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Where do petstore hams come from?


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#1 HammieLuvGirl

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 12:30 AM

Where do petstore hamsters come from?
Like the ones at Petco and Petsmart?
Because the people that work there say that they have a new "batch" in every wednsday.
How on earth do they get so many hamsters?
It sounds like a horrible hamster-mill situation to me.
Does anyone know?




#2 SuzyHomemaker

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 02:27 AM

Yes, the vast majority of pet shop animals [including hamsters] do come from horrible, large, commerical breeding mills. Common practices in such places are well known to be tiny living spaces, over-breeding females, lack of health care, lack of nutrition, lack of socialization with humans [often leading to pet shop animals being sold to families with/without small children, even though the animal is not yet tame]. Some smaller pet shops get their living stock from more responsible local breeders, however that is not always the case [and usually its fairly easy just from asking the shop owner a few simple questions what sort of place their hamsters come from].

I'll refer you to this thread (click here) with rather graphic images of a rat breeding mill, which is very similar to a hamster breeding mill. This is exactly the sort of place the majority of pet shop animals come from.

Edited by SuzyHomemaker, 07 February 2011 - 02:27 AM.


#3 Christmas_hamster

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:59 AM

Personally I'd even have to question smaller scale breeders. What breeder that was responsible enough to be careful with their hamsters genetics and well being would sell or give away to a pet store where they cannot talk to their new owners or track their lines?

The topic Suzy shared along with this article gives you a good insight on where many of these animals come from: http://www.chahamsters.org/qandaUSDA.html

It's a sad truth though. That's why I do my best to not buy my animals from pet stores. It's not really enough to send them any sort of message because their biggest money maker isn't the animals themselves but the supplies.

#4 SuzyHomemaker

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 05:18 AM

Personally I'd even have to question smaller scale breeders. What breeder that was responsible enough to be careful with their hamsters genetics and well being would sell or give away to a pet store where they cannot talk to their new owners or track their lines?


Exactly why I worded my response as smaller breeders are "more responsible" than commercial hamster farms.
I should have put 'only slightly less irresponsible'
In reality its like two people who walk up to a burning buliding with people inside, and the small-scale breeder throws on some more fire wood whereas the large commercial breeder pours on gasoline. Both are the wrong thing to do and both contribute to the problem, however the small-scale breeder does slightly less damage.

I agree entirely, it sends the wrong message to the petshops when you buy and animal from them. No matter your reasoning for buying the animal, you're basically just pouring more money into their pocket, which they will turn around and use to harm more animals.
The people in this world who adopt homeless pets from the shelter and/or who buy only directly from responsible breeders are the people who see the problem [burning buliding/over population of ill-bred and ill-cared for animals] and they are the people who help [throw on some water, call the fire department/don't encourage the wrong-doing and don't buy pet shop animals].

Edited by SuzyHomemaker, 07 February 2011 - 05:21 AM.


#5 princesshamster

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 06:00 AM

Oh that is awful. I can't believe how people tolerate to do that!!!!!!!!! :thumbsdown:

#6 Christmas_hamster

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 06:45 AM

Exactly why I worded my response as smaller breeders are "more responsible" than commercial hamster farms.
I should have put 'only slightly less irresponsible'
In reality its like two people who walk up to a burning buliding with people inside, and the small-scale breeder throws on some more fire wood whereas the large commercial breeder pours on gasoline. Both are the wrong thing to do and both contribute to the problem, however the small-scale breeder does slightly less damage.

I agree entirely, it sends the wrong message to the petshops when you buy and animal from them. No matter your reasoning for buying the animal, you're basically just pouring more money into their pocket, which they will turn around and use to harm more animals.
The people in this world who adopt homeless pets from the shelter and/or who buy only directly from responsible breeders are the people who see the problem [burning buliding/over population of ill-bred and ill-cared for animals] and they are the people who help [throw on some water, call the fire department/don't encourage the wrong-doing and don't buy pet shop animals].


I knew what you meant I just wanted to point out that even small scale distributors aren't much better.

#7 HammieLuvGirl

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 11:44 AM

Personally I'd even have to question smaller scale breeders. What breeder that was responsible enough to be careful with their hamsters genetics and well being would sell or give away to a pet store where they cannot talk to their new owners or track their lines?

The topic Suzy shared along with this article gives you a good insight on where many of these animals come from: http://www.chahamsters.org/qandaUSDA.html

It's a sad truth though. That's why I do my best to not buy my animals from pet stores. It's not really enough to send them any sort of message because their biggest money maker isn't the animals themselves but the supplies.


Wow, the standards are really low.
It surprises me that they house Syrians together even though they fight. And they probably know that.

#8 Christmas_hamster

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 10:35 PM

Young syrians would be fine together. Even when they get to the pet store syrians are kept together until they start fighting or until they're sold.

#9 HammieLuvGirl

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 06:51 AM

Young syrians would be fine together. Even when they get to the pet store syrians are kept together until they start fighting or until they're sold.


I know that, but at the petco nearby, they have some old Syrians with cuts, and I've seen them fight a bit.
It's really irresponsible :/

#10 Jaybee

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 07:52 AM

I know that, but at the petco nearby, they have some old Syrians with cuts, and I've seen them fight a bit.
It's really irresponsible :/


Why don't you make a fuss about it? If I saw that, I would call over a manager and I wouldn't be happy until they separated them. I go to petco and petsmart and always look at the animals, but I haven't seen anything bad at the ones here. If I did, I would throw a fit, and the whole store would hear about how poorly their hamsters were cared for.

#11 Christmas_hamster

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 07:57 AM

Throwing fits isn't going to get you very far for long but I know what you mean. I hate seeing poor conditions too, it's sickening. I've written letters to petsmart before when they were using runged wheels and within a week the wheels were changed to silent spinners and comfort wheels. I would talk to them though Hammieluvgirl, even if they don't do anything right away then they start to get the idea that people actually do care if anything/.

#12 Jaybee

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:31 AM

Throwing fits isn't going to get you very far for long but I know what you mean. I hate seeing poor conditions too, it's sickening. I've written letters to petsmart before when they were using runged wheels and within a week the wheels were changed to silent spinners and comfort wheels. I would talk to them though Hammieluvgirl, even if they don't do anything right away then they start to get the idea that people actually do care if anything/.


It might not fix anything for a prolonged period of time, but you could possibly get them to separate those hamsters right there. I live pretty close to the petstores, so if I saw something like that, I'd just keep going back every day and checking on them after bringing it to their attention.

And if it really bothered me enough, and the conditions were really bad, I'd try to even contact someone in my city to do a story on the poor care the animals there receive.

#13 princesshamster

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:33 AM

Jaybee you made me laugh so hard! :laughing: "I'll just trow a fit right there in the store!" haha [no offense] :)

#14 amberdyan

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 09:45 AM

I did something similar to that at a pet store in the town where my girl friend lives. They had 5 guinea pigs in a ten gallon tank, and an uncountable amount of mice in a ten gallon as well. Several of the mice had open gaping wounds. I told that pet store that those were not acceptable conditions, and they said that it was too expensive to change it, so I printed off information on how to make bin cages and C&C guinea pig cages. They still didn't listen. So I printed off articles highlighting about how much it would cost them if I brought animal control down and they were fined. Now, although the cages aren't huge, they have a new set up that's much better.

Unfortunately it's all about finding out what motivates them. If animal care and kindness doesn't, fines and legal fees might.

#15 SuzyHomemaker

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 03:59 PM

I've come to learn the hard way, the proper way to make a compliant so that they take it seriously.

First of all, age makes a difference.
I know it sounds messed up, but if you're young/young looking they probably won't take your compliant seriously.
Example: when I was 15 (I looked young for my age, many people mistaked me for being 12-13 years old well after my 18th birthday), I was at Walmart and they had an aquarium section at this store, one of the tanks had about a half dozen dead fish at the bottom being eaten by the live fish. I asked to speak to a manager, I remained calm and explained how by allowing the live fish to eat the dead fish, they were not only being unsanitary and cruel and making themselves look bad as a company, but they were loosing money because the live fish would most likely get sick after eating the dead fish and then more product would die. If they would only remove the dead fish prompty, then perhaps less fish would die and then they could make more money off of them. The manager rolled his eyes at me and said "young lady, I do not have time to be dropping everything and running over to the fish tanks every hour to check on the fish"
15 minutes later, I was shopping in a different part of the store when I heard screaming and crying coming from the fish section, so I went back over there to see what was going on. That same manager was appologizing repeatedly while removing the dead fish. Apparently a small child saw the live fish eating the dead fish and broke into hysterics so the parent made a strongly worded compliant about how their irresponsibility was traumatising his daughter.
Now as a mother well into my 20's whenever I make a complaint, it could be the exact same compliant that was ignored when I made it years ago, people tend to take me more seriously because I'm older. I'm not seen as some idealic teenager who wants to save the world, I'm instead now seen as an adult who spends money at their establishment and should therefore be kept somewhat content with their business.
If you are young then you may want to consider having an adult (parent, older friend, teacher, aunt, uncle, etc..) make the complaint on your behalf OR writting a letter which does not reveal your age.

Second of all, forget about morals, this is business.
If you go off on a moral rant, they won't care and they won't listen. Afterall, if they cared about the animals well-being then they would have fixed the problem before. They generally don't care about the animals, they care about their business. They will be more apt to fix the problem if you make an arguement appealing to the legal or financial results of their actions.
So instead of saying, "its wrong, the animals are suffering, can't you see how unhappy they are?"
Say, "you're going to loose money/customers by doing this" or "what you're doing is illegal and I will see to it that the authorities are called in"
Of course, you should only use the legal arguement if you are 100% certain that it is illegal, remember that in many places the laws protecting animals allow for a certain level of cruelty, and that cage size is ususally not a legal issue. However if the animals lack food/water or are overheating then that would be a legal issue. Remember that telling the manager that they are doing something illegal when they are not will only hurt your credibility and make them less apt to listen to your complaints now and in the future.

Thirdly, word of mouth is huge, use it to your advantage.
If they refuse to change, threaten to effect their business by removing other customers besides yourself.
Don't just say, "I'm going to tell everyone I know not to shop here anymore" because that doesn't carry much weight.
Instead say that you intend on calling local media (news papers or tv channels) and suggesting that they do a story on the store's injustices. If you happen to be strongly associated with an organization then drop a name.
For example, when I was younger, I was involved in 4H in the US, so I would say something to the effect of, "I work with 4H and we have a regional meeting coming up, I intend on notifing the rest of the club about the cruelties I've witnessed here. They take animal rights every seriously. Every 4H member who usually buys their animal feed here will go elsewhere until you change these conditions, and in the mean time you will loose money."
Now days, I'm a military wife and the military community is very tightly knit. If I need to use word of mouth threats, then I let them know, one email sent out to the other military wives and they would loose literally hundreds of customers. I was at a base a few years ago where one wife witnessed an injustice in a local store, she rallied the other military wives in a boycott, and it effect the business so much that 2 weeks later the owner made a formal appology.

Fourth of all, the right wording is huge
Certain words/phrases will put the manager on the defense and if they are feeling defensive then they will only turn a deaf ear to the rest of your complaint, regardless how valid the complaint maybe.
So don't make personal attacks, don't get emotional and avoid moral rants.
Keep the complaint factual rather than emotional.

Fifth, if they don't listen to you, then don't be afraid to go over their head.
If a shift manager won't listen to you, then try the store manager/owner. If they don't listen to you then try the regional manager. Heck, if its an on-going problem and even the regional manager won't listen to you then write the CEO. Just keep going up the chain. Eventually someone will be upset that the customer doesn't feel listened to and <lousy> tends to roll down hill. (if you aren't familiar with that phrase, it basically means if one person gets yelled at for something at work, then they tend to yell at their subordinates, who in turn yell at their subordinates, and so on and so forth until everyone, including those at the bottom of the chain of command, get an earfull.

Finally, in some situations, you can show them more than you can tell them.
For example, last year one of my local pet stores never seemed to have chew toys nor wheels in their hamster cages. I saw that some of the hamsters had nothing to do so they were actually trying to chew their way out of the cage, purely out of boredom.
The store actually had decent sized cages and kept all their syrians in separate cages, they just didn't have anything in the cage besides bedding, food, and water. I asked the shift manager why they didn't have any entertainment and she said they never lived there for more than a few weeks so she didn't see the point in providing entertainment unless they were staying long-term. So I bought a couple of chew toys at the counter, then I asked the shift manager to help me open the hamster cages. I explained to them in a very kind voice, that the hamsters looked unhappy and people had no interest in buying unhappy hamsters. But if you put a chew toy into their cage, and give them a positive outlet for all their energy then they would look happier and be more likely to attract the eye of a customer. Also, putting different types of chew toys inside the cage was a great way to showcase the product, so when people see the hamster enjoying a seed-bell, they would think "I should buy one of those for my hamster"
She saw the way all the hamsters used their chew toys that I bought them and stopped trying to escape their cages as much now that they had something to do. I didn't have to agrue with her because the hamsters behavior made my arguement for me. Ever since then I have seen a chew toy, wheel, or both in every cage whenever I visit that store.

Edited by SuzyHomemaker, 09 February 2011 - 04:04 PM.