eBay under fire for live animal sales

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eBay, the world’s leading e-commerce company, is under fire from animal advocates, as more than 50,000 Americans have signed their name in support of a campaign calling on eBay Classifieds to shut down its live animal listings and take a stand against puppy mills.

In a January 16, 2011 post, the Two Little Cavaliers blog urged animal lovers to contact eBay Classifieds — part of the San Jose, California-based eBay corporation — to shut down its live animal listings. This grassroots campaign is being supported by Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing social change platform with more than 3 million monthly readers.

The petition calls on eBay Classifieds to end its live animal listings out of concern that the site is providing a marketplace for puppy mills and unethical breeders to deceive consumers. Puppy mills are commercial breeders who mass-produce animals under inhumane conditions, resulting in heath and behavior problems that buyers often don’t discover until after they’ve taken
their new pet home. Internet anonymity, like that provided by eBay, makes it difficult to hold the people responsible for these abuses

“eBay is putting pets and consumers at risk,” said Stephanie Feldstein, an Editor at Change.org. “eBay listened to activists’ concerns when it came to keeping live animals out of their online auctions, but with eBay Classifieds, they’ve left the back door open for puppy mills and unethical breeders to find unsuspecting customers on their site.”

More than half a dozen pet bloggers have featured the Change.org petition on their websites, joining the campaign to end eBay’s pet listings.

“The pet blogging community’s dedication to protecting animals and pet owners is incredible,” said Feldstein. “Change.org is about empowering individuals to fight for the change they want to see in the world, and the tens of thousands of animal lovers and activists signing this petition have made it clear that they want to see eBay Classifieds end its live animal sales.”

Several years ago, eBay considered the creation of a live animals auction category. Following protests from animal activists against allowing unscrupulous breeders on the site, eBay decided to maintain its policy against live animal listings. But eBay Classifieds gives those same unethical breeders a marketplace.

Last week, the Calgary Herald reported multiple recent cases of puppy-buyers who had been the victims of deceptive listings on Kijiji, eBay Classifieds’ international subsidiary, prompting the Calgary Humane Society to issue a warning against buying and selling animals through online marketplaces. Humane organizations caution that it’s not unusual for well-intentioned consumers to be deceived into buying sick or abused animals over the internet. (Read more on this story at Change.org.)

Although eBay Classifieds’ policy does not allow breeders with “a history of non-compliance inspections with the USDA” to list on their site, there is a loophole in federal law that allows kennels selling directly to consumers via online or classified ads to bypass USDA oversight. As a result, conscientious consumers are misled into believing that sellers on eBay Classifieds have been subject to inspections to ensure that their animals are treated humanely.

Animal activists argue that it’s impossible for the company to monitor the health or welfare of animals listed on its site, and they believe the only way for eBay to stop supporting animal cruelty is by shutting down its pet listings or expanding its partnership with Petfinder.com to allow adoption listings only.

Not a fan of eBay’s current policies? Want to make a difference? Start by adding your name to the petition below.

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29 thoughts on “eBay under fire for live animal sales”

  1. You don’t bid for pets, this is Ebay Classifieds and Kijiji,they’re more like online classifieds, sort of like placing an ad in a newspaper. I don’t think they should be shut down, but I definitely think it needs to be more closely monitored and there need to be more rules. I’ve seen good, reputable, small scale breeders (who do genetic testing and have contracts stating they’ll take the dog back for any reason), who advertise there occasionally and I don’t think they should be punished because of puppymills. In a previous post someone mentioned the should get together with petfinder, which is an awesome idea. Maybe only registered breeders and registered animal rescues should be able to advertise. I do see WAY too many byb and puppymills listing animals for sale to unsuspecting people and it needs to stop. I have at least three friends/family members who have bought puppymill dogs, who have been fooled into believing their from reputable breeders.

    Sounds like the Uk has it right (previous comment), the US and Canada need to get on board too!

    • Thank you Melissa for recognizing there are two parts to this story. Good breeders and abusive breeders. Puppy Mills must be shut down so that no more dogs suffer the horrible treatment from those people who mass produce dogs. I refuse to call them breeders because what they really are, are puppy manufacturing plants with no regard to the welfare of the parents or the health of the litters. On the flip side are good breeders that truly love their dogs and their breed and would never subject their dogs to such treatment. Although I don’t think that responsible breeders would advertise in this way, we still need to avoid lumping them into the same category as the abusive puppy mill producers. Making adoption dogs available on the site is a great idea but we also need to avoid vilifying all breeders. I believe there is room in our dog loving community for mixed breeds and pure so long as all, are loved and properly cared for.


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