How many times have you walked past a pet shop and seen a sick or distressed animal for sale, or an animal who looks too young to be away from its mother, or an animal without access to food and water? What you have witnessed is cruelty.
Animal abuse and pet shops are two sides to the same coin. This is because pet shops are businesses and making money will always take precedence over the well being of the animals in their care.
Employees are taught to prey on impulse buyers, and their lack of experience and information. The staff very rarely have the necessary training to properly advice people on their purchases, and information such as ‘expected on going costs, life expectancy, and daily care of the animal’ are viewed as a possible deterrent for the consumer who has fallen in love with the cute puppy.Animals sold from pet shops are taken home by people who may or may not know how to provide them with the appropriate care. The puppy or kitten has had a questionable history and may or may not adjust to its new life. Even if the owners know how to ‘feed and walk’ a dog, they are probably not prepared for the needs of the specific breed – that puppy may grow into a large size dog.
The trend is usually that the person will continue to look after their pet until things get out of hand, or the impulsive nature of their purchase becomes inconvenient and impractical. This may be work related, due to rental situations, an allergic family member, problems with pre-existing pets, under-estimated costs associated with their care, or behavioural problems. Or the kitten or puppy has grown into a juvenile and has reached sexual maturity or at worst, fallen pregnant.
Pet shops (like all businesses) want to increase their profit margins. So desexing the animal prior to sale is an unnecessary expense. They may even tell the customer that they will buy back any off-spring. But characteristic of each breeding season, pet shops are full like any other ‘facility’.
So not only are 60 000 plus animals being killed each year in NSW pounds, but a self-regulated industry primarily concerned with making profits, are selling un-desexed animals to an unaware and often impulsive consumer. Spare a thought for the shelter worker whose job it is to kill unwanted pets, and then see how just utterly repulsive this scenario is.
Here are just some reasons why you should not buy animals from pet shops:
1. Pet shops actively encourage impulsive behaviour in customers. The following excerpt has been taken from the Entrepreneur Business Centre: ‘Pet Shop Business Start Up Guide’.
“The scenario is simple: Someone will walk by, fall in love with an animal and buy it. These sorts of impulse sales can add dramatically to your profits. First-time browsers in a pet shop will not necessarily jump at the thought of spending $50 to $500 to bring a dog home… However, if your shop is accessible and your sales and service ability is convincing, it will not be long before you convert walk-in traffic into buying customers.”
2. To avoid losing potential customers by ‘burdening’ them with the expected costs and responsibilities of animal ownership, pet shops rarely provide people with care information.
3. Animals are sold to anyone with money. ID is rarely sighted, people are not interviewed and there are innumerable accounts of animals being sold to minors.
4. Animals are housed 24hrs a day in tiny display cages. During the day they are surrounded by bright lights, noise and excited shoppers; at night they are alone and unsupervised. This seriously compromises their welfare.
5. Animals sold from pet shops are not desexed.
6. The animals sold in NSW pet shops are sourced cheaply from ‘puppy farms’ or backyard breeders, where the parents are housed and bred in appalling conditions at minimal cost. These animals will never be walked, cuddled or played with, and they will never know the comforts of a home. As soon as they become sick or stop producing litters they are discarded as they are useless to the breeder. Pets shops are simply the public face of puppy farms.
7. If an animal becomes sick while in the care of the pet shop it is common practice to not seek vet treatment. Animals are either left to die, taken to a pound or sold at a discounted rate. All this to avoid the business incurring additional costs. An ex-pet shop employee recalls: I worked in a pet shop as I thought it would be a nice job as I have always loved animals. I became totally disillusioned with the pet industry as I realised it was purely a profit driven industry. After the shop closed one Saturday afternoon there were (4 or 5) kittens that had got cat flu. They looked a little sickly and from memory they had sticky eyes.
Rather than taking them to the vet the cheaper and easier method of disposal was decided upon by the store manager. My manager put the kittens in a cardboard box with a rag with chloroform on it and closed the lid tightly. I stood there quite horrified not really knowing at the time what was going on as it all happened rather quickly. All I could hear was a whole lot of jumping and scratching around in the box-sounds of the kittens desperately trying to get out of there. After a minute or so it was quiet. To check they had all died I distinctly remember her picking up the box and shaking it to check there was no more movement.
This manager had no regard for the animals in the pet shop… they were treated merely as goods to sell in order make more profits for this major chain pet shop.
We are committed to campaigning to ban the sale of animals in pet shops. This will not only end this exploitation, but will also stop the abuse which animals suffer at the hands of puppy farmers and backyard breeders.