PetSmart – The Facts
PETA's Campaign Against Rainbow Exotics
Updated February 11, 2008
PETA's letter to PetSmart (January 23, 2008)
Our Response (February 1, 2008)
Our Investigation of Rainbow Exotics
PETA launched a negative media campaign against Rainbow Exotics, one of our small animal suppliers, on January 21, 2008. A PETA representative who got a job at the facility shot video of animals and various aspects of the operations. We found some of the images disturbing.
We launched a full-scale investigation, including dispatching a team of PetSmart veterinarians and other technical experts to Rainbow’s facility unannounced. We also have carefully reviewed PETA’s video and allegations.
Here’s what we found:
- While we believe there are always opportunities for improvement in how pets are bred and raised by our pet suppliers, including Rainbow, we found no indication of animal cruelty or mistreatment at Rainbow’s facilities. We do not believe that PETA’s video accurately represents the entire situation.
- Rainbow’s employees care about the safety and well-being of the animals they raise.
- The PETA representative who recorded the images reportedly failed to raise any concerns of abuse or mistreatment to managers of the facility during her two-month employment.
- PETA’s troubling video segment of a Rainbow staff member neutering a rabbit showed some practices that were not in line with generally accepted procedures and that certainly did not meet our standards. We have revisited with Rainbow our expectations for staff training, sterilization and post-operative care. Rainbow has assured us it is committed to meeting these standards and we are holding them to this commitment.
- During the period in which the pictures were taken, Rainbow had an attending veterinarian. Since then, and weeks before PETA made its allegations known, Rainbow hired a licensed veterinarian full-time.
- In our investigation, we found only two areas of minor concern with respect to our space standards for the breeding and raising of small pets and birds. We felt some Guinea Pig and Rabbit habitats had grown slightly overcrowded. Rainbow has agreed to resolve this issue. (PETA publicized images of numerous pets in large wooden, cardboard and plastic containers. These are temporary containers used by Rainbow to consolidate pets for brief periods when they are being received at the facility or preparing to be separated and shipped out. They are not the habitats or the shipping containers for these pets and do not pose any risk to the pets.)
- PetSmart requires that our small animal pet suppliers’ facilities meet USDA requirements for animal care as well as our own high standards and that animal habitats are designed for cleanliness and safety. With few exceptions, animals’ cages were clean and the animals adequately fed and watered. We’re working with Rainbow to correct the minor issues we found.
PETA portrays Rainbow as being insensitive regarding sick animals or pets that may have died in its care. Unfortunately, even under the best circumstances, some animals get sick. And while we’re committed to treating sick pets, there are cases where that treatment is ultimately not successful. The loss of any life is upsetting, and while images of sick pets and death are always difficult to accept, sadly it’s inevitable in nature.
We identified certain areas where improvements will help better protect the health and safety of animals being bred as pets. Notably, these are in the areas of sanitation, bio-security and record keeping. We believe these improvements will make a good operation and our own practices even better.
Rainbow is a valued partner and we have no plans at this time to discontinue receiving pets and birds from them. However, as with all of our pet suppliers, we will continue to hold them to high standards and expectations and work closely with them to ensure these standards are met.
PetSmart remains committed to the exemplary treatment of pets, and we believe this is evident to customers who shop our stores.
If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Service line at (800) 738-1385, ext. 2518.