Tell Petco to Stop Selling Animals

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Help us stop Petco from treating animals like inanimate objects. Sentient beings aren’t merchandise like leashes, treats, or food, but the chain sells birds, reptiles, fish, and other small animals to anyone with a credit card.

Petco gets these animals from cruel breeders and distribution warehouses, and many are wild-caught. They can spend days in transit before being confined to tiny cages in stores, where they’re prevented from behaving naturally and even their basic needs aren’t met. 😠


Birds are complex and curious animals who can’t follow their instincts to fly or express other natural behavior when they’re caged in Petco stores or breeding facilities or kept in homes as “pets.” They aren’t domesticated—they’re exotic animals who need lots of space. (Some fly up to 30 miles a day in nature.) Many of those imprisoned at or sold by Petco show signs of extreme mental distress, like pulling out their own feathers, pacing, and even collapsing.


Reptiles are also complex individuals who need specialized care that isn’t provided by suppliers or many people who buy them. Up to 75% of captive reptiles die within the first year in a human home. 😧 Yet Petco sells them to people who don’t understand their specific needs for space, heat, humidity, and more. PETA undercover investigations and whistleblowers have found reptiles at Petco stores and other businesses being denied space, food, medical care, and other basic necessities.


Petco keeps betta fish in plastic cups stacked on top of one another, each with barely a couple of inches of water. A PETA video exposé of over 100 stores revealed dead and dying fish floating in cups of dirty water and suffering from untreated health conditions. Eyewitness footage from betta fish–breeding facilities in Thailand shows tens of thousands of fish confined to small, filthy bottles. These facilities ship bettas to stores like Petco to be sold, and many die before or during the exhausting trip.

Small Mammals

A PETA investigation into then Petco supplier Holmes Farm found that workers left small live mammals in bins with dead and rotting bodies, killed them in a freezer, and crudely gassed them in a feces-smeared cooler. A 2021 federal inspection report revealed that at another Petco supplier, Sun Pet Ltd., partially eaten dead hamsters were left in enclosures and gerbils were denied access to water. A previous PETA investigation even found that a Sun Pet worker had bashed live hamsters against a table.


Animals sold by Petco and other pet stores go through hell. Those who aren’t abducted from their natural habitats are captive-bred in facilities that abuse them. This abuse has been uncovered by many PETA investigations:

  • At Global Captive Breeders in California, workers neglected thousands of reptiles and rats and killed many of the animals.

  • At Holmes Farm, a Pennsylvania-based dealer, workers froze mice and gassed hamsters and other small animals to death.

  • At Rainbow World Exotics in Texas, workers were caught castrating rabbits and bleaching their wounds, stomping a hamster to death, and tossing live animals in the trash.

  • At Sun Pet, an Atlanta-based wholesale dealer, live hamsters were put in a bag and bashed to death.

  • At U.S. Global Exotics in Texas, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, turtles, and other exotic animals were confined to crowded, filthy enclosures.

So, how can you help animals suffering in the pet trade? The best thing you can do is avoid buying anything—even a bag of treats—from Petco or other any other pet store. Instead, buy from retailers that don’t sell animals, like, Target, and And if you have the resources to bring an animal into your home and offer them lifetime care, adopt! Don’t buy one from a breeder or a pet store. ❤️

Help us prevent animals from suffering at Petco and in homes as “pets” whose needs aren’t met.

Urge Petco to stop selling animals!


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