Many vegetarians and vegans begin their journey into veggie land, in an effort to stop contributing to the animal cruelty perpetuated by factory farms and the food industry. As their commitment grows, they may find themselves avoiding leather, fur, and other animal products as well.
But what about pet animals? Is it OK to buy pets from suppliers such as PETCO and PetSmart? Well, it depends.
- When you buy a pet, you are rescuing an animal, and that particular animal is lucky indeed to find its way to your loving home.
- On the other hand, you perpetuate and condone animal trade, an industry rife with incidents of animal cruelty and abuse.
That's what's been happening down at the Sun Pet warehouse on 3765 Zip Industrial Blvd SE. Sun Pet LTD supplies Atlanta pet stores PETCO and PetSmart with animals to sell.
Following an alert from PETA, the Georgia Dept of Labor investigated the Sun Pet facility and found multiple abuses. These abuses included
- loose rodents,
- dead animals in enclosures with live ones,
- food thrown into cages and on top of bedding,
- rusty cages with sharp, dangerous edges, and
- live rats climbing out of a trash can.
Eighteen days after the state's inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-also prompted by a complaint from PETA-inspected Sun Pet and found the same jagged, rusty surfaces on the facility's chinchilla cages as well as severe crowding, inadequate lighting, accumulations of trash and rodent droppings, and rotting animal carcasses.
They discovered that Sun Pet continued buying animals from unlicensed vendors and selling them to pet stores such as PETCO and PetSmart, even though they had been warned to stop in Feb 2009. Due to multiple infractions of the Georgia Animal Protection Act, the Georgia Dept. of Labor fined Sun Pet and put them on a two-year probation.
"The revolting and cruel conditions uncovered during both state and federal inspections show that Sun Pet's staff lacks training and decency," says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "People can help stop cruelty to animals in the pet trade by never buying an animal-whether from PETCO, PetSmart, or a local breeder."
Source: August 12 PETA press release
Click here to see footage from PETA's 2009/10 undercover investigation of Sun Pet. (Caution - Contains disturbing scenes of animal cruelty. View at your discretion)