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We have all walked past a pet store and stared into the big, sad eyes of tiny puppies and kittens looking back at us through the glass. None of us can deny that they’re all adorable. We want all to take every single one of them home and give them the best life possible. But buying an animal from a pet store is never a good idea, even when your intentions (to save the animal from a life as an object for sale) are good.

It Turns Animals Into Commodities 

Pet stores should not be supported in any shape or form. They commoditize animals and teach us that these sentient beings are unequal and deserve to be treated as second-class animals. 

Humans have turned non-human animals into commodities and reduced them to price tags and a couple of hours of entertainment in the evening when we come from work. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t love pets purchased from a pet store, but that’s not enough. These pet stores are not concerned about how much love and warmth those animals are going to receive once they are purchased. They are concerned about the profit they are going to make. 

If a sentient being is bred and thrown into a display cage to be sold, it is a slave and an object. 

Animals Are Regularly Mistreated 

We only see healthy and alive animals in a pet store. Pet stores would be far less welcoming if they displayed all the animals that died in transport or became sick because they weren’t well-taken care of. 

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, most puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. They “are usually crammed into filthy, overcrowded, stacked wire cages and are denied healthy food, clean water, and basic veterinary care.” The mothers are impregnated continuously without any consideration for their health and wellbeing. 

Exotic animals don’t have it any easier. Transporting them is dangerous and results in lots of lizards, turtles, and other exotic beings dying before even reaching the pet store. Bringing them from one location to another is also dangerous for the people working with them since the animals can carry disease. 

Life on Display 

There is nothing cute about living life on display at a shop. Animals need stimulation and affection. Think about how a kitten or puppy loves to cuddle up on someone and take a nap. That desire doesn’t just appear once you bring them home. It has been present the entire time they were sitting on a hard floor in a tiny box staring out at the world. 

As a society, we need to stop normalizing the mistreatment of animals simply because they aren’t human. We would be appalled if we saw a human for sale in a store window–why is selling a cat or a dog any different? 

Better Options 

There are a lot of animals out there that need loving homes. Rescuing is an incredibly rewarding act of kindness that gives an animal a better life without supporting the cruel and greedy pet store industry. 

If you feel like you need a pet in your life, we strongly encourage you to adopt, not shop. It’s a small decision for you but makes a world of difference to the thousands of animals out there being bred only to die in the back of a shop or have a price tag determine the value of their life. 

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