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.
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.