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Karma Chameleon: Is PetSmart's "Rango" Promo Stupid?

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"Rango" courtesy Paramount Pictures
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"Rango," the animated tale of chameleon's quest to "find himself" finally knocked the pirouetting horror show of "Black Swan" out of the top of the box office over the weekend, but a promotion associated with the animal-friendly film has some enemies in the form of an animal rights group.

PETA is raising objections to PetSmart, the national pet store chain, for their "Rango" promo, which is offering shoppers $10 off on the purchase of reptiles if you bring in your "Rango" ticket stub, explains ecorazzi. So isn't adopting and care for pets a good thing?

Apparently not:

The cash savings, in addition to the Rango-cuteness-overload, might increase the demand for chameleons — which may in turn, increase: the number of reptile eggs harmed in illegal transport; instances of death (or misery) for reptiles whose extraordinary captivity needs are not met; and the spread of disease in humans, including salmonellosis.
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To urge the chameleon craziness to stop before it starts, PETA is asking Paramount Pictures to end the PetSmart promotion, and is urging other activists to contact the studio, too. In their Action Alert, PETA explains that the PetSmart promo goes against the spirit of the movie's plot:

This promotion flies in the face of the message of the movie—an animated feature about a chameleon who is freed from a boring life in a terrarium in captivity and winds up on an identity quest cleaning up a corrupt town in the Mojave Desert—and could be a death sentence for these small, delicate animals if they are purchased on impulse.

For their part, PetSmart put out a press release timed with the film's March 4 release touting themselves as a source for pet information, and outlining the considerations for adopting a reptile. Says John Gerstenberger, Specialty Pets Expert at PetSmart:

"Our goal is to be the source for the appropriate education and information about caring for reptiles for anyone who is considering adding these special pets to their family. From cost and time commitments to behaviors, nutrition and habitats, our specially trained pet care associates have the information and expertise to help people make informed decisions about what pet, if any, is right for them."