While many dog and cat lovers know the terrible and inhumane conditions of puppy mills, most don’t know that guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits can also be victims of horrible living conditions before ending up on a store shelf.
PETA was undercover working at Holmes Farm, an animal mill in Pennsylvania that supplies small animals and rodents to hundreds of pet stores, including Petco and PetSmart. The undercover agent exposed the conditions these animals lived in and many cannot stomach their findings.
The animal supplier provides hamsters, rabbits, gerbils, chinchillas, ferrets, and other small animals to pet stores across the eastern United States. A PETA employee went undercover for three months and allegedly witnessed thousands of animals confined to plastic storage bins or stacked in shelving units.
Disturbingly, the animals appear to have been crudely gassed in plastic bins or frozen alive in plastic bags when they were no longer wanted. Injured or sick animals also appear to not have been given any veterinarian care and were left to die. Cats also were filmed roaming freely in the warehouse, frightening the rodents and sometimes feeding on them.
Many of the animals died from dehydration because they weren’t given water. Based on PETA’s evidence, a team of U.S. Department of Agriculture officials descended on Holmes Farm, which is now under federal investigation.
PetSmart has reached out to the USDA to learn about its findings and plans on taking “swift and appropriate action” should they find that their standards have not been met. Petco has announced it has dropped the supplier, stating that it does not meet Petco’s “animal care standards”.
Warning: the video is graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers.