Hello humans of the internet! AK here. I was in Wal-Mart recently and as you might can guess from the title of the blog and that one sentence, I found a fish.
First off all I was not aware that Wal-Mart’s still sold live animals in their stores. I have vague memories of the Wal-Mart in my home town having goldfish but they haven’t sold them since I was in early elementary. I falsely assumed that the Wal-Mart corporation acknowledge the cruelty of putting fish on a back shelf and leaving them there basically until they died because they were not in proper conditions nor were they ever taken care of by the workers (workers not trained in animal care. I don’t blame them).
I was visiting my grandparents in a retirement home in a larger city and we went to Wal-Mart to get bread and stuff. In the pet care section (I was getting a bell for the little grey cat, now called Soot) I saw a whole wall of fish tanks. You would think that maybe because they had so many fish they would be well taken care of. Nope. All of the fish were malnourished and sickly. Some tanks had partially decomposed fish. Those fish had been dead for a couple of days and just left in the tank. There were sick fish left untreated to infect all the others. It was heart breaking and I wanted to take all of them home. Then I discovered the most heart breaking thing.
A few yards away from live fish, past the tanks and pumps for sale were tank ornaments. There was between 4 and 6 inches of vertical space for each shelf. I looked at the decorations, I wanted to find a Christmas ornament to put outside my tanks (yes it is plural now). In the tank ornament section on a shelf that had 4 inches of space in the back corner of the store were a bunch of beta fish. They all looked lethargic and they were in their tiny cups stacked in together. Often in pet stores they are on separate little cubbies so they aren’t stressed by seeing each other. These weren’t.
Before a fish person comes and tells me that you should never buy fish from places that mistreat the animals because you’re supporting the animal mistreatment. I know. I know you shouldn’t. And I will advocate against poor breeding practices, and animal mistreatment and I will advocate against stores like Wal-Mart leaving fish in the back corner like that. I will advocate against puppy mills and parakeet breeders and places that say buddies only live 3 to 5 years when a healthy budgie should live closer to 15. But here’s the thing. Those fish exist. Those puppy mill puppies exist. Those birds exist. Yes they are unhealthy. Yes they will have shorter lives than their better bred counterparts. Yes it’s wrong to breed irresponsibly. But they exist. They didn’t ask to be born into this world. And I feel that it would be irresponsible on my part to force them to spend their whole life starving on a shelf, over crowded and stressed. I respect anyone who refuses to get pets from places like that. I wish I could do that I feel guilty about giving money to a system that mistreats fish.
All that being said, his name is Sushi. And it took him less that 5 minutes to get comfortable in his new tank. He’s got live plants in there, a water heater, an aerator, and plenty of space and food. By the next morning he was already making a bubble nest.
Did y’all know that Wal-Mart sold fish? What are y’all’s thoughts on that? Positive or negative, I’m curious.