling cruelty is business as usual at the hellholes that supply animals to Petland. At Sun Pet Ltd., a PETA undercover investigator recently found that animals were crammed en masse into tubs and that a worker bashed hamsters against a table in an attempt to kill them, among other horrors. At U.S. Global Exotics, another Petland supplier, PETA's investigator found that hundreds of thousands of animals were cruelly confined for days or weeks in pillowcases, shipping boxes, or soda bottles and that sick and injured animals were left in freezers to slowly die.
The only reason why animals continue to suffer for Petland and other stores is that people continue to buy them, so let's all get our friends and families to watch this important exposé with us on Animal Planet tonight at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT!
Here's a beautiful—and lifesaving!—sight for the millions of animals who suffered at the hands of owners and employees of the international animal dealer warehouse formerly known as U.S. Global Exotics, Inc. (USGE):
Yep, that's right—just months after the PETA Files first gave readers a tiny glimpse into PETA's investigation of USGE, the multimillion-dollar business is closed, the filthy warehouse is up for sale, and USGE's former owner, Jasen Shaw, is on the lam! A federal arrest warrant is out for Shaw, alleging violations of the Lacey Act, a federal wildlife protection law enforced by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Shaw and his wife, Vanessa, are believed to have fled the U.S. and may be hiding in their native New Zealand.
We can finally release additional videos, photographs, and investigation findings that offer even more insight into the hideous pet trade. Thanks to our findings, not one more snake, lizard, frog, sloth, wallaby, hamster, chinchilla, ferret, tortoise, or other animal will be imported from breeding mills or kidnapped from their natural homes to be shipped to USGE's filthy warehouse—and denied food, water, veterinary care, and fresh air; locked inside a filthy, crowded container; or frozen to death.
But millions of other animals are still suffering in the pet trade at hellholes such as Sun Pet—which purchased hamsters from USGE and then sold them to PETCO stores—and they need our help!
We can make a huge difference by urging our friends and family members never to buy animals from pet stores and letting PETCO and PetSmart know that we won't be spending so much as a dime in their stores until they stop selling all animals.
Hamsters were put into a plastic bag and bashed against a table. Animals were cruelly killed, abusively handled, and forced to live in severely crowded, filthy conditions. The findings of PETA's undercover investigation of Sun Pet Ltd.—a supplier of animals to stores nationwide, including PETCO and PetSmart—are so shocking that it's no wonder that so many of you have been calling and writing to these companies concerning their ties to Sun Pet (and thanks for doing so).
Now PETCO is responding, using form letters and automated phone responses that stretch the truth like an old-fashioned taffy pull. Let's have a look at the form letter:
Please know that at PETCO, the health and wellbeing of ALL animals is always our top priority, and we take animal care issues and concerns VERY seriously.
Please know that at PETCO, the health and wellbeing of ALL animals is always our top priority, and we take animal care issues and concerns VERY seriously.
PETCO is quite aware that this is the fourth PETA undercover investigation of its animal sources—after North American Pet Distributors (NAPD), Rainbow World Exotics, and U.S. Global Exotics—and that every investigation found factory farm conditions, filth, crowding, deprivation, neglect, cruelty, and slow, painful death. Yet PETCO continues to do business with these mills and hasn't put a stop to its suppliers' abuses.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.