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Old 02-09-2012, 07:21 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Australia!
Promoting better pet store conditions - ideas?

Ideally, IMO, pet stores wouldn't be selling these fish at all. Or any animal, for that matter, without some sort of state-sanctioned certificate in animal care for each particular species and regular animal welfare inspections...

Anyway, here in reality-land, pet stores do sell pets and nobody regulates them. Many pet stores treat their bettas very badly, and also encourage bad betta treatment by selling very tiny (often cold water) containers, justified by the 'mud puddle myth'.

So what can be done about it?

Have any of you successfully helped to change the way a store kept its bettas? If so, how?

What's the best approach to this, in your opinion?
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:52 PM   #2 
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I would say contacting head office if the store is part of a franchise, or the owner if it isn't, is a good first step. A phone call, a well-written letter or an in-person meeting are the three best options.

Cited evidence should be used to back up any arguments, not just anecdotal stories. We know bettas originate in Thailand, which makes them a tropical fish. That is a fact, no matter how many people might try to suggest otherwise.

You could provide suggestions as to more appropriate housing options such as barracks, which can be kept heated and filtered. Appeal to the bottom line. A well-presented display with healthy fish is going to be much more attractive to customers than a bunch of fish in filthy cups.

A petition (not an online one) signed by actual people is another way to raise awareness. Many people do not deliberately neglect their bettas. It is a simple matter of ignorance. Approaching a store and asking if they would allow you to provide accurate care sheets with the purchase of each betta is another way to stamp out misinformation.

If you have a lot of sway at a particular store or are a loyal, longtime customer, you may inform the owner or manager that you will be boycotting their store until conditions improve.

Likewise, if conditions are really bad, you could contact the local paper and see if they want to do a piece about the pet store.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:22 PM   #3 
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Yeah, we went into our local Petco and man asked us what size our tank was. We told him 1gal, but about to move into a 5gal (very,very,very,very soon). Well... The man told us that !!1gal!! was almost too big for a betta. He told us that they need small tanks and are happy in the size of the cup they come in. Dumb Petco people. I promptly gave him a 20 min lecture on betta care. I did notice that he did not offer to groom my dog, who was with me. Grrr.

What I would do is lecture the people and get them to become aware of betta fish. Call the franchise and talk to the manager. Take pictures of bettas in their store (or show them to them) and explain what could have been done to sell these betta fish. Tempt them with the 'the livlier they look, the more likely they are to be bought' idea. Most store owners will go for the money idea. But stress proper and and tanks that are 2.5 gal or MORE not stupid little 1 gal one.

Like I said, dumb pet store people
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:10 PM   #4 
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Those are some good, solid ideas. Thanks for posting them!

I really like LBF's idea:
Approaching a store and asking if they would allow you to provide accurate care sheets with the purchase of each betta is another way to stamp out misinformation.
That's a really good call, imo.

This might be a bit silly? I don't know.. I was thinking of a kind of positive-reinforcement kind of thing.

Like, if the betta breeder's associations and clubs, etc, in an area got together and chipped in for a "Best Betta Practises" certificate (earned by keeping bettas in humane conditions - clean water and roomier containers - as well as giving sound advice on heating, food, etc) to be awarded annually to a store in their district -- maybe on a state level? City by city? idk.

But getting lots of positive attention and a nice framed award in return for kinder point-of-sale treatment and educating their staff MIGHT encourage stores to improve a bit.

If a particular store is listed as having recieved this award, and it's posted on the various betta forums, it's pretty decent advertising. I'd sure be more inclined to buy supplies and maybe even stock from a shop approved by the local betta clubs.

Not sure how that would even begin to be implemented, so perhaps it's just pipe dreaming. But I do think positive attention in some way might be another tactic in improving the lot of pet shop bettas.

Last edited by Aus; 02-09-2012 at 10:18 PM.
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