Alex Fynes-Clinton ; From:The Sunday Mail (Qld) ; February 12, 2012
NET THREAT: Animal welfare experts are worried at the growing trade in pets on websites without checks. Source: Herald Sun
PUPPIES and kittens are being discarded for as little as $1 in barely regulated online animal trades.
Classifieds websites like Gumtree and Tradingpost are advertising animals for sale or swap without background checks of sellers.
In extreme cases, advertisers were offering to swap household items for pets.
“It’s ridiculous. If people are willing to simply pay $1 or swap a puppy for a kid’s pee wee motorbike, it would really suggest there’s no compulsion on behalf of the new owner to place any value on the dog at all,” said Dogs Queensland Government Liaison Officer Mark Sheppard.
“There is nothing there to protect the buyers from these backyard dealers. They would have no comprehension of health problems, hereditary defects or testing regimes.”
Online sales giant eBay Australia has banned animal sales from their website, citing puppy farming operations as a major concern.
“Ultimately the trade of animals and wildlife products is so highly regulated, that we felt it was a wiser option to prohibit the sales,” said eBay spokeswoman Jenny Thomas.
Tradingpost spokeswoman Sarah Green said sellers were subject to state regulations, but would not reveal how advertisements were checked by staff.
“We educate and inform both buyers and sellers about the issues of the animal industry,” she said.
Gumtree’s Nat Thomas also couldn’t disclose how regularly ads were checked, but said users were encouraged to report illegal activity.