More than 100,000 animal lovers have signed a petition on Change.org, demanding that eBay Classifieds removes its pets section, claiming that the Silicon Valley company is not equipped to regulate unscrupulous buyers and sellers.
Stephanie Feldstein, the author of the petition, said that she views it as a double standard that eBay will no longer allow live pet sales on its auction site in the face of overwhelming public outcry, but is continuing the sales in its classifieds.
For its part, eBay sent SF Weekly a statement:
At eBay we take all concerns from our community seriously and recognize that animal welfare is an extremely important issue. The inherently local nature of eBay Classifieds, which fosters in-person meetings, offers a more responsible way of finding a new pet. Because we recommend that buyer and seller meet face-to-face to see the animal's parents, buyers can be sure sales are not taking place at a puppy or kitten mill, and sellers can ensure the pet is going to a good home. Working in collaboration with The Humane Society of the United States, eBay Classifieds developed guidelines for the sale of pets on the site. Any ad in the pet category that does not comply with applicable laws, including laws set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as well as the Animal Welfare Act, will be removed immediately from eBay Classifieds.
According to the petitioners, the Animal Welfare Act does not account for sellers who deal directly online. They also say it may be too late by the time eBay investigates a seller whose post is flagged by the community.
We asked eBay how it accounts for sales that aren't local and how exactly it cracks down on those who don't meet the Humane Society's guidelines, but have not heard back yet. We will update you when we find out more.