A guinea pig with brown fur.

Victory! Allentown, PA Bans the Sale of Guinea Pigs



In March, Allentown, Pennsylvania became the latest city to ban the sale of guinea pigs in pet stores.

The Allentown City Council voted unanimously to ban the retail sale of guinea pigs on March 20 thanks to the tireless advocacy of Animal Defenders Greater Lehigh Valley with support from World Animal Protection.

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Guinea Pigs Sold in Pet Stores Come from Cruel Mills  

Guinea pigs, like all animals sold in pet stores, come from cruel mills where animals are kept in stressful, crowded, and unsanitary conditions, and ill and injured animals receive little to no veterinary care.

For example, at one notorious small mammal mill, Holmes Farm, US Department of Agriculture inspectors found sick animals with skin conditions, diarrhea, and eye abnormalities, cannibalized hamsters, animals exhibiting abnormal stereotypic behavior, dead animals kept in cages with live animals, and filthy conditions, including water bottles with algae growing inside them.

Ban on Betta Fish Sales Almost Passes

The Allentown City Council also considered banning the retail sale of betta fishes, one of the most abused species of fish in the pet industry. Pet stores like PetSmart and Petco keep betta fishes in tiny plastic containers, often stacked ten fish high. These containers are too small and lack enrichment, filtration, and temperature control. Many betta fishes die before they even leave the store shelf.

Unfortunately, the amendment to include betta fish failed by a single vote. But considering this was likely the first time a city council has entertained the idea of banning fish sales, it’s still a significant step forward!

We are grateful to Councilmember Ce-Ce Gerlach and Councilmember Ed Zucal for sponsoring the ban on guinea pig sales as well as Councilmember Gerlach’s words of support for banning betta fish sales.

Ban the Retail Sale of Animals in Your Community 

No animal belongs on a pet store shelf. We’re not stopping until no more animals are sold in pet stores. Join us by advocating for a retail pet sales ban in your community.

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