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Victory! PetSmart to Stop Selling Bunnies

Written by PETA | December 19, 2007

Following a PETA action alert and protests targeting the company, which resulted in thousands of emails to Petsmart Corporate over the last three months, Petsmart has announced that they will no longer sell rabbits in their stores! “At this time,” writes Petsmart (using perhaps my least favorite prepositional phrase ever), “we’re not expanding the test and will not continue to sell dwarf bunnies beyond those already in or planned for our stores.” Given the thousands of rabbits who are abandoned to die in shelters every year, this is big news for bunnies—and for those who care about their well-being.

This doesn’t mean the end of our campaign against Petsmart, which continues to sell other animals like hamsters, rats, fish, lizards, and birds—who are just as prone to suffering at the company’s hands—but it’s an important sign that direct pressure on the company from consumers will make them listen. Petsmart claims that this was purely a business decision (“we failed to meet the business objectives”), which means that we need to continue to go after their bottom line by boycotting their stores—you’d be surprised to see how many “business decisions” turn into “ethical decisions” when a company realizes that consumers are outraged at their practices. A huge thank you to everyone who called or wrote to Petsmart about this issue—if you haven’t already, please take this opportunity to let them know that you appreciate this decision but will continue to boycott their stores until they end all animal sales. Please also ask that they turn the remaining rabbits over to a reputable rabbit placement group which can ensure that they won’t be used as Christmas presents and will go into permanent, responsible homes.

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  • Keith Arden says:

    This may be opening a new can of worms but I can’t stay quiet any more!!!!!!!!! I have made a peronal decision to stop buying “CHINA MADE” anything! If you know what they do to their dogs over there IE Skin them alive for a profit and leave them to die in a pile either by severe shock or a heart attack. I have not been able to buy much anywhere since I made this decision but I do sleep better at night. I was at PetSmart the other day and let empty handed I found nothing I needed that was not made in China! How can a store who promotes such a strong belief in helping to save animals buy the majority of their products from a country who does this? I would like to encourage everyone to think twice b4 you buy “CHINA” ever again!!!

  • Rob says:

    well now its a bit late for a comment but I feel its need somewhere to be placed… I am a pet owner so I definately have a say in this crud. I own fish as my primary little pets and a kitty which my parents take care of. But this goes for all animals… the thing ALL humans are doing wrong is not treating every species out there like a living being. I treat my fish with care and respect just like there were a human same thing with my cat in fact I treat animals even insects with the respect they deserve. way better than I treat any person who walks down the street. What we need to do is respect these animals and they’re place on earth and to solve this issue of over population with pets which IS the main reason this is happening plus the education to those people who want to take care of an animal even bunnies if people are even getting them still. Maybe if we educuate EVERYONE on the animals they are still selling as pets maybe there wouldn’t be this issue plus boycotting aint gonna work cause takes about 100 years to boycott something major… and I cant stand how people would react to things how about we work WITH the companies to come up with agreements on protecting our planets animals dumb$$es… and honestly Im shopping at Petsmart still espcially their cheap aquariums and fish products… dont tell me I’m EVIL cause I bought a bred animal escpeially when I work my ass off taking care of them everyday…. draw the line between common sense and crud coming out your mouth…. face it there will always be people buying bred animals…. so educate the morons… then it will be fixed…. nothing else to the problem. unless you’re also a moron…

  • Clay W says:

    Thank you so much PETA. Please keep up your campaign while maintaining your ethics. Remember we are not like them.

  • NOREEN BYATT says:


  • Rebecca Maursky says:

    As long as there is a need for bunniesferretsbirds or any other living animal there will always be mills to pump out these poor animals for greed!! Until people realize we need to stop buying these animals! Let’ shut all puppy mills and ALL animal mills down!!!!!!!!

  • Afra says:

    A person I know who owns a huge property told me that when he rides on his grass cutting thing there is a crunching sound as he runs over the baby bunnies…he was serious. He loves a certain breed of dog and is on the board…of the rescue for that breed though he IS a meat eater. I am a vegan of over 25 years and a multi pet owner…rescues mixed breeds…so I love animals but what can we do about nature and humankind…the 2 don’t mix very well.

  • Tracy Martin says:

    This is indeed a step in the right direction. But until NO ANIMALS are sold in these stores we cannot rest. Adoption is the only way to go. Treating animals as products for anyone with a few bucks to buy is slavery. Petsmart and other stores must stop ALL animal sales!

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Kristina that’s right education is a HUGE part of preventing animal mistreatment in fact it may be the most important thing of all. And don’t feel bad about buying from a breeder once the cats I grew up with were from a litter of “free kittens”! If I hadn’t grown up with animalrights mentors I probably would have continued this practice as an adult. The point is to learn and move on. I’m sad to say that the pet stores will never have the ability to screen properly as long as they are creating these animals for profit. Pet stores would do just fine only selling pet products it’s a huge huge industry and it’s at a peak right now. I just read that it’s the only market that is growing not declining in this economy. People love to buy stuff for their pets. You make good points I always learn stuff here! I really do believe that education and discussion is key.

  • Caboose says:

    Aleasha Not everywhere though they’re invasive In Australia they’re invasive and its okay to kill them without environmental penalty

  • Aleasha says:

    It is Petsmart’s fault! They are supporting the industry by selling the rabbits. Rabbits have no place in the pet industry. They diserve to live life in the wild. They are not pets!

  • Nyingje says:

    Amazing! Can I suggest that we extend the petition to petco and pet supplies plus as well? And encourage them to work together with our local shelters and support the responsible adoption of companion rabbits?

  • Caboose says:

    Rabbits are invasive in some areas and are encouraged to be hunted.

  • Kristina says:

    Maya Thank you. That was another point I should have made more clear in my original posting. Educate the buyer better screening. I have to say I bought my puppy from a breeder please I understand PETA’s position on breeders and I virtually went through an interview that I almost thought I was adopting a human baby and not a puppy. I feel if PETA worked with Petsmart and Petco for that matter in helping to educate the public and have a better screening process it would help negate the incidents of people giving up their rabbits or any pet for that matter. And instead of going through a pet mill maybe go through shelters or rescue agencies like they do with their cats to get their rabbits. That would help the all ready strained shelters and of course be beneficial to the animals.

  • tammy says:

    I volunteer at the adoption center cats only at a Petsmart. Our cats are very well cared for Petsmart provides the space food. The employees help out when needed. Please dont minimize the efforts of the people who workvolunteer because they love animals. BTW most shelters have strict adoption procedures.

  • Kristina says:

    Tamara My “precious people”? Don’t patronize me I am not a child. I do not expect PETA to play “rabbit police” that is ludicrous. I was not even implying that. I was merely making the point that Petsmart cannot be the only one to blame. I was not discussing the people’s guilt or lack there of. I know they don’t care. Maybe PETA should work with Petsmart to educate people better. Instead of boycotting or using guerilla tactics maybe more peaceful means could be advised. Not only with Petsmart but other organizations that deal with selling animals etc. And I would like to counter the claim that it stops animals being bred in mills. If they can’t sell to one source they’ll find another way to sell their animals. I don’t think stopping Petsmart selling rabbits are going to stop the mills. As nice as that sounds. I mean no disrespect in any way. I am here to learn more but I cannot help but make some remarks about certain topics.

  • vanessa says:

    One person really can make a difference. Enough said

  • ratlover says:

    Cass I am unclear on what you mean by ‘good luck finding shelters with rabbits’. I also happen to work at a nonprofit animal shelter and just counted 15 rabbits here. 15! Have you never heard the expression “Fck like rabbits”? It’s true you know. We are always loaded with rabbits because some owners are not enlightened enough to spayneuter their small animals. It’s great that the shelter that you volunteer for is funded by PetSmart however since you volunteer at a nonprofit shelter i would tend to think that you would be against the commercial sale of animals. animals are living beings not commodities. if you believe that animals are commodities perhaps you are volunteering in the wrong area.

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    While I agree wholeheartedly that the pet owner needs to take full responsibiltiy there is a crucial element missing here. Anyone who OPENS A STORE and PURCHASES animals and then SELLS them to the public has a greater responsibiltiy because they are making themselves out to be the “experts”. The onus of responsibilty is on the pet store to make sure the adopters are properly screened. Even animal shelters screen their adopters even though the animal shelter did not BREED the animals they only rescued them from the streets! Any store that breeds an animal or pays a breeder to “create more” has a responsiblity to screen the adopter. And pet stores don’t do that in fact as a vet nurse I saw many pet stores with terrible bogus information regarding how to properly care for the pets they were selling. I also saw reptiles with metabolic bone disease rabbits with parasites and pus betta fish who died from inadequate oxygen and other animals who died after just weeks after being taken home. When I saw the info given by the pet stores it was clear why the animals were in such bad conditon. Many of them were unsaveable and died in the clinic. Working at the shelters when we asked people “where did you get the animal” people would overwhelmingly say “Petsmart” or “Petco”. So there you have it they may donate to shelters but all they’re doing is creating a revolving door. And by the way between the MSPCA the House Rabbit Society and hundreds of other shelters there is no shortage of adoptable “homeless” rabbits. No disrespect intended to those with whom I disagree just a perspective from my personal job experience. Peace folks!

  • Tamara says:

    Kristina what is PETA supposed to do? Get a list of everyone who bought a rabbit then investigate whether they gave it up? Then what are they supposed to do? Play “rabbit police”find out what happened to the rabbit make them pay the shelter for upkeep if the rabbit was surrendered to a shelter? Or are you talking about “guilt” in the sense of the people who bought feel guilty cause they were not able to take care of the rabbit properly? If the temptation to impulse buy the rabbit was not there this would not have to happen. There are some people who do not feel guilty and release the rabbits into the wild. They don’t care…I guess they assume the rabbit will be able to survive. Or if it does it does if it doesn’t it doesnt. People call shelters all the time threatening to do things to their animals if the animal is not taken in right now. Some people just go ahead and do it. Making the chain stores stop selling these animals accomplishes several things at once. The animals are not bred in “mills” in horrid filthy conditions. The temptation of impulse buying living creatures is removed. There would be less rabbitsother animals in shelters. And less suffering all around. Even your precious people who feel or ARE guilty wouldn’t have that problem then would they?

  • Carla says:

    Yeh!! It should have never even been started!

  • Maya, Master's candidate, wildlife biology says:

    GOOD WORK PETA!!! I back you up 100 percent on this. It’s completely absurd that we are fussing over kill vs no kill shelters while pet stores are breeding and selling animals like crappy furniture left and right. It must stop. The sale of exotic animals is a huge crisis poaching species going extinct reptiles suffering from metabolic bone disease. I saw it all the time as a shelter worker. Any pet store that says they only breed exotics in captivity is lying. In order to keep their pretty colors fish reptiles and birds must be bred from wild animals from time to time which means the pet store conglomerates are dipping into the poached animal supply from time to time.

  • Kristina says:

    Tamara That may be true but my point is what about the PEOPLE WHO BUY the animals and then neglect them. I find them more at fault then Petsmart. I can’t believe PETA can gloss over that fact and just demonize Petsmart.

  • vegan4animals says:

    rabbits suffer just as much as cats and dogs so of course why should PetsMart sell rabbits when they know it is wrong to sell cats and dogs…DUH! Now I’m waiting for PetsMart to figure out that pimping out any living being for a profit is wrong! So the birds fish and other animals should be next. Let’s hope so! None of these animals exist for our amusement to stare at them while they suffer in a glass box or a cage. This insanity must end. Thank you PetsMart for taking another step in the right direction.

  • carolina says:

    yay now they dont have to suffer

  • kelly says:

    Ricky talk to the manager of your Petsmart. They will often let you set up an info table to talk about adoption with customers or even bring pets in for adoption. I hope that rabbit rescue groups will be working with their local Petsmart to promote rabbit adoption!!

  • Cass says:

    THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I volunteer for a nokill nonprofit rescue and the only reason we can survive is from the generosity of Petsmart Charities! Petsmarts would gladly allow rabbits to be adopted there but GOOD LUCK FINDING SHELTERS WITH RABBITS. Granted there are a few but hardly even one or two per state. And as for the lizards and hamsters and stuff? STICK TO GETTING PEOPLE TO QUIT EATING MEAT AND LEAVE MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF PETS TO PEOPLE WITH COMMON SENSE LIKE THE HSUS AND ASPCA! This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! Petsmart keeps thousands of shelters and rescues a float every year. They are the reason we’ve had over 700 dogs and cats adopted this year! ALL PETA DOES FOR DOGS IS LEAVE THEM OUTSIDE IN THE COLD AND GIVE THEM SOME STRAW!

  • Caboose says:

    Now if the public was made not to buy pets anymore WCCs and rocks O.K ed it would solve itself.

  • Michele says:

    You’re right Jaclyn about baby steps. That is the way the animal rights movement has been going and each baby step takes us closer to the goal of ending all animal abuse. And we have often seen when one storecompany makes a change others make the same changes for the sake of their image even if the motivation is not altruistic we still generally get the same end result. Yay!

  • indycar01 says:

    1 in pet food is the thinking persons pet food..

  • Elizabeth says:

    This is great!! Let’s see if we can get them to stop selling the other animals too.

  • Kristina says:

    Still what about the people who buy the animals and then give them up because they realize it’s a bigger responsibility than they thought? Let’s not forget their guilt in this.

  • Tamara says:

    Kristina PetsMart doesn’t care. They are there to make money. Not screen people who buy the animals they sell.

  • Jonathan says:

    PETA is silly.

  • Jaclyn says:

    Baby steps are good.

  • Tamara says:

    Now if they would only stop selling birds. Of all sizes.

  • Russell says:


  • Ricky says:

    Wonderful news! I have asked my local Petsmart to send those customers looking for kittens or puppies to the local shelter my wife and I volunteer at. We will continue to pressure Petsmart Petco and Petland in doing RIGHT.

  • K says:

    Oh my god wow! It’s great to know changes are really being made!

  • Kristina says:

    Shouldn’t Peta take issue with the irresponsible people who buy these pets and then abandon them? That’s not Petsmart’s fault. Maybe they should have tougher screening for potential owners? The same thing could happen with an animal adopted from a shelter.