My response to Mr. Matthew McKenzie
Aug 29, 2017 — Dear Mr. McKenzie,
Thank you for taking the time to answer my petition and for allowing me to share your response with the 124,600 people and 31 animal welfare organizations supporting this campaign.
We love that Kijiji’s goal is to bring together pets with people who want to give them loving homes. We never asked you to close your PETS section. Kijiji is a great site for our community – I used it to sell my kids’ toys - but it’s not the place for the commercial sale of animals. We need Kijiji Canada to help thousands of friendly and healthy pets waiting in shelters and in registered rescue groups across Canada to become adopted. We also need Kijiji to help individual families to carefully rehome their pets for a small adoption fee to ensure their future well-being.
Unfortunately, Kijiji is unable to distinguish between responsible breeders and those simply profiting from the sale of animals without regard to their welfare. The primary registry body for purebred dogs in Canada is The Canadian Kennel Club. Their first three golden rules to finding a reputable breeder, are to “always visit where the dogs are housed; make certain the dam (mother) is on the premises and available for you to see; and ask to see health certificates and records of visits to the veterinarian.” Anyone can say anything on a website and in an ad. Unless Kijiji has the capacity to visit all the breeding facilities that are posted on their site, it is impossible to truly filter problematic ads that come from irresponsible breeders. Too many people are misled by unethical animal breeders on Kijiji and too many animals with health problems, often because of the conditions under which they are raised and bred, are sold on this site.
If Kijiji feels the need to rely on the public to identify and flag problematic ads, it means there is a problem, which is that too many irresponsible breeders are, in fact, posting on Kijij and Kijiji’s staff alone cannot monitor them. Even if Kijiji bans someone from selling pets on their site, these people find ways around the ban by using fake names, different computers, and getting others to post ads on their behalf. Kijiji was aware that convicted animal abuser, Gail Benoit, continued to gain access to its site even though Kijiji banned her. Why can't Kijiji keep her banned even though she had a court order not allowing her to sell animals?
It’s great that Kijiji works with law enforcement agencies in the event that a transaction results in problems. But what about the emotional and financial burden too many Kijiji users go through when they discover that their beloved pet they got on Kijiji was sick, or having tried to contact the seller about it, had vanished without a trace? What can Kijiji and law enforcement agencies do about it?
Puppy mills and unethical breeders may continue to exist even if Kijiji Canada stops the commercial sale of animals on its site, but at least you would not give them an easy platform to thrive on. Secondhand marketplaces such as Used.ca, BuySellTrade.ca, letgoCanada and Craigslist do not allow profiting from the commercial sale of animals on their sites. As the leader of classifieds sites in Canada, Kijiji should set an example and exclude breeders from selling animals on its website, sending the message that animals should not be sold as just another item via classified ads.
Is it worth spending this amount of time and resources to scrutinize ads, as well as receiving all the bad press, when you could be instead spending it to bring together healthy pets with families and shelters who want to give them loving homes?
Thanks for listening.
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