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PETCO Tied to Chinese Turtle-Meat Trade?

Written by PETA | October 26, 2012

PETA is urging the public to beware of PETCO’s “Turtle Relinquishment Program”—a deceptively named ploy to essentially solicit free turtles from unsuspecting people in order to funnel them back into the pet trade, through a meat farm!

Most states have laws either banning or restricting the sale of turtles, so it is likely that any you see at a pet store were captured illegally or raised in less-than-humane conditions.

Capitalizing on a recent rash of pet turtle–related cases of salmonella poisoning in humans, the shameless pet store chain—which has a terrible record already when it comes to animal welfare—has announced that anyone can bring a turtle of any size to its stores. PETCO then ships those turtles to its own vendor, Concordia Turtle Farm in Louisiana, which has said that it will “treat” the turtles for salmonella.

Well, this might sound like a noble effort to some, but shipping turtles is extremely stressful on them. And to add insult to injury, there really isn’t any way to rid reptiles of salmonella—they naturally carry it in their intestinal tract! What’s more, what PETCO doesn’t tell consumers, and what PETA has learned, is that Concordia Turtle Farm exports 80 percent of its turtles overseas—mostly to China, where they grow larger and are then slaughtered for meat. Although it’s unclear whether the relinquished turtles will end up on Chinese plates, this business deal brings up several important questions. Why would PETCO ally itself with a meat-trade supplier? And if it’s “concerned” about human health, why is the company selling turtles in the first place?

Living conditions during the trip from the breeder or dealer are typically cramped and unsanitary, and many reptiles do not survive the ordeal.

What You Can Do

Please help keep turtles safe by urging the CEO of PETCO to end this ghastly program and stop selling turtles altogether.

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  • theresa says:

    I have called customer service several times regarding this program. Most never heard of it –the petco petstore nver heard of it…then I had a customer service “associate” tell me –oh I just got an email on that let me forward it to you..it never happened . the other associate told me the program has been out for a long time so we dont know much about it. I said you dont know much about a program that has been out for over 8 months? well she said we need to call corporate and ask them about it. No one can give me any answer but the internet was full of stories about this program.I am starting to believe that this was a PR stunt. If there was a negative star I would have given it to them. PS they should stop selling Red eares sliders since no one can keep them for over 50 years which is how long they live in captivity

  • colin says:

    seriously who cares. the bottom line is turtles make awesome pets but they get boring after a while, so why not eat them. its a win win. i mean lets be realistic turtle soup is delicious!

  • Lisa says:

    I sent a message to the CEO of PETCO. I urge Jeff Mackey, the one who wrote this article, to start a petition on Care2 or TakePart.

  • kayla says:

    Don’t do that to the turtles let them live their lives!!!!!!

  • Carol Byram says:

    I’ve boycotted Petco since their last scandal in early 2000′s, which was abusing/killing pets for sale in stores. They really haven’t changed much. This kind of thing is a perfect example. Sickening, disgusting corporation.

  • DTJon says:

    I have been an employee at a Louisiana Petco for a year now. People bring turtles to us, we make sure they are healthy, then we adopt them out to good homes. I have worked at two other locations outside of Louisiana as well and not a single turtle was shipped anywhere. Perhaps you should be more mindful about making such a harsh generalization, as there are Petco stores that truly care about the fate of the animals brought to them.

  • cheryl says:

    Petco is awful they should be ashamed of themselves and they call themselves a [et store,

  • nikki saurus says:

    DISGUSTING!!! I have 7 pet turtles I rescued and I could never give mine away let alone let this happen, I raised them since they were the size of a quater..healthy and now full grown. PetCo is such an evil company and this needs to be stopped, cruel or mean are not even the words to describe this. Coming from a turtle lover this is very upsetting to know!!!

  • skeptic2012 says:

    This sounds terrible, but can I have a link to tell me more about this issue? I need more than word of mouth. Also, if we try harder to keep baby turtles from being sold, this will no longer be an issue. Better yet, keep turtles in the wild internet belong.

  • Alexiys says:

    I think that this is shame full and needs to be stopped. It’s disgusting and immoral.

  • Catalina says:

    That’s disgusting, I don’t warrant ill treatment or slaughter of any animal, I myself am the proud “mother” of a bearded dragon (which can also carry salmonella) and wouldn’t dream of sending her off even if she did have salmonella……the whole scheme just doesn’t make sense to me…….PLEASE STOP PETCO…….for a pet company that should really care about animals this is barbaric…….and reptile owners should just be hygienic :S

  • Ramona Myler says:

    Stop this, PLEASE!!!!!

  • Wendy says:

    PETCO, please stop fueling the turtle meat trade. Practice compassion instead.

  • animal lovers says:

    This is just terrible. These poor baby turtles dont know whats coming. That is sad and cruel and to think I took my dog, Dora to sit on “santa’s” lap there!! I am boycotting petco now who’s with me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lisa Nicole Lenger says:

    This is crazy! These turtles should not be shipped! Please, if you all get a chance, check out our website and support improved economic policies which would help animals, people, the environment, American workers, take “free” trade to fair trade, etc. We can also be found on Twitter and have both a fan and group page on Facebook. Especially view http://www.economyincrisis.org and “follow” us on Twitter. God bless you! Love, Lisa

  • hajsda says:

    This is sick…I love turtles, I don’t want PETCO doing this, taking away people’s animals for their own money and greed. God, I hope someone hits the founder of PETCO in the face with an electric eel.

  • Isabella says:

    I can not believe that Petco would do such a thing! I have a puppy and 2 chinchillas and now im afraid to go to that store just to get food! How could they do that! If they don’t stop soon im going to start to boycotting their store. Thank you Peta for telling us the truth.

  • Natalie says:

    F*** Petco. I have 2 adorable sliders an love them to death. Are people that pathetic as to just hand over a part of their family to a chain or anyonr for that matter before doing research.

  • Seal12000 says:

    This is terrible. We have 3 Red Eared Slider who have been members of our family for at least 6 yrs. and they are awesome. This makes me sick and PetCo needs to stop this. Nobody here has gotten salmonella and if you handle them and wash properly after, you won’t get it or anything else….I just think this is sick. If ANYBODY ever hurt our babies i’d be in jail and my kids would fight for them too. Even our cat just sits by the tanks and watches them. Some people and companies are naturally mean and nasty!!

  • karen testa says:

    sick people! arent there enough meat out there to feed you.

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