Why That ‘Screaming Hamster’ Viral Tweet Isn’t Funny

Published by Katherine Sullivan.

Earlier this month, an individual claiming to be a former PetSmart employee shared a photo of a terrified-looking hamster. According to the person, the photo was taken at PetSmart.

https://twitter.com/dattebanyan/status/1073757983300034560

In 2016, that same person apparently tweeted a video of what looks like the same hamster “screaming” when the worker tried to feed the animal.

After posting the recent photo, the person followed up with this clarification:

On the real tho, me and my coworkers did nothing but care for these animals but like suppliers/people who buy pets are so gross it’s crazy the amount of s**t you see working in a pet store, people don’t give a f**k about animals.

Another Twitter user commented, “I used to work at petsmart too and I had a hamster do this to me everytime i went near him,” followed by three sobbing emojis.

No Wonder This Hamster Was So Scared

A PETA investigation of Holmes Farm—a Pennsylvania animal dealer that supplied small animals to PetSmart and other pet stores—revealed that thousands of hamsters and other small animals were confined to severely crowded plastic bins and stacked in shelving units and that they endured other types of abuse.

When you support pet stores like PetSmart, you’re supporting places like this dreadful dealer.

Hamsters can be easily frightened. They don’t have the best eyesight, so they depend more on other senses to survive. The hamster shown in this now-viral tweet was understandably scared and defensive, as any animal in a similar situation would likely be.

This fear is nothing new.

This petrified hamster is yet another victim of the cruel pet trade. Multiple PETA investigations have exposed that the animal dealers that supply pet stores like PetSmart and Petco have “no … empathy for the animals.” Take Reptiles by Mack, for instance. In 2015 and 2016, PETA eyewitnesses spent a combined 15 weeks at the Xenia, Ohio, reptile mill, which breeds frogs, lizards, turtles, and other animals and sells them to pet stores across the country. At the time, Reptiles by Mack supplied animals to PetSmart stores. Animals were shipped to the supplier from all over the world in barbaric conditions—many were dead upon arrival. Some were deprived of water for days or even weeks. Others were cruelly killed by being gassed or frozen to death. Take a look for yourself:

A 2017–2018 PETA eyewitness investigation of three PetSmart stores across the country found similar systemic neglect and widespread animal suffering.

Managers at one store repeatedly refused to provide sick, injured, and dying animals with veterinary care in an effort to “keep costs down” so that they’d receive bonuses. Based on PETA’s evidence, cruelty-to-animals charges were filed against three of the managers—and they all pleaded guilty.

Do You Want to Help Hamsters?

Never, ever buy an animal from a store—and tell friends and family not to, either.

Tell PetSmart officials that you’ll buy supplies from businesses that don’t sell animals, instead.

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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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind