If you’ve ever found yourself staring at the rows and rows of betta fish piled on top of each other in tiny plastic cups of water barely larger than their own bodies at Petco and wished you could do something to help them, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, as these patrons found out the hard way, the Petco employees and managers they asked to help sick and dying fish completely failed them.
Petco advertises betta fish as decorations to “brighten up the office,” and it’s clear that the company views them as replaceable objects, too. Like a bouquet of flowers that withers away, the fish sit on the shelf until they die—and then are tossed aside.
Petco views animals as merchandise, and its disregard for their needs seemingly spills over to buyers who purchase the fish on a whim and neglect them afterward, as evidenced by these “product reviews” on the company’s website.
PETA’s investigations revealed that betta fish are individually confined to tiny bags that contain hardly enough water to keep their bodies fully submerged and that are stuffed into boxes for transport. Many fish die before and during shipment to retailers, which can take days. At the stores, they’re placed in tiny plastic cups, which are sometimes haphazardly piled on top of one another, even though Petco acknowledges on its website that the fish breathe by swimming to the surface. The way these fish are sold leads people to believe that they should be denied companionship, even though female bettas will live together happily and males peacefully coexist with other species of fish.
Tell Petco that these animals aren’t merchandise and demand that the company end sales of betta fish immediately.