A few years ago, BBC Watchdog went undercover and exposed some of the neglect towards fish that was taking place in Pets At Home stores across the UK:
The video was pretty shocking, and uncovered things like dead, decaying fish lying at the bottom of tanks, cramped conditions and fish living with diseases like white spots. It was enough for us at Betta Fish Tan Bank to halt our partnership with Pets At Home entirely (we were part of their affiliate programme).
Then, Pets At Home cleaned up their act. Conditions improved, fish seemed to be healthier and they regained their reputation. Consequently, we decided to renew our affiliate partnership with Pets At Home. Big mistake.
I don’t actually like visiting stores like Pets At Home, because I find the entire ordeal quite sickening. Unlike an animal farm or zoo (which are only slightly better), the animals in these stores seem to be given very little attention by the staff (unless someone wants to buy one of the animals or ‘take a closer look’). But I was picking up some food for my dog, and decided I’d pay my local Pets At Home store a visit to see if everything was still going well for the animals. Boy was I in for a shock.
Disgustingly cramped conditions, white spots and dead fish in tanks were still visible, and the staff still seemed to be as oblivious as ever. I started by taking photos:
There was about 20 fish in that bottom middle tank, far too many. 3 of them had white spot. I got the attention of a member of staff who wasn’t even sure what white spot was.
That’s 1 Betta in a tank which must be less than 2 gallons. I asked a member of staff about this and they simply said that this is how they kept them all the time. Simply not enough room for a fish. Also, must be a lonely existence.
This was just a bit concerning – far too many fish in this top tank and a few dead/ill ones too.
At the end of the day, we make our living from Fish Tank Bank by selling products that we recommend through affiliate programs. And there is no denying that the products that Pets At Home make tend to be very good. But if the continue to neglect their fish like this, there is no way that we will continue to promote their products. So all Pets At Home affiliate links have been removed from our site.
Fishkeeping doesn’t have to be cruel. Adopt fish, give them plenty of space and provide them with stimulation, as you would with any other animal.