PETCO to carry 30% fewer ferrets. It's not completely what I'd like (which is for pet stores to STOP carrying ferrets) but it's better. The shelters are being flooded with rescue ferrets and in the last year, Petco just kept flooding the market with cute little fuzzies. Many of the stores sell to just anyone, and those babies were ending up in shelters in alarming numbers. Sometimes as little as 2 months after being purchased!
This Reuters article says they will be carrying 30% fewer ferrets: PETCO to stock 30% fewer ferrets; PETA claims victory.
I'm not too thrilled with PETA since I discovered that one of their basic goals isÂ to have NO animals as pets at all. Maybe it was just a faction of the group, but the "let all the mink loose to slowly starve to save them from a quick death" technique leaves something to be desired. They've done that with ferrets, too, who really can't survive in the wild. Mink at least are wild and not domesticated.
At any rate, the alledged reason for the change was:
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) contended the change was prompted by its probe, which "uncovered abuse and neglect of birds and animals" at one of Petco's suppliers.
The supplier they're referring to is Rainbow Exotics. They did an undercover video of that supplier mistreating animals. PETCO has used Rainbow Exotics as a supplier (not necessarily of ferrets) at some of their stores but stopped after the PETA video.
I know of several local PETCOs who were using Rainbow Exotics for their ferrets. Some of us think the ADV positive ferrets were exposed at their facility. They would pick up ferrets from other suppliers like Marshall Farms and Path Valley, and then transport and sell them to various PETCO stores. It was easier for the stores to purchase their animals from one supplier, especially since he'd drive there.
We had a rash of baby ferrets testing positive for exposure to ADV (Aleutian's Disease Virus) here in the Pittsburgh area a while ago. We tracked it down to a couple stores, and when we talked to them, it turned out they were using this supplier (who already had a bad reputation with the ferret community).
Those PETCOs didn't stop using that supplier because of ADV, though. They stopped because the baby ferrets were arriving with fleas, ear mites and sick -- all of which cost them money. They had to have a vet treat them and keep them in their sick room until they were healthy. By then, "that 8 week old baby kit" look had passed, and they were harder to sell. This was not just because they were older, but because the ferrets weren't being handled much (since they were in a back room) and had become very nippy. Since they were a little older, they bit pretty darned hard, too.
It's good that they're selling fewer ferrets, but PETCO says it wasn't because of PETA's video, it was for economic reasons. The article reported:
Whalen said the plan was actually based on the results of a market test begun in November 2007, and is partly the result of having more sophisticated customer-tracking systems.
"As we looked at the results over the last three to four months, we decided to extend the program across all stores over the coming months," he said.
Petco is still laying out detailed plans, and will complete the change "probably sometime this summer," Whalen added.
However, the article also reported that some stores might be carrying more ferrets:
A very small number among Petco's 850 U.S. stores, however, may carry more pets, Whalen said. What products take over space previously devoted to pets will depend on the store, he added.
I sure hope none of those are in the Pittsburgh area! I've had a big increase in people looking to adopt a ferret since PETCO hasn't always had ferrets. This can only be a good thing, in my opinion. It's more work for me, but it gives us a chance to educate people and weed out impulse buys, students living in dorms (where ferrets are not allowed), and families with very small children. [Note: I do adopt out to families with children if the parents are well-educated about ferrets and how they play.]
Later in the article, though, the news that is a little less good:
For example, PETA said, rabbits were neutered using a dull razor; live hamsters, rats and mice were dumped in trash cans; and animals were thrown to the floor in attempts to kill them.
In response, Petco suspended Rainbow, conducted its own surprise inspection, and Rainbow has completed improvements to its facilities, Whalen said.
"Based on their performance over the last month and their continued interest in working with us to improve protocols, we reinstated them as a supplier," he added.
I just hope that PETCO has decided to use other ways to get ferrets.