PetSmart campaign update - Our coalition is growing and PetSmart workers are organizing
Scrutiny of private equity firm BC Partners and PetSmart leadership continues with a broad coalition sign-on letter, the unionization of a North York PetSmart store in Canada, and a breaking VICE exposé on working conditions resulting in animal neglect and deaths.
By Michèle Hamers, our Wildlife Campaign Manager
World Animal Protection’s mission is to move the world to protect animals, but we strive to support all movements working to build a more compassionate world. All of us, whatever species we may be, deserve to be treated with dignity. This is why we have been following the growing movement of PetSmart workers speaking out against poor working conditions and concerns about the welfare of the animals sold at PetSmart stores throughout North America.
Workers conditions exposed through media exposé
Last month, a heart-breaking story in VICE revealed poor working conditions at PetSmart stores in the US. Insufficient training, supplies, and equipment, management devaluing the lives of individual animals, and severe understaffing are putting both workers and animals in danger.
This story sent waves through the animal protection movement, and dozens of organizations, veterinarians, animal care experts, and scientists signed a letter to BC Partners, PetSmart, and PetSmart Charities urging them to:
- Align their business practices with its values by phasing out the sale of reptiles and amphibians in its stores
- Meet with the PetSmart Workers Committee regarding their urgent concerns about conditions that are harmful to both workers and animals in their care.
A broken system that needs to change – Unionization of a Toronto PetSmart Store
As the letter notes, the stories in VICE are “not isolated incidents but instead reveal a broken system that leaves animals sold in PetSmart stores vulnerable to extreme suffering and neglect.” This broken system is visible at PetSmart stores in the US and Canada and is one of the reasons why a PetSmart store in North York (Toronto, Ontario) unionized. This is the first PetSmart store in North America that was successful in getting organized.
According to an article in the Globe and Mail, 17 out of 24 employees voted in favour of unionization. Workers reported similar concerns including poverty wages, understaffing, disregard of employee health, and poor animal welfare.
We stand in solidarity with the United PetSmart Workers Union and call on BC Partners, PetSmart, and PetSmart Charities to protect animals and workers.
What can you do to help? Urge PetSmart to stop supporting this cruel industry!
As the largest pet store chain in Canada, and the only big box store still selling reptiles and amphibians, PetSmart is contributing to the cruel multi-billion-dollar trade that exploits wild animals on an industrial scale.
Tell PetSmart to stop the unnecessary suffering of animals.