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Old 03-08-2013, 09:45 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Angry To Save Or Not To Save: The Abuse Crisis

I have recently had a few people tell me never to rescue Bettas from large chains that abuse them such as Wal-Mart because it "encourages" them to continue stocking them and treat them unsafely and unfairly. Here is my opinion on the matter:

Bettas have been sold by such companies for decades under the same conditions. People have always been buying, and this is not about to change. One of the major issues is that the number of people who actually keep Bettas properly is not significant enough to make a dent as far as not encouraging the stores to continue their practices goes. The truth is that a vast majority of those fish will still be going to neglectful homes and will not live out their lifespan because of that. The stores will not change their fish keeping practices: people will always buy, and they will always be in it for the money (which regretfully means cutting down costs at the expense of fish welfare). Basically, it doesn't really matter if you save a fish from Wal-Mart (or wherever) or not; the problem will persist, and a fish that may have had a happy life will may without one.

It is my belief that the only way to get the ball rolling is by action, not inaction (such as simply not buying fish from one place or another). One of the largest contributors to abuse is ignorance; if people really knew as much about Bettas as we did, there would be little to no abuse at all. If parents realized that, although Bettas may seem like a "disposable" starter pet, they are intelligent fish that have specific and usually inexpensive needs, they would be more likely to teach their children these concepts and ensure that they get carried out. If people were more aware of the mistreatment of Bettas, they would be less likely to allow it.

In essence, the only way we can make a difference in this issue is by taking action to educate the public. This could mean volunteering our time at local pet shops to make sure the fish have clean water or treat fish that need to be treated, offering donations such as larger bowls to house fish that are for sale, posting checklists of Betta essentials on shelves that Bettas are for sale on, etc. If you see a Betta impropperly cared for, offer the owner some suggestions on how to make their pet's live better.

There are so many better ways to fix this problem than to pass up a fish who is truly in need. Please join this discussion and offer your personal opinion along with information or suggestions that can help get this movement started (even if it contradicts my opinion; the point of this discussion is to brainstorm solutions). What do you think!?
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:59 PM   #2 
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Location: Midwest
I completly agree this is better approach. If proper care sheets were available- The petshops could actually make more money by selling larger tanks. That could be the That is the What's in it for them when approaching them.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:02 PM   #3 
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Location: Winchester, KY
I agree 100% that the first step to ending betta abuse is education! It is what I am doing!
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:04 PM   #4 
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I agree completely! So many people want us to stop buying bettas or rescuing them because they believe it isn't helping. Does that mean people should stop paying tons of money to adopt kids that are abused? That wouldn't help anything either! I think people who are willing to spend the little money to help a poor innocent fish then do it! They will get a better life with someone who knows how to care for them then to sit on the shelf for the rest of their lives. I love rescuing. It makes me feel like I did a good thing :)
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:07 PM   #5 
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Sometimes I wish I could ask my local petstores if I could just work in the fish department just to clean the tanks. Haha I would love doing that. And cleaning the betta cups or putting them in larger cups and feeding them properly..I think petstores need to have smaller amounts of bettas and keep one in each tropical tank they have. Or even in a betta barrack. It would at least be warm and clean. Sorry for rambling :)
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:49 PM   #6 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Alberta, Canada
Interesting and important topic for discussion! Education is key, I agree. I try to educate people in a nice way about fish and animal care. For example, when I bought a heater at a pet store where I was told a few weeks earlier that bettas did not need heaters, I cheerfully said when checking out, "this is for my betta fish that I bought here recently. He's lovely and doing great. Experienced betta keepers have told me that bettas love to be warm so I'm getting him this heater." or, when I bought a 20 gal tank at the same store and the sales associate commented on how nice a tank it was, I said, "yes, isn't it? I'm going to divide it into 4 sections for betta fish. Each fish will get 5 gallons.". She commented that that s a lot for a betta, and I told her how much bettas love to swim around and explore the world, and how much more fun and interesting they were to watch in more water. I know it's just baby steps, but hopefully having short positive conversations like this are helpful in some way. Especially if I'm not the only one doing it.
Next time I'll see if I can chat with someone about water quality. The last betta I got I tested the water in the cup--green, dark purple, dark orange. (ie very bad for those not familiar with the API testing kit.) ugh.
In regards to saving them, I can see both sides. Personally I think that if an experienced betta keeper wants to save a sick betta, they should. I myself could not pass up a cellophane that was lying in the bottom of his cup... Especially after he gave me the look and then made a valiant little wiggle. It was like he was pleading with me to take him home. Sigh. I know that he wasn't really thinking that, but he did look miserable and I was pretty sure no one was going to buy him among all the other, more colorful, healthy ones. I'm a noobie so I didn't want to tackle something over my head in terms of disease, but it looked to be just a case of bad cold water and maybe a swim bladder issue. Anyway, he is now swimming normally and is very happy and active and wiggles and begs for food whenever he sees me.
Did I make things worse for other fish by buying this fish? Or the other fish I've bought from box stores? Should I just get fish from breeders? Should no one keep fish? So many ethical delimas. Interested to see what others say. I think everyone here wants to do the right thing, it's just he'd to know what the right thing is sometimes!
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abuse, betta, care, rescue, stores

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