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Thanks eBay!

People can sell anonymously on eBay’s classified ad sites, including Gumtree, making it very easy to sell sick, underage and mistreated animals. eBay knows that besides responsible users there are also a number of cruel breeders and ruthless traders using its sites to conduct their business – but it is not doing enough to deal with the problem. So far eBay has failed to take part in any meaningful discussions with FOUR PAWS.


Help push them into action! 


Read our proposed measures for the online pet trade here!


Update 16/03/2018


For months FOUR PAWS has been campaigning to call on eBay to do more to restrict the cruel anonymous pet trade taking place on its classified ad sites! Now we have eBay’s latest response, which shifts responsibility over to its customers rather than recognising eBay’s duty to protect both the animals being sold on its platforms and the unwitting buyers being affected by this trade.


Read the full letter:

Update 16/11/2017 - eBay's response

Following our recent letter to the CEO eBay we have 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.”


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 2ème main in Belgium. 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.


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

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, to change that and lead the way . 

Update 14/12/2017

FOUR PAWS launches a new campaign against the illegal trade of animals online, #thanksebay. Sign our petition and help us convince eBay to take action!


FOUR PAWS is calling for the introduction of mandatory seller verification on all eBay’s classified ad sites to end the anonymous trade and to restore the trust of its users.


Read FOUR PAWS International Press Release.


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