I'm posting this in the Kitchen because it refers to pet stores and breeders, but please keep the discussion civil, thank you.
I was just thinking about this the other day when I was buying treats for my bunny at the local pet store. They do sell rabbits and guinea pigs.
What is the right thing to do, when the local rescue treats their guinea pigs poorer than the local pet store? The local rescue, while I'm sure means well, are totally uneducated on rabbits, and there's some pretty big holes in their management of guinea pigs as well.
Their guinea pigs are kept on pine bedding that smells very strongly of pine, in an interior room with no windows or ventilation. The piggies are never allowed out of their cages (except if they're being viewed by potential adopters), and the cages are the traditional, too-small cages. They are offered no fresh anything (fruits or veggies). Fed alfalfa-based pellets, ad lib.
Their rabbits are worse off. Small cages as well (which is even more serious in rabbits, since they're larger animals), and ad lib alfalfa-based pellets. Pretty much any savvy rabbit vet anywhere will tell you that's not the proper diet for an adult rabbit. Some are also kept on wire-mesh floors, another big no-no.
The pet shop has a superior management program for their guinea pigs and rabbits. Larger cages, bedded on carefresh, and taken out to play and socialize often. Fed fresh produce (romaine and small slices of fresh orange) often (not sure at what frequency, but often times when I'm there the piggies are snacking on the produce). The younger piggies get alfalfa-based pellets ad lib, the older piggies get tim-based, measured out in specific portions daily. The rabbits are on similar, age-appropriate diets, and even offer litterboxes for the bunnies should they choose to use them.
For the piggies in their care, the pet shop wins management-wise, hands down. But they are also supporting the breeding and overpopulation of piggies.
I used to donate to the rescue regularly, but now I am not so sure. Sure, they take in homeless rabbits and piggies. But they bring them into a shelter with sub-par care, and adopt out with zero screening procress for their small animals. What say you, forum folks?