London, 13.08.2018 – Following a year of tireless campaigning by the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS to end the unrestricted sale of pets on classified advertising sites, animal welfare supporters can finally celebrate a major success: Leading classified advertising site Gumtree UK, owned by eBay, announced they would be introducing a mandatory paywall for people advertising pets on the site.
Joanna Randall, FOUR PAWS’ International Head of Companion Animal Campaigns, congratulated Gumtree UK for finally agreeing to take this vital step: “Gumtree has taken a groundbreaking step to ensure their site is safe for animals and people. We now implore eBay to look closely at the precedent Gumtree has set and consider replicating this approach across all its other classified ad sites to provide seller traceability and help combat the illegal pet trade globally.”
The paywall would mean that anyone advertising pets on Gumtree UK would first have to enter valid credit card details or a recognised PayPal account, a move which would, if implemented effectively, prevent people from selling puppies and other animals anonymously on the site. It would also enable authorities to trace sellers if they have carried out illegal activities, something which has not been possible to date.
Gumtree UK’s full statement on this new measure can be read here: https://help.gumtree.com/s/article/Protecting-Pets-by-Making-Our-Pets-Category-Harder-to-Use
The lucrative and unscrupulous puppy trade
The puppy trade is a highly lucrative and unscrupulous business in which “designer breed” puppies are subjected to immense cruelty to meet a surging demand for fashionable pups. Fuelled by an organised international network of puppy breeders and dealers, classified ad sites such as Gumtree have become a haven for their cruel trade.
Brought into the UK under the guise of being ‘home bred’ puppies, many of these young dogs originate from puppy farms in Eastern Europe and suffer from a variety of health issues. They are taken from their mothers far too early, not vaccinated properly and poorly socialised. FOUR PAWS’ investigations have shown how many unwitting families are being duped into buying sick, illegal and mistreated puppies.
Campaign against eBay
Last year, FOUR PAWS launched a campaign focusing on the US company eBay. The anonymity provided by numerous classified ad sites, such as Gumtree, offers ideal conditions for dubious pet traders. Research conducted by FOUR PAWS and statements of a former illegal puppy smuggler show that unscrupulous puppy traders use these platforms to sell sick and underage dogs from Eastern European puppy farms. Since launching the campaign, over 200,000 supporters have signed the FOUR PAWS petition on www.thanksebay.com calling on eBay to introduce seller verification on all its classified sites.
- Online classified ad giant Gumtree UK introduces mandatory paywall for anyone advertising pets in what could be a landmark victory for animal welfare
- Unrestricted online trade in pets has become one of the biggest animal welfare concerns in recent years
- Decision follows months of campaigning by FOUR PAWS as part of its #ThankseBay campaign against eBay Inc., which owns Gumtree and other leading classifieds ad sites around the world
FOUR PAWS is an international animal welfare organisation with headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Founded by Heli Dungler in 1988, the organisation strives to help animals in need with sustainable campaigns and projects. The work is based on substantiated research and scientific expertise as well as intensive national and international lobbying. FOUR PAWS focuses on animals that are directly under human influence: stray dogs and stray cats, farm animals, companion animals and wild animals including bears, big cats and orang-utans kept in inappropriate conditions. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Kosovo, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam, FOUR PAWS aims to help animals in need directly and quickly. www.four-paws.org.uk