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Betta fish bred for pet stores endure appalling neglect right from the start. PETA's investigations of the betta fish industry have revealed that the animals are confined to tiny plastic bags with barely enough water to cover their bodies. Frantic fish circle and turn as they struggle to stay underwater. They're piled into boxes and then stacked like pallets in massive wholesale warehouses. When stores, including PetSmart and Petco, buy them, they're often starved for days as they're shipped like cargo all over the country. Many fish are dead on arrival.
Once at the stores, they're dumped into plastic cups with no enrichment and nowhere to hide to feel protected and often in dirty, murky water. The minuscule containers are stacked on top of each other, and PETA eyewitnesses have spotted numerous sick or dead fish on store shelves who went unnoticed.
Fish—like all animals—deserve better. These intelligent individuals can recognize human faces and have been said to learn from their guardians how to chase a fingertip through the aquarium, swim through a hoop, or push a ball into a goal. They can complete multiple tasks at the same time, a trait once thought to be exclusive to humans. Fish have excellent long-term memories, use tools, communicate with each other, and demonstrate cooperation and reconciliation. Male bettas are devoted fathers who build bubble nests for their young with their mouths and fiercely protect their babies from predators. These fish experience complex emotions and, of course, can feel pain.
When you shop at Petco, you help fund its abuse of betta fish. Sign PETA's pledge to buy your companion animal supplies elsewhere until Petco changes.