Trade Organisations

Online pet advertising needs to be controlled

A puppy offered in a ‘swap for a mobile phone’ and a ‘fighting dog with big teeth’ are just two examples of the worst online pet advertisements being highlighted today by the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG).

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The group comprises of representatives from the UK’s leading animal welfare groups and specialist agencies who have to deal with the fall out of inappropriate advertising on a daily basis. Other examples have included pitbull puppy for sale; a golden retriever wanted for a swap with a Chihuahua; and a cat for sale in need of veterinary treatment for a badly damaged eye.

PAAG is launching a set of minimum standards for websites offering pets for sale. They have been developed to improve the welfare of the pets and to protect members of the public from the risk of ending up with sick, dangerous or even illegal animals. The standards have also been endorsed by Defra, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Lord de Mauley, the Minister for Animal Welfare, who gathered the leading online pet classified websites together today to discuss the need for urgent improvement.

From underage animals, banned breeds, illegally imported or endangered species, to animals offered in exchange for inanimate objects – online pet advertising in its current form appears to permit almost anything. PAAG members hope the standards will help improve the quality of websites’ systems to try to filter out unscrupulous advertisements.

Clarissa Baldwin, chairman of PAAG commented: “While we recognise that pets are commonly advertised online, it is still shocking to know that there are between 100,000 and 120,000 pet advertisements appearing on UK websites each day. The research undertaken by PAAG has revealed some truly terrible examples where animal welfare was clearly the last thought in the mind of the advertiser. We hope that the Minimum Standards will be just that, a minimum standard that a website must reach before posting advertisements for pets.”



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