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The Beat of Gaia's Heart

eBay, Listen Up!

Well, I used to like eBay. A lot. Found a lot of good things there, everything from koala-print fabric from a lovely seller in Australia to handmade teddy bears from an amazing teddy bear artist in the U.S. Participated in some great charity auctions there, too. But my eBay days are over -- at least until the company gets the message that allowing the sale of animals through online classified ads is Bad. For. Business.

Apparently that's the only message that will get through, because they don't seem to care about the health and welfare of the animals sold through these ads. A long time ago, eBay tried to allow the sale of live animals through its regular auctions, until the public outcry against such a practice woke them up to the fact that the public didn't like the fact that they were providing the ideal environment for puppy millers and backyard breeders to flourish.

And that, as I'm sure you already know, is one of the most heinous environments for the pets we love and cherish that there is -- it ranks right up there with dogfighting and laboratory testing. Dogs and cats living in mills are undernourished; deprived of medical treatment, decent living conditions, the ability to play in the grass -- many never leave their cages till the day they die -- or know the comfort of a loving companion; and exist only to pop out more puppies or kittens until the miller decides they're not profitable enough any longer and either kills them or simply tosses them away like so much garbage.

Guess what, eBay? Those people are now using your classified ads to sell their puppies and kittens. Bad move.

Puppies and kittens from mills are poorly socialized, taken from their mothers too young, often sick with contagious or congenital diseases; they suffer from inbreeding, deformities, and other ills; and they often die very young, leaving heartbroken people who wonder how anyone could be so cruel to the only source of unconditional love we have in this world.

I've written a lot about puppy mills in the past. I thought we were making progress on the issue. New laws and regulations have been passed in many states to help protect our companion animals. But when a company as big and influential as eBay makes an end run around the law by allowing classified ads for the sale of puppies and kittens and other animals in a completely unregulated environment, that sets the cause of humane animal treatment back light-years.

eBay has made a wishy-washy response to other animal bloggers who uncovered the problem. It natters on about how eBay has safeguards in place to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals, and claims it will remove any sellers who abuse its rules. Hogwash, I say. How will eBay even know if violations occur? For every one that gets reported, there will be plenty more that aren't. Think about all the animal suffering that will aid and abet. Are you actually going to those sellers, eBay, and making sure that the animals are healthy? Aren't being sold too young? Don't have congenital defects or contagious illnesses? Come from healthy, loved parents? Have had access to vet care when they needed it? I don't think so.

If you want to learn more about why their response means nothing, check out these blogs and articles:

So I've made a decision. Unless or until eBay halts all classifieds that offer live animal sales, I will not be buying anything on eBay.

If you love animals, you might want to consider how you feel about this issue, and what, if anything, you might want to do. I've made my decision.
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