The For Profit Pet Industry

Pet industry

What we don't think about

why we should start thinking about it

what can be done

to protect them

Pet Store 

I used to work for a pet store. I was in the grooming salon for many years and during my time I spent a year helping on the sales floor where small animals, fish, birds, and reptiles were sold. We had so many people come in and impulse buy these beautiful creatures, cramming them into the cheapest set ups we sold. Setups that should never have been made or sold for them because they could never be adequate habitats. Staff was always told that if they wanted information about the animals they sold we had to do our own research or just let the customers buy whatever they wanted. If someone wanted to put a goldfish in a bowl we had to let them, many employees didn't know it was wrong or just stopped caring. I don't mean that as in they stopped caring about animals, they just stopped fighting the customers. When you spend 5 or 6 days a week explaining 20 times a day why a parrot cannot live in a hamster cage, getting a write up for denying a sale of 2 guinea pigs to someone with no cage and who is talking about feeding them to snakes, you give up. You love them all while they are there, but the job itself makes you powerless. It becomes draining, turns you into a zombie. Small pets would come in from the retail breeders sick or diseased. Shipped without food or water from states away. Peta uncovered footage from inside a reptile breeder once, so many people think it's fake, but we would see the ones who made it out, and if that was their best, tiny sick babies, of course that video was dead on. Towards the end of my time working there we lost several types of animals we offered for sale, we were told it was because they didn't allow wild caught babies to be sold anymore, but i'm not sure how true it was or if it was only a specific breed or a nevada law, I've still seen many of them sold at other stores regardless. For the most part the rest of the store was good, grooming salons are important for domestic pets like dogs and cats, as is having a place to get things for our companions. Many friends and employees I knew did care greatly for them, but we can't control where they go, to who, how they are cared for. They are sold as easily as pencils. It's a sad twist that people who care so much for them enter into that kind of job thinking they are doing their best for the animals when all it does is hurt them. Animal sales on any kind however should be stopped. Small animal pets should not exist, they are not domesticated, they do not cohabitate in our environments with us, confining them to undersized "bedrooms" of a mock habitat is a cruel way to make them live their entire lives for the sake of looking their direction and few times. Instead of them being allowed to eat naturally it spikes a demand for commercial made animal product diets like frozen mice, fish meal in fish foods, and meat or dairy in small animal foods or treats. I'd like to say I left because of what I'd seen, but I left to become a mother, shortly after I had time to confront what i'd spent 5 years working in, and it has made me sick every day since.


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