Following news of a lawsuit filed by the family of Aiden Pankey, the 10-year-old boy from San Diego who died from rat-bite fever, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is now pushing retailer Petco to stop the sale of rodents altogether. PETA is saying that rat bite fever, which is fatal if left untreated, can be carried by other rodents as well.
While Petco in response to the Pankey family’s loss stated, “The health and safety of people and pets is always a top priority,” PETA disagrees. The group argues that stores like Petco treat their pets inhumanely, as explained by Dan Paden, PETA’s "evidence analysis manager."
Stores like Petco, he asserted, treat animals like “merchandise.” Through PETA’s investigation over the years, they have uncovered “tremendous suffering” of animals sold through Petco, a company described by Paden as “greedy.”
One of the steps of action PETA has taken is penning a letter to Petco CEO James M. Myers:
“I'm writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters to ask you to take a meaningful step in order to prevent any more upsetting incidents for humans or animals by ending the sale of rodents.”
Petco has yet to respond to PETA’s plea to end the sale of rodents. It is a tough battle for PETA as they go against a multibillion-dollar company whose trade is selling animals and pet accessories. PETA hopes that people will see the tragic case of Aidan Pankey to understand the dangers of buying rodents from stores like Petco, as the dark underbelly of the pet trade is put under a spotlight.