Petco Goes Public—This Could Be What We Need to Win Big for Betta Fish

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3 min read

For the third time, Petco “Health and Wellness” Co. Inc. has gone public, so we’ve purchased stock in the campaign target again. As a stockholder, PETA will submit shareholder resolutions, attend annual meetings, and speak directly to Petco executives, all in order to urge the company to stop selling live animals, including betta fish. (Customers have found them dead in plastic cups right on store shelves.)

We also owned stock in Petco in the early 2000s (the last time the company was public) and pushed it to end live-animal sales, which saw it end the sale of large birds in its stores and recommend and promote flight cages for all birds. Since then, Petco has tried and failed to dupe customers with a long-overdue ban on shock collars as well as with a weak rebranding attempt …

… but the big-box pet store hasn’t actually listened to the countless people who’ve begged it to stop exploiting animals. It was acquired by private equity firms, but we continued to protest its live-animal sales online and in the streets, and now we’re heading back to the boardroom, where we’ll urge executives and other shareholders to take speciesism seriously—to stop treating fish and other vulnerable animals like disposable merchandise.

Because of Stores Like Petco, Betta Fish Are Suffering by the Millions

A PETA video exposé revealed that listless, sick, and dead bettas were found floating in cramped, barren plastic containers with low water levels at Petco stores across the country.

A PETA Asia investigation into Thailand’s betta fish industry, including two facilities that supply fish to Petco, revealed that bettas were found gasping for air on waterless trays as workers roughly sorted them for shipping. Some, who had likely suffocated, were seen rotting on the floor, and others were found floating motionless in tanks of filthy water.

Bettas are typically packed without food and left to starve for days during international transport.

Other Animals Are Suffering at Petco Stores and Because of the Company, Too

PETA investigations have exposed additional systemic neglect of animals at multiple other animal dealers with ties to Petco, including Holmes Farm, a massive animal dealer in Pennsylvania that supplied hamsters, rabbits, and other small animals to the company. We revealed that even after Petco representatives visited the farm—where animals were being confined to plastic bins, frozen alive, and crudely gassed to death—the chain continued to order and receive animals by the hundreds from the dealer.

Then there was PETA’s undercover investigation into Sun Pet Ltd., an Atlanta-based wholesale animal dealer and longtime Petco supplier, where rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils, mice, and rats were forced to eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate all in the same space. Video footage showed workers abusively handling hundreds of animals and cruelly killing others. And then in December 2019, damning Colorado Department of Agriculture records echoed what PETA’s been saying all along—animals suffer and die at Petco stores: Between January and July 2019, 12 of the chain’s locations were hit with more than 80 violations of the state’s Pet Animal Care Facilities Act, including for neglect, filth, and poor recordkeeping.

Shopping at Petco Hurts Animals

As one of Petco’s new shareholders, we’ll continue to turn up the heat on the exploitative company. As a consumer, you can be part of the change, too: Please, avoid all Petco stores until the chain pledges to stop selling live animals. Shop elsewhere instead:

And urge Petco to stop selling bettas immediately:

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