Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Undercover Investigation Uncovers Horrors at PetSmart Supplier's Breeding Mill

Video footage obtained in a new PETA undercover investigation reveals horrific nightmare conditions for small animals and birds bred and brokered by a major supplier to PetSmart. (PETA.org 2006-2007)

In addition to the ever-present misery caused by extremely crowded cages, filthy conditions, a lack of basic enrichment, an often inadequate food and water supply, and excessive noise, PETA's investigation of a massive breeding mill and one of PetSmart's main animal suppliers, Rainbow World Exotics in Hamilton, Texas, also revealed that live animals were thrown into the trash, were deprived of desperately needed veterinary care, were suffering and dying alone in their cages, and were cannibalizing each other; that rabbits underwent crude neuter surgeries at the hands of a layperson in a filthy, dark room; and more.

Unsuspecting PetSmart customers have reported buying unsocialized, sick, and injured animals, including guinea pigs with eye and upper respiratory infections, hamsters with deadly diseases, sick and dying betta fish, and suffering birds. As PETA's investigator documented at this breeding mill, overcrowding, lack of veterinary care, and lack of socialization are the norm, not the exception, for the tens of thousands of animals at Rainbow.

PetSmart's trade in live animals supports this mass-breeding industry that is just as cruel as—and even less regulated than—the puppy mill industry. It results in abysmal treatment of tiny, vulnerable beings, and it ultimately leads to their overpopulation, homelessness, neglect, and suffering.

  •   Rabbits bound for PetSmart underwent neuter surgeries at the ungloved, unsanitized hands of an employee (who was not a veterinarian) in a dank and dirty room with an often-contaminated, dull straight razor. PETA's investigator witnessed an improperly anesthetized rabbit kick and fight during surgery. The employee "prepped" rabbits' scrotums with Purell Hand Sanitizer and wiped blood off fresh, open incisions with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, which was deemed "completely inappropriate and dangerous" by a veterinary expert who reviewed footage of the procedure.

  •  Hamsters and other small animals often escaped unsafe enclosures. PETA's investigator filmed a supervisor "catching" a loose hamster by stepping on the tiny animal with his heavy boot and pinning the animal to the ground. The supervisor then "squished" the hamster with his hand and threw the animal—who may have still been alive—into the trash. During the course of her employment, PETA's investigator rescued five hamsters who had been thrown away like garbage.

  •   Live animals including rats, mice, and hamsters were routinely dumped into trash barrels while employees were emptying dirty bedding. Some employees purposely tossed live animals straight into the trash, sometimes from as far as 8 feet away, and other employees forcefully threw small animals on the cement floor in an attempt to kill them. PETA's investigator was told that employees sometimes threw live animals away if they didn't want to have to bother figuring out to which cage they should return the loose animals.

  •   Young parrots and cockatoos in the breeding mill's bird "nursery" were deprived of adequate veterinary care even when they were severely ill or injured. The investigator found a young cockatoo in the trash, documented a huddled-together group of baby conures with foot injuries, and watched a juvenile Goffin's cockatoo waste away and die after a long, undiagnosed and untreated illness.

  •   Many animals were denied veterinary care, including ferrets with rectal prolapses, a guinea pig with a broken hip, hamsters with potentially deadly wet tail, and animals injured in fights with cagemates. In fact, in her more than two months of employment, PETA's investigator never saw a veterinarian visit the facility!

  •   To find out the sex of young birds, an employee obtained blood for DNA testing by clipping the birds' nails over and over until the birds screamed, an indicator that the employee had reached the sensitive quick, which caused pain and bleeding. This archaic, cruel method is no longer used by veterinarians to collect routine blood samples from birds, especially not when the birds are young and still learning to use their feet.

PetSmart Store Leaves Lizards to Rot in Back Room

December 21, 2011 PETA

According to a whistleblower, two bearded dragons languished in the back room of a Chicago-area PetSmart store for six months, apparently suffering from improperly treated eye infections that spread to their jaws and caused their faces to rot away.

After pressure from PETA, the store's manager finally took the bearded dragons to a veterinarian who put them out of their misery, but untold numbers of other animals are likely languishing in PetSmart stores and its suppliers' warehouses across the country. PETA's undercover investigations have shown time after time that this kind of cruelty is business as usual for PetSmart and its suppliers.

  • PETA revealed horrors at Rainbow World Exotics, one of PetSmart's main animal suppliers, including throwing live animals into the trash, depriving animals of desperately needed veterinary care, and leaving them to cannibalize each other, suffer, and die alone in their cages.
  • At Sun Pet, another PetSmart supplier, an employee—who has since been fired—placed hamsters in a bag and bashed it against a table in an attempt to kill them.
  • Animals at the now-defunct U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., which supplied exotic animals to PetSmart, were crammed into severely crowded and filthy containers, including soda bottles and milk jugs, litter pans, cattle-feeding troughs, and barren wire cages. Hundreds of animals were denied basic necessities, such as food, water, and veterinary care.
  • And PETA's undercover investigation of a PetSmart  store Manchester, Connecticut, documented that more than 100 animals—including hamsters, rats, lizards, chinchillas, and birds—were deprived of adequate veterinary care and just left to die slowly, hidden from customers' sight. PetSmart boasted that this store had an "outstanding pet care team" and an "exceptional pet care record." Pathetic.

Comment: Take a strong stand against animal cruelty and help change our culture to one where animals are valued for themselves alone. We cannot tolerate this anymore.  Dismantle the systemic oppression and abuses that exist toward all creatures. Rise up, people!

Read more: Investigating Petco's Suppliers and Operations; animals left to die in flood; 2016 animals frozen alive, crudely gassed at Holmes Farm, supplier to Petco & Petsmart

PetSmart's Big Suffering for Small Animals; Global Exotic Breeders hell, cruelty charges approved; 2016 PETA exposé of Reptiles by Mack

Akron Petland closes after worker drowns rabbits; Robinson Petland, PA, under scrutiny