PETA Will Buy Every Betta Fish From Petco in Exchange for a Sales Ban

Published by Zachary Toliver.

As COVID-19 shutdowns continue to hurt retailers during this trying time, PETA is offering an olive branch to Petco with an offer to buy all the betta fish at its stores and end our betta fish campaign against the corporation. We’re simply demanding that the company end the sale of these fish immediately and forever.

When betta fish are treated as inventory—mere things to be stocked, stacked, priced, and unloaded—they suffer.

Sure, they’re vibrant and colorful, but they’re also extremely complex animals. At Petco stores around the country, they’re confined to tiny plastic cups with scarcely a couple of inches of water inside, stacked on top of one another. Scores of customers have complained of finding dead and sick bettas floating in filthy water on the chain’s store shelves.

A recent PETA Asia investigation uncovered what happens to betta fish before they end up at Petco stores and revealed shockingly unsanitary practices. The eyewitness—who visited 10 breeding factories and packing operations, including two facilities that supply bettas to Petco—saw numerous dead bettas, many on the floor, likely having suffocated. In addition, many fish had died in breeding tanks and workers hadn’t bothered to remove the dead bodies. Tens of thousands of fish were housed in small and often filthy bottles. In such a minuscule volume of water, ammonia from the fish’s waste builds up, quickly contaminating it.

These breeding factories are a public health disaster waiting to happen.

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No fish should be forced to live and die in a cramped bowl.

Betta fish are so intelligent that they can recognize and bond with their human guardians and learn tricks from them, such as swimming through a hoop or pushing a ball into a goal. They’ve even adapted to breathe oxygen right from the air. Like all living, feeling beings, they cherish their own lives and have no interest in being used as part of someone’s home decor.

Petco employees have admitted that the process of transporting bettas to stores is so stressful that the animals often get sick and even die shortly after their arrival.

These fish are typically shipped in small plastic bags—with no food and often barely enough water to cover their bodies—on journeys that can take days. Betta fish sold in the U.S. typically come from breeding factories in Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia. When fish are transported abroad, the stressful trip can cause them to develop diseases and bacterial infections—which are becoming more antibiotic-resistant because of rampant drug use in the tropical fish trade. These can then be transmitted to humans.

What You Can Do

Even if Petco turns our offer down, you can still demand that the company stop selling betta fish by clicking on the button below:

Urge Petco to Stop Selling Betta Fish!

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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