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There's a local pet shop in my neighborhood, and it is overall an okay store... for most animals. The hamsters and rabbits have fine cages, but the rats and mice are housed in a way that looks pretty bad. The cages are about the size of a 50 gallon aquarium, but there must be almost 30 rats in it... all jammed together. The cage looks clean enough though. The mouse cage is the same size but with more like 45 mice. And all them are PEWS (I don't if that's the right term for mice) so I kind of wonder where they came from. I just want to check if this is animal abuse, and if so, what can I do?
 

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Many pet shops keep rats and mice as feeder animals to support their more lucrative snake and reptile trade. They aren't too concerned with their feeder rodents or feeder goldfish. Our local privately owned mega-petshop used to sell over 100 rats a week and ordered in bulk. They had huge cages, but sometimes they would get pretty crowded. A few days later they were empty. Like you wrote, they kept them clean, there was always food and fresh water but that was about as far as they were going to go for food animals.

I might add that as they sold more pet rats, which never really amounted to more than 1% of their rat and mouse business they did seem to neaten things up more. They started to carry more expensive rat habitats, food, treats and toys. They even started using better bedding. Pretty much they weren't stupid and invested money where there was profit to be made.

I suppose you could bring your concerns to the attention of the owners or the management. If they see a business in pet rats and mice they may just target it with a bigger time and financial investment. As long as rats and mice are only food animals, it's likely that they will be packed in like the feeder goldfish... It comes down to profit per square foot of shelf space and feeder goldfish and feeder rodents are about as low a profit margin as anything in the store. In fact many stores actually lose money on feeder rodents. On the other hand a really fancy snake can sell for hundreds of dollars if not more so they are grudgingly obliged to sell food to attract those customers that they want.

Best luck.
 
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