Video: Filth, Suffering, and Death for Betta Fish at Petco

PETA Urges Retailer to End Betta Fish Sales in Light of New Findings at 100 Locations

For Immediate Release:
May 21, 2019

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

San Diego

As part of its nationwide campaign urging San Diego-based Petco to end its notoriously inhumane sales of betta fish, PETA is releasing a new video exposé revealing that listless, sick, and dead bettas were found floating in tiny, barren plastic containers with low water levels at Petco stores across the country. In response to the findings, PETA’s president has fired off an urgent letter to Petco’s CEO today calling for an immediate end to the chain’s betta fish sales.

PETA eyewitnesses visited more than 100 Petco locations, uncovering rampant, systemic neglect of these vulnerable fish. A betta fish at a North Carolina store had been sick for months and was simply offered for sale at a discounted price rather than being provided with the care that he needed. Staffers at stores in Indiana and Ohio admitted that the long shipment process is so stressful for the fish that many get sick or die shortly after arrival, employees at stores in Virginia expressed concern about Petco’s practice of warehousing them in cramped cups, and an employee in Ohio remarked that a betta who was dying from a treatable illness had likely been neglected by other staffers. At numerous stores, the water in many of the containers that the fish were swimming in was full of old food, feces, and algae.

“Betta fish are complex, vulnerable little animals who are being left to languish in filthy water and denied care for sickness, to the horror of decent Petco staff and customers,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA’s disturbing findings have revealed widespread suffering at Petco stores across the country, and the company needs to end betta fish sales immediately.”

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 betta fish are often starved for days during transport to stores and that many die in transit. Scores of Petco customers have reported finding dead, sick, and injured bettas floating in filthy water on the store’s shelves.

Broadcast-quality video footage from PETA’s exposé is available here. For more information, please visit

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.