Severely Stressed Hamsters Ate Another Hamster Alive at PetSmart and Petco Animal Supplier (Report)

Published by Katherine Sullivan.

Dead hamsters’ partially eaten bodies were found in nearly two dozen enclosures—and one hamster was being eaten alive by other severely stressed hamsters. Unnoticed “pieces of deceased hamster” were scattered throughout animals’ food and bedding. Gerbils were unable to reach water. Boxes confining hamsters were stacked precariously, “swaying … in the breeze.” This is what U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarians found during a routine July inspection of Sun Pet Ltd., a PetSmart and Petco supplier.

This is the same supplier that was the subject of a previous PETA undercover investigation revealing widespread suffering—live hamsters were even bashed against a table by a worker.

The recent USDA report details systemic neglect affecting hundreds—if not far more—of the nearly 13,000 animals onsite at the Atlanta-based animal supplier. Spilled food had “green fuzz” on it. Gerbils who had been denied access to water drank “voraciously” when finally given some. Hamsters were kept in cracked enclosures. And other animals suffered from untreated eye problems, labored breathing, and hair and weight loss.

dead guinea pig named Waylon

A PETA eyewitness found this underweight guinea pig, Waylon, dead five days after he arrived at a PetSmart store from Sun Pet.

In response to the recent report, we wrote to PetSmart President and CEO J.K. Symancyk and Petco CEO and Chair Ron Coughlin, urging them to reconsider their companies’ relationships with Sun Pet and to stop selling live animals altogether.

“[W]e urge you to reconsider whether you wish to remain affiliated with such abject misery and neglect,” PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch wrote in a letter to Symancyk. “Regardless, what will it take for you to stop selling live animals altogether and instead promote the adoption of all animals and only sell supplies for them?”

Now—given that the recent report details extreme animal suffering and neglect, which may violate state law—we’re also calling on Fulton County Solicitor General Keith E. Gammage to investigate Sun Pet and file any appropriate criminal charges against those responsible.

PETA has been urging PetSmart and Petco to reconsider their relationship with Sun Pet and to end animal sales entirely for years.

PetSmart’s and Petco’s lack of conscientious action has repeatedly shown that we can’t depend on these chains to do right by animals, but we can take one simple step to help stop the suffering of animals in the pet trade: Never buy anyone or anything—not even a bag of treats—from stores that sell living, feeling beings. There are many companion animal supply stores and online retailers—like PetFlow.com, Target, and Wag.com—that don’t condemn animals to miserable lives and painful deaths. Click below to take more action:

Urge Petco to Stop Selling All Animals

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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