snake in cage

Dozens of Animal Protection and Conservation Organizations, Veterinarians, and Scientists Tell PetSmart to Do Better



Following a disturbing exposé about PetSmart working conditions resulting in animal neglect and deaths, organizations and experts are urging PetSmart to change its policies.

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.


Participating Organizations

logos of all the orgs that signed the letter to BC Partners and PetSmart

Animal Defenders International -- Christina Scaringe, General Counsel

Animal Justice -- Camille Labchuk, Executive Director, Animal Justice

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Avian Welfare Coalition

Born Free USA -- Angela Grimes, CEO

CATCA Environmental and Wildlife Society / International Aid For Animals Foundation -- Ericka Ceballos, CEO and Founder

Chicago Alliance for Animals

Colorado Reptile Humane Society -- Ann-Elizabeth (AE) Nash, PhD

DC Voters for Animals

Defend Them All Foundation -- Lindsey Zehel, Esq., LL.M., Executive Director

Endangered Species Coalition

Exotic Avian Sanctuary of Tennessee

Friends of Philip Fish Sanctuary

Foster Parrots, Ltd. & The New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary 

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Harvard Animal Law Society

International Wildlife Conservation Natural Resources Defense Council -- Zak Smith, Senior Attorney, Director

Northeast Avian Rescue

Save the Frogs -- Dr. Kerry Kriger, Ecologist and Founder & Executive Director

Vancouver Humane Society -- Amy Morris, Executive Director

Voice for Animals -- Tove Reece, Executive Director 

Voters for Animal Rights

Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Association (ARCAS), Guatemala --Colum Muccio, Development Director

Veterinarians, Scientists, and Other Experts

Dr. Alix Wilson, DVM, Medical Director, Center for Avian & Exotic Medicine

Jonathan Balcombe, PhD, biologist and best-selling author

Dr. Rosemary Collard, Assistant Professor, Geography Department, Simon Fraser University

Amy Fitzgerald, Professor of Criminology, Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology, University of Windsor

Dr. Ken Langelier, OBC DVM

Anthony Pilny, DVM, DABVP (Avian Certified)

Erin Robinson, Operations Manager, ASPCA

John Sorenson, Professor, Department of Sociology, Brock University

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