Protect Animals by Regulating the Online Pet Market

Target: Clarissa Baldwin, Chairman of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group

Goal: Convince the United Kingdom to implement stronger online pet market standards

Online pet market and classified ad regulations in the United Kingdom have recently come under pressure after an animal rights group discovered an abundance of sad and often disturbing advertisements. It is bad enough that animals are being sold online in the same manner as clothing or furniture, but weak regulations put these animals in even more danger. The standards for these markets must be strengthened immediately.

Thousands of advertisements for pets are listed on websites across the UK every day. The Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), an organization composed of leaders from the UK’s top animal welfare groups and agencies was shocked at what their research uncovered. Clarissa Baldwin, chairman of PAAG, said “Our research has revealed some truly terrible examples where animal welfare was clearly the last thought in the mind of the advertiser. Every day we hear from people who have bought an animal online only for it to fall sick or die soon after.” In response, the group has established a set of minimum standards they are pushing the government to endorse. The ultimate goal is not only to improve animal welfare, but also protect members of the public who are at risk of ending up with dangerous, sick, or illegal animals.

Among those PAAG found were ads for the exchange of a tortoise for a watch, a “fighting dog with teeth,” a puppy offered in exchange for a phone, and several for rare or illegal animals.  There are 18 minimum standards in total, which have already been endorsed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the minister for animal welfare. Included are automated checks for blacklisted words and phrases such as those of wild or illegal animals, filters for inappropriate ads, requiring vendors to include recent photographs of the animals they are advertising, no swapping with other pets, services or goods.

Websites that comply with these standards will be listed on the PAAG website as the ethical to find a pet online. “We would prefer people not to buy pets online, but would advise that if you are doing so that you check that the website adheres to PAAG’s minimum standards,” added Baldwin.

Please sign the petition below to show your support for PAAG and demand that the UK government endorse the standards they have established so that animals will be protected from online marketplaces.


Dear Clarissa Baldwin,

Along with the PAAG, you recently established a set of standards that would protect both animals and citizens from the online pet market. It is sad that animals are being traded online like commodities. Many of these ads, as those you have highlighted have shown, are often disturbing and illegal.

Thank you so much for your commitment to protecting these animals and ensuring that they receive what welfare they can. I hope the government will soon endorse these 18 standards and pets throughout the UK are no longer treated as goods and services.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: reader of the pack via Flickr

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  1. renee jeanine ragno says:

    I simply don’t understand…with all the outcry about mills and overbreeding and the resulting deaths, how people can do this whether its breeding or buying. All of this MUST be stopped.

  2. Jeya Nandagopan says:

    I do not support online pet markets. This must be STOPPED.

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