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FOUR PAWS demands strict standards for online pet trade on eBay’s classified ad sites

Update 16/11/2017 - eBay's response

Following our recent letter to the CEO of eBay, FOUR PAWS has now received a reply. Sadly, the response is what we expected, but not what we wanted:


 “We strongly believe that animal welfare should be addressed on a local level…Each of our local teams is more than happy to engage with FOUR PAWS to discuss the suggested standards.” - eBay response. 


This may sound like an acceptable answer, but eBay has for some time attempted to deflect the responsibility for this issue onto its local entities, such as Gumtree in Australia. We have tried this time and time again, with little success. We are now intent on finding a global solution, which eBay has the power to achieve.


FOUR PAWS understands that classified ad sites wish to offer a simple platform for people to buy and sell locally. However, the anonymous, online nature of eBay’s classified sites means it is at risk of becoming a haven for the unscrupulous puppy trade.


See the full response from eBay here.


Update 04/10/2017

Online classified ad sites can be used to disguise the true source of animals offered for sale, and the conditions under which they have been bred, raised and transported. FOUR PAWS has been researching and investigating activities related to the pet trade on eBay classified ad sites over the last three years and has found evidence of illegal, irresponsible and suspicious selling of animals.

eBay, as one of the largest providers of online classified ad sites with eleven classified sites world-wide including Gumtree, Marktplaats, eBay Kleinanzeigen, is, sadly, still part of the problem, rather than being part of the solution.

FOUR PAWS CEO has now sent a letter to the CEO of eBay urging the company to commit to implementing three fundamental standards by 2018, namely:

  1. Introduction of seller identify verification for animal sales
  2. Introduction of an animal welfare policy with rules regarding animal sales
  3. Enforcement of both these standards


You can find the letter to eBay’s CEO here. DOWNLOAD.


Please see further details about the three standards, which have also been sent to eBay here. DOWNLOAD.


It’s getting more and more common to buy pets online via classified ads sites. No matter, if you are seeking a puppy, a kitten, a rabbit or a even a horse. The worldwide online trade of animals is booming. However, poor regulations have allowed many classified ads sites to become a haven for deception and animal suffering. This is a major problem, as many sites fail to meet the required standards for protecting animals sold online, as well as the people looking for a pet. It’s in the hands of global companies such as eBay who own 11 classified ad sites around the world (including Gumtree), to change that and lead the way . 

Update 20/09/2017 

We are currently re-structuring the Pet Deception website. Soon, we will have a new tool available to support our efforts in protecting pets and people online!


We would also like to inform you that we are continuing our dialogue with eBay and other classified ad sites. We shall keep you updated as to how the negotiations develop, through our social media platforms.


*For operators of classified ad sites: if improvements on your site were implemented please get in touch with your FOUR PAWS’s contact person or contact us via .