Following a disturbing exposé about PetSmart working conditions resulting in animal neglect and deaths, organizations and experts are urging PetSmart to change its policies.
As the letter notes, the stories described in the exposé are “not isolated incidents but instead reveal a broken system that leaves animals sold in PetSmart stores vulnerable to extreme suffering and neglect.”
Last month, a heart-breaking story in VICE revealed that poor working conditions under BC Partners, the private equity firm that owns PetSmart, are killing animals. Insufficient training, supplies, and equipment, management devaluing the lives of individual animals, and severe understaffing are putting both workers and animals in danger. The story sent waves through the animal protection movement, and dozens of organizations, veterinarians, animal care experts, and scientists signed a letter to BC Partners, PetSmart, and PetSmart Charities urging them to change their policies on animal sales and listen to workers.
Working with United for Respect, a labor rights group, PetSmart employees are asking BC Partners to meet with the PetSmart Workers Committee regarding their urgent concerns about conditions that are harmful to both workers and animals in their care. World Animal Protection echoes that call and is also urging BC Partners and PetSmart to take the first step to aligning its business practices with its values by phasing out the sale of reptiles and amphibians in its stores.
A Broken System That Needs Change
As the letter notes, the stories in VICE are “not isolated incidents but instead reveal a broken system that leaves animals sold in PetSmart stores vulnerable to extreme suffering and neglect.” Even before animals reach stores, the cycle of cruelty begins. Animals sold in stores are almost all sourced from cruel mills where animals are bred in high-volume without regard for their welfare. Animal sales also undermine the work that PetSmart Charities does on behalf of shelters and rescues because animal sales push even more animals into already overwhelmed shelters. Finally, many of the animals sold by PetSmart are wild animals like turtles and parakeets—contributing to the deadly and destructive wildlife trade.
The call for PetSmart to act swiftly to protect animals and workers is getting louder. The only question is whether it will listen. Read the full letter here.