PETA Files Lawsuit Against Pet Product Supplier Over False Care Claims

Snakes Suffer and Perish Because Zoo Med Lies to Customers, Says PETA

For Immediate Release:
October 5, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Washington – PETA has filed a lawsuit against Zoo Med Laboratories, Inc.—a major global supplier of reptile products to PetSmart, Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers—over alleged violations of the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

PETA’s lawsuit alleges that Zoo Med lies to its customers, and because of that, snakes live and die in a state of suffering. According to herpetologists, snakes need not only enrichment but also enclosures that meet their specialized needs—ones that are longer than their bodies and in which they can engage in natural behavior, including stretching out, basking, burrowing, and exploring. But Zoo Med falsely advises customers that snakes require tanks “no shorter than half the length” of their body and that its small and almost barren tanks will allow snakes—some of whom will grow up to 10 feet in length—to thrive.

According to a peer-reviewed study, 75% of reptiles die within one year in the home. As one expert states, “It is not uncommon to see a snake [who] has not eaten in months, has mites, is emaciated, is septic [from a bacterial infection], has pneumonia and is immunocompromised by a viral infection.”

“Zoo Med markets so-called all-inclusive kits, and first-time snake buyers don’t realize—until it’s too late—that snakes slowly and painfully deteriorate in under-sized enclosures,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Litigation Caitlin Hawks. “Snakes need far more than a 20-inch fish tank to thrive, and PETA wants Zoo Med to stop lying to its customers about these animals’ highly complex needs.”

PETA is seeking an injunction to halt Zoo Med’s deceptive marketing and sales of inadequate snake enclosures, to inform all customers who have purchased Zoo Med’s snake enclosures that snakes require tanks that are at least as long as their entire bodies, and to provide corrective advertising that informs the public about snakes’ true needs.

The group—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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