Among the "toys" you can buy at Learning Express, the largest educational toy retailer in the United States, are live African dwarf frogs encased in 4-square-inch plastic cubes.
Learning Express awarded Wild Creations, the manufacturer of the "EcoAquarium," a "Most Innovative New Toy" award. But Wild Creations would win no awards from PETA, whose undercover investigation of the company found "rampant neglect and mishandling of these delicate animals and total disregard for their needs, welfare, and lives."
Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor John Sanbonmatsu, who led a protest of Boston-area Learning Express stores, said of the frogs, "entombing them inside tiny plastic prisons is to condemn them to a lifetime of slow torture."
The frogs can carry disease as well -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 85 people had been infected with Salmonella Typhimurium due to their contact with water frogs, including African dwarf frogs. Nearly 80 percent of those infected were children under the age of 10.
Yet the EcoAquarium is included on the Learning Express "Twelve Toys of Christmas" list for the 2010 holiday season.
Target and several toy chains have listened to protestors and pulled the EcoAquarium along with other frog "toys" from their shelves. Please tell Learning Express to make an educated choice and do the same.
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