PETA Calls for Betta Fish Boycott After Undercover Video Shows Tropical Fish Kept Inside Small, Dirty Bottles at Breeding Farm

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is urging people to boycott the sale of betta fish after an undercover video from a breeding farm in Thailand revealed serious acts of abuse and neglect.

The footage, provided to Newsweek, shows the conditions at the Siam Tropical Fish Company. The video shows thousands of the tropical fish kept inside small and dirty bottles across an entire floor.

A man's voice, believed to be a worker at the breeding farm, says the fish are being prepared for shipping to the U.S. to be sold at branches of Petco.

The eyewitness also recorded several betta fish bodies on the farm floors, some surrounded by ants. The clip also shows workers purposely leaving dozens of fish out of water while preparing them for shipping.

The fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are then placed into plastic bags containing a small amount of water, ready to be transported. The fish are not provided with any food inside their bags for their journeys around the world, some which last several days.

PETA alleges that the farm would add tranquilizers to the water to keep the fish from eating their own tails during the journey.

A sworn affidavit from PETA's Asia eyewitness who conducted the investigation, seen by Newsweek, also alleges that the farm ships around 100,000 betta fish, which eventually end up at Petco stores, every week.

The affidavit states that just under one percent of all fish allegedly being sent to Petco die during transport.

"PETA is calling on Petco to stop bankrolling the horrendous neglect and mistreatment of these complex, vulnerable animals by ending its sales of them immediately," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said.

"Betta fish are suffering from the minute they're born on massive breeding farms in Thailand to the minute they die, many in minuscule plastic containers on Petco's shelves."

PETA previously released a video showing betta fish being sold inside Petco's stores in unlivable conditions. Many of the fish were displayed dead on shop shelves, or swimming in tiny amounts of water filled with their own excrement.

Workers in the undercover video are seen holding up the tiny bags in which the fish are shipped, admitting many of them arrive at the stores already sick.

"When they get shipped, they get stressed out a lot just because they're not in a tank," one male worker says. "A lot of fish that come into a store [on a Friday] don't last through a weekend.

"It's a lot of stress of a fish to go, like, 18 hours in a little bag...[it's] one of those ugly things a pet store might not tell you," the worker adds.

Other workers at an unnamed location were also filmed admitting that the fish being kept on the shelves in the "teeny tiny cups" makes them more susceptible to illness and death.

The workers add the fish are meant to be kept in larger tanks containing at least 3.5 to 5 gallons of water.

"I wish we didn't even sell stuff like this. This is just incredibly inhumane for them," one female worker says.

In a statement to Newsweek, Petco confirmed that Siam Tropical Fish Co and its owner, CIS International Holdings, are both suppliers of betta fish to their stores.

"However, we are confident that the footage and facility shown in the video you shared is not a CIS or Siam facility," the company added.

"Furthermore, the conditions depicted in the video are not aligned with Petco or CIS standards for animal care, breeding and husbandry.

"We require that vendors supplying our stores with live animals meet our high standards for animal care and well-being at all times. Our Animal Care and Vendor Operations teams conduct both announced and unannounced inspections that involve detailed evaluation of the animals, vendor protocols and the overall facility.

"We inspect whenever and as often as we deem necessary, and all facility inspection reports are then reviewed by a team that includes our Head of Veterinary Medicine.

"If conditions do not meet our standards, we require suppliers to make immediate improvements; and if a supplier fails to meet our standards, we will immediately terminate our relationship."

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Peta alleges that Petco's betta fish suppliers routinely put the animals under "horrendous neglect and mistreatment" before and during shipment. Peta Asia