The new Johnny Depp movie, Rango, has drawn fire for encouraging exotic reptiles as impulse buys, and while the animated Western isn’t really to blame, some blame can be put on PetSmart stores for their promotion with the show. Local PetSmarts will be giving $10 off purchase of a reptile pet with a Rango ticket stub. But will PetSmart properly educate people on the care of these often high maintenence exotic pets? Many think not.
Reptiles should not be an impulse buy
This column rarely agrees with the ravings of animal rights activists, PETA, but in the case of Rango and PetSmart they come close to the truth. In this PETA blog post they explain:
This movie is being marketed to children, who may be intrigued by possessing a reptile but who are far from equipped to humanely care for one. Reptiles—especially chameleons, who are terribly hard to keep alive in captivity—are anything but low maintenance. Any animal acquired on a whim (prompted by a coupon, no less!) is in danger of being discarded within days once the “wow” factor fades and the animal’s specialized needs become clear.
Any pet should be the result of research and deciding what works best in your family, not decided because you saw a movie featuring the animal, but especially exotics. Seeing a difficult-to-keep chameleon wisecrack and save a Western town is no substitute for the hours of reading about their care needed. Even those easier herps like Russian Tortoises and Leopard Geckos deserve proper housing, diet, etc. and should not be bought because you see a movie.
PetSmart is, above all, a business set on making money and has often been accused of irresponsible actions in regards to animals. So it really should not shock anyone, even PETA, that they use the film to drive business to their stores. But it is bad for reptiles.
However, for their part, PetSmart has done some things to educate. Today on March 8th there will be a live facebook chat 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Mountain Time. For more info see their news release.
Families wanting additional information on pet reptiles and their care can join Gerstenberger in a live chat on http://www.facebook.com/PetSmart on March 8, 2011 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Additionally, families can access breed-specific PetSmart Care Guides at www.PetSmart.com/CareGuides, visit the PetSmart reptile microsite at www.PetSmart.com/reptile or go to their local PetSmart store and talk with a pet care associate.
Rango recieved an -A from Eric Snider. It is rated PG and is in several theaters across Utah. See it and let us know what you think about the effect it has on pets.