‘I Am Not a Decoration,’ Pleads Betta Fish on Ad Now up Near Petco

PETA Calls For End to Chain's Irresponsible Fish Sales

For Immediate Release:
May 17, 2019

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Tampa, Fla. – As part of its national campaign urging Petco to stop selling betta fish, PETA has placed a billboard just down the street from the pet store that shows a fish staring out sadly from inside a stark fishbowl alongside the words “I Am Not a Decoration. Betta Fish Suffer in Tiny Bowls.”

“Petco tosses out dead bettas like trash and orders new fish to replace them in an endless cycle of suffering and death,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on the chain to stop profiting from the misery of these vulnerable little animals.”

Betta fish sold in the U.S. come primarily from breeding farms in southeast Asia, and they’re often starved for several days during the transport process. Many die before and during shipment to retailers, which can take days. Although betta fish in nature live in the shallow water of rice paddies, ponds, or slow-moving streams, Petco sells these animals in small plastic cups with just a couple of inches of water, marketing them as “low-maintenance” and office decorations. Not only are the bettas Petco sells often condemned to spend their lives in a bowl or vase not much larger than a coffee cup after they’re purchased, scores of Petco customers have also reported finding dead and sick fish floating in filthy water in containers on the store’s shelves.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human supremacist worldview. The group notes that Rite Aid and Walgreens have confirmed that they’ll no longer sell Teddy Tanks—stuffed animals that have cramped, barren fish tanks in the middle—and that Kimpton Hotels recently ended its “rent-a-fish” program.

The ad is located at 4650 W. Kennedy Blvd., less than 500 feet from Petco.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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