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Old 11-07-2021, 04:19 PM   #1
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Default Opinions on hamster shows?

I've owned hamsters for 5 years. (with a 2 year break in between!) and I found out about hamster shows through strong brew hamstery's instagram.. a month ago. Seeing "(animal)" and "show" in the same sentence irked me. Are these ethical or safe? What goes on in these shows?
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Old 11-07-2021, 06:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Opinions on hamster shows?

I have seen these shows and am a big fan of Strongbrew so I may be biased but I personally see nothing wrong with them.
Strongbrew as a breeder take their ethics extremely seriously. Their mother hamsters usually only have 2 litters before they're retired and adopted out to suitable homes. They take extremely good care of their pets and are a huge part of the Ontario Hamster Club- a group that has a great reputation and works to spread accurate information and care guides for all hamsters. Considering all these things I do not see how they would participate in something that would be unsafe or unethical. If I'm not mistaken the Ontario Hamster Club actually is the one that runs the shows and SBH has been on the judge team in the past.

Here is more on the standards class judging.

Here is some information about the show from the OHC itself

There is a small entry fee for each hamster and for each visitor that goes towards prizes and the OHC to further gather and spread accurate information on hamster care.
Hamsters are looked over by a small animal vet and those that are suspected of neglect or otherwise poor care are immediately disqualified.

The standards class is judged partially based on the aforementioned previous OHC list as well as health and temperament. There is also a pet class where the hamsters are judged only on overall health and temperament. The way they test temperament is by lifting up the hamster and allowing it to walk from hand to hand. Hamsters that are very squirmy or bite are docked points while those that calmly walk along the hands are given higher rankings.

This is all specifically the one show so I'm sure not all shows have these exact rules and such. However I'm fairly certain most hamster shows are run by hamster clubs that are equally invested in furthering care and breeders working to produce happy and healthy pets. I'm sure there are shows that do things poorly or unsafely but I haven't heard of them as of yet. Hamster shows are a pretty niche thing too so it's a lot less likely for them to be run by random unqualified folks.
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Old 11-08-2021, 01:35 AM   #3
Ria P
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Default Re: Opinions on hamster shows?

Here's my opinion:

I went to a hamster show once and expected stalls with suitable hamster supplies and information about proper hamster care.

What i found was tables full of hamsters kept in small holding boxes and a row of small cages for sale.

It was interesting to look at all the different coat colours but i couldn't help feeling sorry for the hamsters who should have been at home and asleep in the comfort of their own nests.

The hamsters get examined by a panel of judges and get put on some kind of a rack thing for closer inspection. If the hamster scores enough points then the owner wins a rosette.

My opinion is that hamster shows are for the benefit of humans and interrupt a hamster's routine.

Last edited by Ria P; 11-08-2021 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 11-08-2021, 05:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Opinions on hamster shows?

Depends on your own personal definition of 'ethical'

I personally do not think it is 'ethical' to box up a hamster to take it to a show, during the day, just so people can show off their hamsters. It is not at all for the benefit of the hamster but the humans.
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Old 03-17-2022, 04:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Opinions on hamster shows?

Now that I've been to a hamster show, I think I would like to give my input.

My area has no hamsters. Nobody owns hamsters, nobody breeds hamsters and nobody rehomes hamsters. The nearest hamster to me (apart from pet store hamsters) that needed rehoming was over 70 miles away, in a completely different county, costing over 80 pounds on the train. It didn't feel right to go that far and back on a train with a hamster, and I wanted to wait for one to become available in my area.

Someone here told me that the Southern Hamster Club was hosting a show nearby, and so I went. I've never been to a show before, so it was definitely interesting to see. On some tables there were countless rows of tiny boxed up hamsters that were on show for their coats and pelts. Another table had pet hamster that were there to be judged, and another table had some available for sale.

It didn't feel good looking at all the stressed hamsters. Some were pacing back and fourth, scratching at the wall of the cage, whilst others were curled up in balls.

Ultimately, the show only lasts a few hours before it's all shut down. For the first few hours, people come and look at the hamsters, perhaps buy second hand cages and toys. Then at 12 there was the judging. The judges will hold a hamster for a couple minutes before putting it back in their enclosure and ticking a few things off their list. The winner earns a bag of bedding or food or something and the whole things done. And since there were so many breeder hamsters, as opposed to the 10 pet hamsters, the judges were judging the breeder hamsters throughout the time I spent there.

I do not think it is ethical as it is right now. However, I think as new generations of people come about, each one learning more and more towards proper pet care, I think it could genuinely be a good thing. I'm glad I went as I managed to get my little boy, however I can't really justify the rosette-winning breeder hamsters. Their cages were no more than 20cm, if that, and it didn't feel right to have them in there for 5+ hours on minimal cat litter bedding.

In reptile shows, they use one-way boxes to reduce the stress of the pet. I think this could potentially be implemented into rodent shows, too. Also, I think these shows could even start later. The show I attended started at 9am, which isn't ideal for hamsters. Even having a show start at 5pm and ending at 10pm is significantly more ideal for them.

These shows are good for providing access to well-bred hamsters in areas with no breeders. They are also good for allowing people to see different types of hamsters. I am not sure if any animal show is ever ideal, but they do have their benefits.
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Old 10-11-2023, 09:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Opinions on hamster shows?

I think there's certainly ways to make hamster shows as fun for the hamster as dog shows are for some dogs but we're not there yet
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