A TikTok video showing a teenager opening a package with a live frog on March 23 has caused controversy online. Animal rights advocates are concerned that pets may be harmed when sent. Although this practice is regulated to reduce the risk of harm to the animal, it reflects society’s tendency to “raw” animals, says the animal rights charity Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis.
A video showing a teenage girl opening a package sealed with tape and removing a small box with a small yellow frog was published on TikTok on March 23, 2021. It has since received 347,800 views:
The girl unpacks the package and puts the frog in a small terrarium that she says she made herself.
Several people wrote in the comments section that they were shocked to see a live frog delivered in a package as if it were clothes or a pair of shoes. Others said the girl did not seem to know anything about the animal she had just adopted.
In another video, published the next day, the teenager explains that she could not pick up the animal at the store because it was too far away. She promises to order a terrarium and a heating mat to make the animal as comfortable as possible.
While the practice may seem surprising, it is not uncommon to send animals in packages. At TikTok, many teenagers have posted videos showing open boxes of amphibians, fish or insects.
This teenager in the UK published a video for TikTok on December 3, 2020 showing a fish he ordered on Ebay that was sent to him in a package.
This video, filmed in Portugal and published on TikTok on March 28, shows someone opening a package containing a lizard.
The French animal welfare organization Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis has spoken out against this practice, even though it is legal in France. The charity says that this trend shows society’s tendency to raw animals.
“When the seller is conscientious, there is no problem sending an animal. But ethically it is not perfect.”
Stéphane Rosselle grows amphibians and reptiles at Reptilis, the breeding center that sent the frog in the TikTok video that triggered a pine. He told the JowharObserver team that his company takes care of ensuring that the animals are transported as comfortably as possible:
We do not send animals via the postal service, we must use a special service. The package leaves our offices at night and is delivered to our customers the next morning.
The box contains a polystyrene box. Inside it, the animal is kept in a special box with a special mat that stays wet so that the animal stays hydrated. The box also contains small heaters to ensure that the animal stays warm enough. We also include a tip sheet with lots of instructions on how to take care of the animal.
We follow the same procedure when we send an animal to a pet store.
From 20 years of experience, I can count with one hand how many times an animal has had problems due to shipping. Our team consists of people who are passionate about these creatures. If it was dangerous to the animal, I would be the first person to say that we should not do it.
Hemminki Johan, a herpetologist (a person who specializes in the study of reptiles and amphibians) at the Regional Agency for Biodiversity in Île-de-France, says that the transport of live animals is not without risk:
Amphibians need their environment moist because their skin is very fragile and covered with a kind of mucus that always needs to be kept moist. In the case of reptiles, transporting them in a box all day can cause shocks that can cause death. They are also extremely sensitive to cold.
When everything is done well, when the seller is conscientious, transport is not life-threatening for an animal. But ethically, it is not perfect. Being trapped for hours in a box puts the animal under an enormous amount of stress. Let’s just say he will not have his best day.
In this video published on March 24, you can hear the teenager say that the frog was very worried the day he arrived. She tried to hold the shaking animal in her hand.
However, animals are often transported in the pet industry.
Some animals are imported from abroad, while others are transported from breeding centers to pet stores.
Lucas Flenghi is a veterinarian in the New Pets department (NAC or Nouveaux Animaux de Compagnie) at Cordelier’s veterinary clinic in Meaux (77). He says that the practice of selling pets online often means that the new owners have not gained good knowledge of how to take care of their pets:
What’s shocking is that you can buy a living creature like a pair of socks. If you buy an animal from a pet store, the seller can explain how to take care of the animal and make sure the person is ready to take care of it. They are living beings with special needs. It is not very responsible to buy a pet without knowing how to take care of it.