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Many big chain pet stores such as Petco and Petsmart in the US and even Pets at Home in the UK buy their animals from extremely unreliable sources, such as Rodent Mills, these sell Hamsters, Rats, Rabbits, Mice and there are even Mills for bigger animals such as Puppies and Kittens. These are horrible factory- farm type places where the animals are shoved into tiny tubs and trays and forced to reproduce.
This takes place in the factory- farms, with even worse conditions in the reptile breeding- trade (for feeder animals such as Rats, Hamsters, Mice and even small Guinea Pigs and Rabbits). In these conditions with Rats for example, five or more females are crammed together with one male, usually in a 6 by 11 shallow bin or trey. The male will usually be kept with them for up to a week to insure all the females have been impregnated, before they are switched to the next group.
When the female is pregnant, they are moved into a “nursery cage” which can be even smaller then the regular ones, either alone or with other pregnant females and females with litters. The Rats will be given little to no extra food even when they are nursing, and litters will grow up together, often causing fights to break out. There is a very poor water system, made of plastic pipes, and the food is put on top of a mesh- like cover over the bins. Any small animal that cannot reach the top of the container will very likely starve to death.
The animals are inbred so many times that litters may face serious abnormalities and deformities, and with every rodent housed so close together sickness spreads quickly. There is either no substrate, or a very thin lining of cheap wood pellets (like cat litter) lining the floor of the bin. This will do very little to absorb urine or have any odour control, and with all the urine and faeces the ammonia levels will rise very quickly.
As well as the terrible conditions, there is no stimulation for the capable minds of the animals, and they will age and die quickly, sometimes even re-absorbing litters.
So please, if you don’t know where your Pet Stores get their animals, don’t buy them! Instead support the small individually owned shops or go to a Rescue and adopt an animal, even going to the “Adopt” section of your pet store. They will still love you just as much, and no one should encourage this terrible trade.
Thank you for supporting rodents,
Maya xxx

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