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!