The Heartbreaking Story of How Animals Are Bred for the European Pet Trade

Posted by on April 27, 2015 | Permalink

PETA Germany went undercover over a period of several months to investigate Dutch animal breeders who supply guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, birds and other small animals to major European pet shops.

Neglect. Sick, terrified animals. Rotting corpses. Cannibalism. They found horrors worse than they could ever have expected.

Read on to see some of the shocking images from the investigation.

NL pet trade_mouse cage barsPETA Germany found thousands of animals in severely crowded cages.NL-pet-trade_mouse-wound_highlight

Severe crowding and stress lead to bite injuries such as this one.

NL pet trade_room with cagesAnimals are “mass-produced” in dark, filthy facilities, where tiny cages are stacked from floor to ceiling.

NL pet trade_piles of cratesThey are kept in cramped cages for transport to wholesalers, who will then sell them to pet shops in the Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands.

NL pet trade_dead animalsMany don’t survive the harrowing conditions.

NL pet trade_more dead animalsThe investigators found many dead animals whose bodies were simply left to rot.

NL pet trade_bodies in freezerAnd freezers which were full of corpses.

NL pet trade_dark roomThousands of animals may be bred in one small windowless room.

NL pet trade_mice in crowded cage

Breeders cram as many animals as possible into confined spaces in order to maximise their profits.

NL pet trade_budgies in cagesBirds were subjected to the same appalling treatment.

Many of the surviving animals were too sick and terrified to move.

NL pet trade_crowded guinea pigsEven smaller breeders often keep animals in hellish conditions.

NL-pet-trade_dead-guinea-pig highlightThis guinea pig lies where he died, to be eaten by maggots.

NL pet trade_rabbit filthy cage

Numerous animals were forced to live amid their own excrement in filthy cages.

NL pet trade_thirsty rabbitMany of the animals were suffering from severe dehydration and jumped desperately at their water bottles after the investigators refilled them.

NL pet trade_dead rabbits

It was too late for these rabbits, who had died of thirst.

NL pet trade_crowded rabbitsIn addition to being severely crowded, the metal cages were totally barren.

NL pet trade_birds in cageThese budgies had no room even to stretch their wings in the tiny space.


This traumatised bird pecked at her dead cagemate.

NL pet trade_birds transport
These birds sat in a densely packed cage as they waited to be transported.


The cruelty exposed in these facilities was not isolated: random investigations of small facilities that sell animals to large and small merchants also showed harrowing conditions. Undercover investigations – at roughly 15 breeding and wholesale outlets – documented more than a dozen apparent violations of the Dutch Animal Welfare Act. A criminal complaint was filed against a total of 11 breeders and wholesalers from Germany and the Netherlands.

Unsuspecting customers often have no idea about the horror from which these animals have come – or what kind of industry they’re unwittingly supporting.

THIS is what’s wrong with the pet trade. The best way to end the cruelty is to boycott animal breeders and always adopt rather than buying.

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