FOUR PAWS #ThankseBay campaign celebrates success for animal welfare in UK 

Gumtree UK decides for crackdown on illegal puppy traders


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:

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 calling on eBay to introduce seller verification on all its classified sites.

Bullet Points:

  • 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

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FOUR PAWS Press contact 

Elise Burgess

Elise Burgess

Head of Communications

M: 0423 873 382

FOUR PAWS Australia
GPO Box 2845 

Main Phone: 1800 454 228

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.

Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.

With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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