I think it all depends on you. There is a LFS around here that I refuse to shop at because they keep their Betta in (can you believe - smaller cups than PetSmart). I keep complaining about not having access to good plants for my new NPT in this area, I know they have what I need, but I dead out refuse to acknowledge the existence of such a nasty store. They also breed an obscene amount of small animals, and do not care properly for them either.
I work at a chain store, so for me it's hard to not take home chain store fish. I can not go into work on Saturdays (I only work one day a week), and overlook the sick fish or the ones who I know have been on the shelf for months. You do become attached to them, and want what's best for them. One little beautiful blue DT I fell in love with, and almost cried tears of joy when a woman came in, fell in love with him too, and listened to all my care advice and set him up a nice 5 g, with a heater and Omega One.
I don't mind caring for sick animals. I waited until I had gained a lot of knowledge before I took on my first rescue Betta. I am willing to spend the time, and money needed. I'm also ready to lose them if that is the way fate plays out. You have to be ready to spend money, fall in love with them and lose them if you plan on rescuing from bad care. That is true of any animal.
Thank you all for your responses! I have taken in quite a few rescues, and have rehomed some and lost some. How long the fish is with me isn't an issue (although of course the longer the better), it's more of trying to help a needy animal. I agree that even if some of us quit buying Bettas from chain stores that they will continue to stock them. That's where I get hung up the most on this issue. I also agree with those of you who say to support local stores that give good care, since that's how they keep their doors open and continue to provide good service and healthy fish. I personally love taking care of sick fish, and enjoy watching them get better when I am lucky enough to have caught the problem in time. However, I also want to do what it is the best interest of ALL Bettas, which sometimes means not buying them from the places that don't treat them well. I'm torn between making a difference for one fish by saving it's life, and trying to (very, very slowly) make things better for all fish by only supporting the places who care.
I don't think the big box fish sellers make much profit on the actual fish they sell. It's when you buy their food, supplies, tanks that they make money. I have no problem buying their fish, even sick ones, but if you don't want to support their biz then buy everything else online or from stores that don't sell live animals.
There is a store called Petco Unleashed where they sell only supplies and food, no live pets. I wish there was one near me!
Oh really? I didn't know that! I personally think all large chain stores should only be able to sell the supplies, and have the live animals sold at high quality local stores that are regulated (I know that will never happen, I just wish it would). I agree, the real money they make is on the equipment, which is why we never buy anything from Petco anymore, since here they have the worse conditions I've ever seen. That's just another reason why I feel conflicted, since a two dollar fish is nothing compared to what they make on the tanks, heaters, lights, filters, etc.
I've struggled with this one. I've seen the conditions at places like petsmart and petco, and walmart.. UGH. I had a betta as a child that I named "Rainbow Fish." My family and I didn't know anything about proper betta care, so we kept poor Rainbow Fish in a pint container on the mantle. I was pretty meticulous about caring for him, I gave him very frequent water changes, carried his little tank to my barbie house to be barbie's fish, and spent hours watching him. He lived for over 3 years. I still feel guilty about that pint tank.
I didn't get another betta until college, when I was in my local walmart, and they'd closed down their fish department (thankfully). I saw that there was one last betta, and he ironically looked EXACTLY like my old fish from when I was a kid. His water was super low. I'm pretty sure they'd forgotten about him, because he was ravenous when I got him home. I've had him for a little over a year now, his photo is in my betta album. His name is Puff, the Magic Betta.
I don't think the big name petstores are going to stop carrying bettas. People buy them for their kids like my parents did, and they're not expensive, so if they die in those awful cramped containers they can trash them and order more. I think it's kind to take a betta out of that situation. HOWEVER. The little local pet shop that takes care of their bettas can very easily go out of business. It's a lot harder to be the little guy, especially in this economy.
Here's my idea: If you decide you want to take in one of the bettas from the big pet store that is clearly suffering, do it. You will not be stopping them from ordering more bettas if you don't buy one from them. But if you do that, buy all your food and equipment from the local store. I think a store like that deserves business, and the equipment is more expensive than the fish by a large margin, so you would be helping the local store one way or the other.
I know how painful it is to see an animal in need. I understand why it's such a large debate, because if everybody buys from the pet shop to rescue, it supports the problem. I've just come to the realization that I can't walk away if I can do something to help.
I paid $40 to adopt my dog, Faustus, when I went to the shelter to volunteer and saw the horrifying conditions. I later forked over almost $500 to the vet for treatment and vaccines and neutering, he was malnourished and very sick. I guess I contributed to the problem with my $40. I hate that. But I adore my dog. He follows me everywhere, licks the tears from my face when I cry, lies by my side when I'm sick, and since I've had him my doctor decided that I am no longer in need of anti-depressant medication. So I don't regret what I did, because I made a difference in his life, and he's made a bigger one in mine.
I totally respect those who won't shop at petsmart/petco/walmart. I really do. I just wanted to share my point of view on the matter. I think we fish-lovers ought to fight for some animal rights for our scaley friends. They're so frequently disregarded, more people are upset over a starving puppy than a suffering fish. If we want to make an impact, we ought to work towards more regulation in the pet stores. I think that would be more effective than simply boycotting, and it would greatly reduce suffering. Just some food for thought!
I think you have a really good take on things. It is very difficult to watch them sit there in those cups filled with dirty water, and know that they probably won't get better any time soon if ever. And it's the same thing with any other animal, like the dog you adopted (and yes, I think they save us more than we save them!).
We have already spent quite a bit of money at their store (more than I care to admit...), so we are supporting them every chance we get. Also, I get what you're saying about boycotting, especially since most of the time nothing gets said about the reason people stop shopping in certain stores. I personally have sent Petco a long letter about what I've witnessed there along with pictures of Bettas I had gotten from them that were in terrible condition. That is something I should be doing more often, even though in reality it probably doesn't do much.
On the one hand, I want to quit buying from the chain stores completely, and getting my Bettas at the local store would make that possible. However, just because a Betta ended up in one of those chain stores doesn't mean it should be condemned to die there.
Hahaha I know it's super hard!!! But I think more can be done by raising awareness and fighting for the legal rights of animals then actually boycotting the fish sold at those places. Betta income is not much. I wouldn't feel guilty about buying one of those mistreated ones as long as you get your supplies from the local store, but I wouldn't feel guilty about buying from the local store either. The sad reality is that we can't save them all. And it's awful, because I know I want to! Good luck! Post pictures of the fish you get!
Yea, we definitely need to take a lot more action in this department. It's hard to know how to go about things, since not many people see chain pet stores the way we do, and just think of them as good places to buy animals. I mean I have protested, written letters, handed out leaflets, and many other things in support of veganism and ending animal cruelty of many types. But doing the same things with pet stores is a bit more complicated I think.
Haha, I don't even know if I'm getting a fish. :P This was more of a general question to see what other people thought, since I had been wondering about it. One of my issues when I rescue is that I feel like I can ONLY take home sick Betta, and not just one I think is pretty. Since I have an empty spot in my home, I should fill it with a fish that isn't likely to be purchased by someone else. At least, that's what goes through my head. Although I feel like that can be counterproductive, since I suspect that's one of the reasons I have been kind of losing interest in Betta fish lately.
It's up to you but no stores locally have good betta care so I end up rescuing every time. Every now and then I go on a rescue mission and get the sadest looking one I can find that dosent look like its gonna die in the next 5 minutes.
My favorite betta is actually one that I though would be dead before I got home. He is currently my oldest living betta :) (dude in siggy)
As someone who recently purchased a very sick betta from a chain store I guess I have no room to talk, but I had a hard time leaving him there so he came home with me.
I do have to wonder though, what would happen if the chain stores stared upping the prices of thier bettas and stopped ordering as many. I don't think I've ever paid more than $2 for a betta from a chain. My point is though the store will take better care of them because they'll take a bigger hit if the betta dies. Also if there aren't as many there than the store can focus and pay more attention to the ones they do have.
Another thing to people who don't take care of them at home they'll be less likely to buy a fish in the first place because who wants to spend $10 on something and have it die, or buy a replacement and have it die too. I personally wouldn't have a problem paying more for a fish I knew was healthy.