- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


A Fish Rant

September 16th, 2006, 04:50 PM
(I realize that there is another thread for rants, so if someone wants to move it, that's cool with me. But this is a specific fish related rant, so I put it here.)

Please pardon me if I begin to ramble, but I am very upset, and I haven't really had much time to organize my thoughts.

Last night, my husband and I went to well-known department store (I don't know if I should say it's name, so I'll just say that it begins with 'W' and ends with '-Mart'). I bought Ellie's harness there years ago, but that's as far as I've ever been into their pet department. But, I've been thinking about upgrading Carter-Fish's tank, and since I was there, I thought, "What the heck?"
If I hadn't accidentally gone down the wrong aisle, I never would have seen the fish. I really thought people were exaggerating about the conditions in which they allow their fish to live. First, I saw the Betta bowls. There were about 30-40 of them, all stacked up. They were all filthy, and none of them had nearly enough water. Some of the bowls were so low that these poor fish couldn't be in an upright position without parts of their fins going out of the water. And they all looked so sick. There were at least five or so that I'm sure couldn't have made it through the night.
So, we started to look for someone to do something about it, when we passed by this huge wall of communal tanks. We didn't take the time to look into more than one or two, but there must have been 100 tanks. And each one was so overcrowded. In the few tanks we did look at, we saw four fish already dead, and about more that were dying right in front of us.
We went to the night manager and told him what we saw, and, of course, he assured us that it would be taken care of right away. But regardless of what this guy did last night, this was long-term neglect.
And I couldnít help but think that if it had been dogs or cats in a similar situation, there would be public outcry. An animal's cuteness shouldn't be a determining factor in it's treatment.
One last thing before I get off my soapbox- I've had my Betta, Carter-fish for just over a month now. When I come home in the afternoon, he swims over to say hello. When I'm late feeding him, he swims close to the top of the tank, like he's searching for food. He behaves differently when I come over with the small bowl (which means it's time for a tank-cleaning) than if I come over with the big bowl (which means it's time for a partial water-change). And, when I finish cleaning the tank, I have a tendency to put the thermometer where it's most convenient for me, instead of him. And, he'll literally spend the next few hours pushing it back to the place he wants it to be. I guess my point is, I know first-hand that these are not unintelligent animals. They have distinct personalities and can feel pain.
I guess, though, until people stop seeing them as being disposable, things wonít get much better.

Iím going to contact my local ASPCA and Iím not going to shop at this particular retailer again. And Iím going to urge my friends and family avoid them as well.

September 16th, 2006, 05:11 PM
Hi, make sure you send them a letter telling them why you will reccommend your family and friends Not go there any more. If you put it into writing there's a better chance that something will be done long-term. And they'll know exactly why they lost customers.

Good luck:fingerscr

September 20th, 2006, 12:26 AM
I think what youre really picking up on here is the
undervaluement of fish as life. Fish have not traditionally
within western society been seen as valuable beyond commercial
value, and because we still know relatively little of the social,
psychological, and various other aspects of fish life,
we judge them on a scale as being simple.
50 years ago we didnt think Baby humans felt pain,
now we know better, but we still think fish and animals
dont feel pain.
So, in a way, this belief that these creatures are "simple"
or "primitive" or "unfeeling" gives us a basis for their
poor treatment, kind of in the same way we used to treat
ethnic minorities or "primitive" peoples.
I really think its only a matter of time before we see an ideological
shift away from the belief that animals are "less intelligent" or
"unfeeling" or "incapable of emotion", but its happening very slowly,
as do most ideological shifts.
Kudos to you for standing up for our little finny friends....
just like dogs and cats, only WE can speak for them, and if we dont
start doing so, then noone will listen to them.
I fully believe that fish should only be sold in "Fish" Stores,
not in Department stores, and should be sold by people who
know about them, not just people with "retail experience".
Unfortunately for us, many people (especially corporate),
believe in the value of fish only as a commercial entity, not as a
living being, and until that changes, we can only continue to raise
alarm and scream for change.

September 24th, 2006, 11:14 AM
Hey Stacie....I know how you feel, I especially hate the little plastic cups they make Bettas live in :mad: .
The treatment of the fish in our local pet store wasn't that bad but certain things bothered me like if a fish was sick in the tank, instaed of medicating the water to prevent the others from getting it, they just kept on selling them to turn sending sick fish home with people to infect their own tanks. Keep in mind this is a local pet store with 2 staff working in it, so I appraoched the store owner and told her what should be done, she honestly didn't know how to care for the sick fish or what signs to look for if they were sick.
So she ended up asking me if I wanted a job and now I am a bit of a local fish doctor around here lol :rolleyes: ! which is alright, at least I know people are getting some sort of sound advice about their fish. I have done so much research on fish and diseases and keep a vast array of medications on hand, I even do trips to the schools to care for their tanks, all free of charge.
I too belive it is important that people realize fish are just like a dog or cat, and need to be cared for properly.
I have since cleaned up the stores fish area, and put each betta in a bigger bowl (can you believe that is how the fish come to the store from the supplier is in that little cup???) and I teach people how to look after their pet.

I too have a betta named Baloo who is super friendly, he knows he gets fed in the morning and if I forget he stares at me from his bowl till I notice then I apologize to him and he swims around happily. He likes to make bubble nests all over in his bowl and he has a little car ornament that he sleeps inside.
He may be in a small package but he radiates emotion.

September 24th, 2006, 11:21 AM
That's awesome! I had no idea fishies could do that.:)