Ebay doesn't allow live animals to be put up for auction, but on their classifieds site, animal sales are fair game. They are providing a vast marketplace for puppy mills to sell dogs and by doing this they are contributing to animal cruelty.
EBay claims that they have safeguards in place to protect the animals. But unless eBay is inspecting all of the operations listing pets for sale (because the USDA is not), and unless they're doing home visits on all of the people buying, how could they possibly protect the animals?
The answer: They can't. Ebay has given puppy mills a huge, unregulated platform to peddle cruelty. And it seems that they're hoping animal advocates won't notice.
Several years ago, the company planned a live animals category in their auctions. The public outcry was so strong that they abandoned the plan. But then eBay Classifieds came along, and apparently the company forgot that people didn't want to see live animals for sale on their site.
Remind eBay that people don't want to see live animals sold anywhere on their site, and ask them to shut down the live animal listings in eBay Classifieds.
Update: Ebay posted a response in the comments of the blog post about their pet sales. However, they continue to avoid the fact that online listings attract puppy mills and backyard breeders and that there is no way for them to ensure that animals come from reputable sources or end up in good homes.
In their response, eBay also referred to a partnership with Petfinder; however, if they want to help homeless pets find homes, then they should work with Petfinder to convert their services entirely to an adoption service rather than listing adoptable animals alongside puppy mill dogs.
Photo credit: Steven Arnold
The USDA has admitted that it does not sufficiently regulate commercial dog breeders that are USDA licensed and inspected, so how can eBay possibly ensure the thousands of breeders selling online via eBay Classifieds are reputable?
In a recently released report, the Humane Society United States cautions that puppy mills are poorly regulated and often sell their dogs via online classifieds. EBay is providing a vast marketplace for puppy mills to mislead unsuspecting consumers as well as contributing to animal cruelty by allowing these transactions to take place via their site.
There is no way for people selling animals over the internet to know whether the buyer at the other end is a suitable home or someone looking for animals to abuse, fight or sell into research. Responsible breeders don't sell animals sight unseen over the internet or list animals for sale as a classified ad.
Although you have a partnership with Petfinder, listing homeless pets for adoption alongside puppy mills and backyard breeders advertisements defeats the purpose and causes confusion. If you want to help adoptable pets find homes, then I encourage you to work with Petfinder to convert your pet listings entirely to an adoption service.
Ebay took the right stand when plans for live animal auctions were abandoned. I urge you to uphold that humane policy and shut down the live animals classified section or convert it to a Petfinder adoption service. Live animals shouldn't be sold anywhere on eBay. Please use the same criteria for eBay Classifieds as you used for eBay Auctions.