Ebay’s New Outlet for Puppy Mill Sales, Classified Ads

by Mary Haight on February 17, 2011

Image representing eBay as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

It all began when Ebay, driven by public outcry, shut down the sale of pets on their auction site.  There was a flurry of news about what good corporate citizens they were, how they had no clue their customers would not want to see live animals for sale on their site, or what was behind customers’ concerns. Now that they knew about heinous puppy mills, they would not allow that practice on Ebay ever again…except when they did.  That juicy wedge of revenue was just too tasty to pass up.  Ebay Classifieds entered the picture and became the depository for all puppy mill, bad breeder ads.  It was a great place to hide their profitable pet connection.  There’s nothing innocent in what they did here.

Now Ebay’s making claims of safeguarding the animals, checking they are not being shipped before 8 weeks, blah blah blah.  No one is taken in by this spin. However, puppy mills everywhere commend them for services rendered.

While Ebay administrators are busy amending the words on their site, the animals they allow to be sold in their classifieds will continue to suffer. This marketplace should be shut down. It’s the only way to stop the 24/7/365 cruelty of puppy mills, stop the killing of perfectly healthy pets at shelters, stop this heinous practice.

Online sales of animals is a regulatory Wild West.  Any animal you buy online is suspect. The ASPCA has a good page of information on this issue, and this quote will underscore the dangers of internet sales:

The AWA [Animal Welfare Act] was passed in 1966, prior to the Internet boom—lawmakers couldn’t foresee that commercial breeders would someday have the ability to sell directly to the public via the Internet. This loophole allows some puppy mills to operate without a license and without fear of inspection—meaning they are not accountable to anyone for their breeding and care standards. According to a recent ASPCA survey, 89 percent of all “breeders” selling over the Internet are unlicensed by USDA

 Any good breeder will insist on an interview with you, and you should insist on meeting them, seeing the home they are raised in, meeting the parents of the litter, getting proof of genetic testing, checking the contract and return policy–just a few of the highlights. (Check with Best Friends on how to differentiate good from bad breeders.)

I see from Stephanie Feldstein’s update a few days ago that cosmetic changes have been made to Ebay’s classifieds, with safety warnings about buying and selling pets online. Please take up the challenge to shake Ebay’s executives awake on this issue once and for all (we can only hope); click the link  and sign the petition.  There are 12,161 signatures at this writing.  We are pushing for 15,000 hopefully much more. They need to know this matters. Will you help?

 The petition banner  is in the right margin. The animals will thank you!  Ebay can always, as Feldstein suggests, partner with Petfinder, and I would add Adopt-a-Pet.  Lead, don’t follow – join the adoption revolution Ebay!

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