Ebay has a dirty little secret. While its flagship Ebay marketplace runs a tight ship, it also runs a Canadian-based classified website, Kijiji, that allows the trafficking of animals.
The site takes no step to verify ethical breeding practices, resulting in many of the animals coming from 'puppy mills'. Animal rights activists have been trying to stop the practice for years, but refuses to do so.
Canadian librarian Barbara Lapointe has gathered more than 104,000 signatories to a petition asking Kijiji to stop allowing pet sales on the site.
Ethics professionals say the sale of pets, especially from unlicensed breeders, results in cruelty and irresponsible breeding.
Adoptions from registered shelters and rescue organizations is the preferred method of coming to own a pet.
Ebay's current policy allows vendors to make huge profits by selling pets produced in dog or cat mills and other unsanitary, mass-production facilities.
So far the practice of condoning such sales has cost Ebay six advertisers, including Toyota Canada and two of the country’s major banks.
While Ebay profits from the cruel practice, Craigslist and other classified sites refuse to allow breeders to post ads in order to protect animals.
Ebay spokesman Shawn McIntyre said the company feel unscrupulous breeders would simply find a new home for their ads, in an argument reminiscent of one used commonly by drug dealers. If I didn't do it, they argue, someone else would.
And yet the Ebay-owned company does not allow ads for escorts, despite other marketplaces online offering these services.
Clearly the company feels that as long as it isn't illegal, its fair game for profit. And yet this stance is inconsistent with Ebay's main marketplace, which bans numerous legal items on ethical grounds.
“The problem is it’s really easy for unethical breeders to disguise themselves online,” the petition reads. “There is no way Kijiji would be able to catch all the bad posts. If thousands of us send messages to them, I’m sure they’ll do the right thing.”
“I think it contributes to the purchase of dogs coming from horrible, cruel and inhumane conditions,” Lapointe said of Kijiji’s policy.