Federal Complaint Challenges Petco’s ‘Humane’ Certification

For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2022

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

San Diego

PETA has submitted a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), alleging that Petco’s certification as a “humane” retailer by American Humane (AH)—despite the company’s and its suppliers’ documented history of treating animals inhumanely—amounts to false advertising. The complaint follows multiple PETA video exposés revealing that Petco suppliers have gassed animals—including in a cooler—and put live animals in freezers, and many Petco stores have had sick and dead fish floating in cramped containers. Animals have also been injured or killed at its grooming salons, and authorities in Colorado have hit 12 Petco stores with over 80 state law violations, including for denying animals, adequate heat and veterinary care.

PETA also points out numerous apparent conflicts of interest between Petco and AH, including that the retailer’s nonprofit organization—Petco Love— is a sponsor of AH’s dog competition and announced a $30,000 grant to AH just last month. In addition, AH Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Thomas Edling was previously Petco’s vice president of veterinary medicine, and AH board member Dr. J. Michael McFarland serves with Petco Love President Susanne Kogut at another nonprofit.

“Well-intentioned shoppers are getting duped into buying from Petco, which sells suffering animals and has sourced from suppliers that kill them in makeshift gas chambers and enabled cannibalism, among other horrors,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel for Animal Law Jared Goodman. “PETA is calling on the FTC to investigate before any other companies as callous as Petco receive this meaningless certification.”

AH asserts that all animals from certified “pet” providers receive the highest level of care, but its policy only requires that they adhere to minimum industry standards and does not even mandate that companies provide animals with sufficient space or enrichment in order to meet the animals’ behavioral needs.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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