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Canadian Living Misinformation


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#1 Flish

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 08:32 PM

My mother has been subscribed to Canadian Living magazine for a long, long time, and while she was reading the March 2012 issue she pointed out an article on pet keeping to me. I'm pretty sure a lot of the other information was not accurate, but I stuck to emailing them about the betta portion because those are the animals I know best.
Here is the part which mentions bettas:
Posted Image

And here is the email I sent in reply to the article:
"Hello,
My mother has a subscription to Canadian Living, which her mother has been buying for her for many years. I noticed that in the March 2012 issue, in the life is for living - pets section, that you mentioned bettas in an article by Elizabeth Creith. In this article, the cost of a betta was shown as being $20, and it was stated that they are very low maintenance. This is misinformation, and could cause the deaths of many fish.
Betta Splendens, or siamese fighting fish, need tanks of at least one gallon. Nearly all the bowls and tanks available for bettas are not suitable for this need. Even in a one gallon tank, the water must be changed every 2-3 days to keep ammonia from building up and burning the fish's gills and fins. In a tank 5 gallons and up, water changes once a week are acceptable.
There are several reasons why tanks under one gallon are not acceptable
Bettas live in their toilet. Think about it. If you had to live in a body of water where you also had to go to the bathroom, it would be better to have a swimming pool than a kiddy pool, right? When waste products (ammonia) build up in your bettas enclosure, they burn at his gills. They can cause fin rot. They make his immune system more vulnerable. Generally, just not a good thing. Smaller tanks mean more waterchanges have to be done to keep the water from becoming toxic, which means more work for the betta keeper.
One of the top causes of betta death is liver disease. Obesity, essentially. The more room the fish has to move around, the more exercise they can get, the better health they will be in.
Heaters. Contrary to popular belief, bettas need heaters. They are tropical fish and require a stable, warm temperature of between 76* and 82* Fahrenheit (I keep mine at 79*). A bigger tank is easier to heat safely- in this way, it is best to go for a 2.5 gallon or larger tank.
Bettas can and do get bored. In a larger tank, there is room for more decorations and things to keep your betta interested. Bored bettas can become tailbiters- bettas who have long fins will turn in tight little circles and nip at their own tails.

I present about fish care to the local Humane Society Kid's Club, and for this have tallied up the bare minimum cost for a betta fish- 78 dollars. This includes a sterilite bin-tank (6 dollars for a 5 gallon one at walmart), a heater, pelleted and frozen foods, ornaments and plants, thermometer, the fish itself, and water conditioner.
There is so much misinformation about betta fish out there, and I am deeply saddened that your magazine is adding to it and the suffering of these beautiful fish. Your magazine is a widely published one, and I would hate to think of all the fish who could be getting sick and dying because of some misinformation
Here are some accurate betta caresheets that dispel some of the untruths that are so often spread around about these beautiful fish. I think it is important that you let your readers know that for any pet, for any living thing that you choose to bring into your home, it is important to do your research- not just talking to pet store staff, but reading up online from people who are not trying to sell anything, just trying to help people learn more about bettas.

http://www.ultimateb...showtopic=18075
http://nippyfish.net/bettas-101/

Thank you for your time,"

If any of you awesome betta advocates could help me out with this, that would be great!
  • Gerbiee, tereghan, Stars and 5 others like this

#2 sarahberry

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:56 PM

We have lots of members here in Canada. I think their input might have more impact than those of us in the States and other countries, since we're not very likely to get the magazine :)

#3 Flish

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:31 PM

We have lots of members here in Canada. I think their input might have more impact than those of us in the States and other countries, since we're not very likely to get the magazine :)


Hopefully some fellow Canadians will come along to this little thread soon!

I think the more people who email them and let them know their errors, the better. The source for the article owns a pet store, and has been keeping "various exotic pets" for 30 years. Of course, this isn't much of an argument to those who know that pet store staff aren't always right, but people who think otherwise could be misled by the information. I feel it would be rude to say that owning a pet store doesn't equal infinite knowledge directly, and I hope taht the more people email about proper betta care, the more the magazine people might be willing to listen.

#4 Stars

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 04:01 PM

Woot! You go girl. I be happy to pop them a email too. Can I get the address?

#5 Flish

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 06:34 PM

Woot! You go girl. I be happy to pop them a email too. Can I get the address?


Thanks Stars! :blush:
I used the contact form on their website:
http://www.canadianl.../contact-us.php
I chose the category "magazine content".

#6 Strick

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 11:20 AM

Nice job! Who wrote that thing? Doesn't Canadian Living do any fact-checking before they publish?

#7 Stars

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:32 PM

Alright, here is my little complaint email:

Dear Canadian Living,

I was recently browsing through the March 2012 issue of your magazine and came across an article on pets by Elizabeth Creith. The article gives pet ideas for individuals with limited space, among the suggestions are bettas, mice, rats, guinea pigs and hamsters. The article, unfortunately, is very inaccurate and downplays the care the animals are required and comes off as a attempt to lure unsuspecting readers to buy these animals from pet stores. Using the bettas as an example, the article gives care suggestions that are completely opposite of what the fish requires. It suggestions the bettas do not need additional heats when the bettas are tropical fish (and labeled as warm water fish in pet-stores!) that require a heater and temperatures around 28C. It also suggests that mice just needs 'five minutes' everyday to be fed and their bedding changed twice a week. Ask any experienced rodent owner and you will learn that bedding should be partially changed on a daily basis to remove urine/feces and it they require far more than just 5 min everyday. Some of the things suggested are so obviously not realistic.

As someone with basic knowledge in pet care, I already know that this article is completely wrong. To publish something like this is quite damaging to the magazines reputation in providing Canadians with accurate and good information. For unsuspecting readers that might follow these instructions, this will inevitably lead to the death of their pets and 50, 100 or more dollars down the drain.

The article comes of as ushering readers to buy pets from pet-stores, when the pets die or get sick, buy their medication and new pets so the stores can profit. As a reader, I find that insulting.

I realize the article is published and its unlikely it can be changed. So I'm writing my complaint to bring your attention to these misleading articles that sometimes get published. Please review your articles more thoroughly and ensure accurate information to readers. A minor Google search is all you really need.

Thank you for your time,
Mika

(Mika is my nick, from the alternative spelling of my name Jamika =P, in case you thought it was weird)
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#8 Flish

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:24 PM

Nice job! Who wrote that thing? Doesn't Canadian Living do any fact-checking before they publish?


Thanks, Strick!
A woman by the name of Elizabeth Creith wrote it, who is a pet store owner and apparently has been keeping various exotic pets for 30 years.
Unfortunately, it appears they do not! Hopefully a bunch of emails will teach them a bit of a lesson.

Alright, here is my little complaint email:

Dear Canadian Living,

I was recently browsing through the March 2012 issue of your magazine and came across an article on pets by Elizabeth Creith. The article gives pet ideas for individuals with limited space, among the suggestions are bettas, mice, rats, guinea pigs and hamsters. The article, unfortunately, is very inaccurate and downplays the care the animals are required and comes off as a attempt to lure unsuspecting readers to buy these animals from pet stores. Using the bettas as an example, the article gives care suggestions that are completely opposite of what the fish requires. It suggestions the bettas do not need additional heats when the bettas are tropical fish (and labeled as warm water fish in pet-stores!) that require a heater and temperatures around 28C. It also suggests that mice just needs 'five minutes' everyday to be fed and their bedding changed twice a week. Ask any experienced rodent owner and you will learn that bedding should be partially changed on a daily basis to remove urine/feces and it they require far more than just 5 min everyday. Some of the things suggested are so obviously not realistic.

As someone with basic knowledge in pet care, I already know that this article is completely wrong. To publish something like this is quite damaging to the magazines reputation in providing Canadians with accurate and good information. For unsuspecting readers that might follow these instructions, this will inevitably lead to the death of their pets and 50, 100 or more dollars down the drain.

The article comes of as ushering readers to buy pets from pet-stores, when the pets die or get sick, buy their medication and new pets so the stores can profit. As a reader, I find that insulting.

I realize the article is published and its unlikely it can be changed. So I'm writing my complaint to bring your attention to these misleading articles that sometimes get published. Please review your articles more thoroughly and ensure accurate information to readers. A minor Google search is all you really need.

Thank you for your time,
Mika

(Mika is my nick, from the alternative spelling of my name Jamika =P, in case you thought it was weird)


That looks great, thanks Jamica! :D

#9 Gerbiee

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:00 AM

I sent an e-mail too. How disgusting. :(
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#10 Kayota

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 02:51 PM

I'm in the US so my opinion doesn't hold much salt... But at least the mouse info seems correct. :\ Wonder how many bettas this will affect. Hopefully none.

#11 C M

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:41 PM

Thank you for writing them. I'm so sick of all these articles about keeping Bettas in tiny ammonia-filled containers/bowls/jars etc.

That snippet of guinea pig information made my blood boil as well. Minimum of 2 square feet for a guinea pig (and they should be kept in pairs); try a minimum of 7.5 for a single or non-territorial pair. 4 square feet of living space wouldn't even give one guinea pig enough room to move around (I know because I've used ones that small for quarantine/hospital cages) once you put literally anything (food dish, hiding hut/tunnel) into it. I hate people considering small animals "less of pets" undeserving of the space they need to live comfortably.

Unfortunately I'm also in the United States, so I'm sure my letter would hold no water. If anyone here from Canada wants to pass along the proper information for guinea pig cage size (7.5 square feet MINIMUM for 1 - 2 guinea pigs, 10.5 square feet preferred for two), that would be appreciated as well.

Edited by C M, 11 April 2012 - 02:43 PM.





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