Video: Hermit Crabs Ripped From Their Protective Shells, Buried Alive for Summertime Trinkets

PETA Calls On Beachgoers to Shun Hermit Crab ‘Souvenirs’ After Exposé Shows Workers Cracking Open Crabs’ Shells, Throwing Live Crabs Away

For Immediate Release:
June 27, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla.

A PETA eyewitness video investigation has uncovered severe crowding and a massive death toll at Brelean Corporation, a private Orlando wholesale animal dealer that sells imported wild-caught hermit crabs to seaside souvenir stores and pet shops, including—according to the facility’s owner—PetSmart and Petco.

Photos and video reveal that hermit crabs were dumped into pens so crowded that many were buried beneath each other without access to food or water. Hundreds of dead crabs were found daily amid the living, and workers shoveled and discarded piles of both dead and live animals. Crabs often lose limbs when struggling to cope with severe stress, and pens were littered with their body parts. Workers cracked open their protective shells, exposing their delicate abdomens, to force them to move into other shells that had been painted, which can be toxic to crabs.

“Hermit crabs are wild animals with highly specialized needs, yet hundreds of thousands of them are taken from their seashore homes every year and sold as souvenirs or ‘pocket pets’ to totally unprepared tourists,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling on beachgoers not to purchase these animals—and urging everyone to stay away from Petco and PetSmart until they stop selling all live animals.”

Although they can live for 30 years in nature, in captivity hermit crabs often die shortly after being purchased because their basic needs, such as the opportunity to dig, high humidity and temperatures, socialization with other crabs, and dechlorinated tap and salt water, often go unmet.

This is the seventh exposé by PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—and the third in just five months to reveal the abusive and filthy conditions endured by animals at suppliers with ties to Petco and/or PetSmart.

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