Classifieds unite to improve online pet safety

Gumtree South Africa has today announced that they will, along with competitors OLX and Junk Mail Publishing, form part of a meeting to discuss the online pet trade via the respective platforms. The meeting, as an initiative by animal rights organisation Beauty Without Cruelty/Ban Animal Trading, aims to resolve issues surrounding the treatment of animals advertised on free platforms.

“We are pleased to have these three organisations around the table to address the issue of animal welfare,” says Smaragda Louw of Beauty Without Cruelty. “We’ve been in discussion with Gumtree, OLX and Junk Mail on separate occasions but this will be the first time all three will meet together.”

Claire Cobbledick of Gumtree South Africa says they would welcome suggestions that could potentially make their site more pet friendly. “We have already taken the first steps towards improving the site in terms of animal trade, taking Beauty Without Cruelty’s recommendations under advisement, and have already implemented stricter controls and measures in terms of online pet trading,” says Cobbledick. “We are very eager to put our heads together with other classifieds’ teams to see how we as an industry can be more conscientious when it comes to online pet trading and improve our processes.”

Cobbledick has that policies have been expanded to prohibit the trade of certain vulnerable dog breeds that may be subjected to dog fighting, as well as the sale of indigenous  species such as meerkats, chameleons and African pygmy hedgehogs, and feeder animals. “We urge our users to flag any ads or sellers that may be indicative of animal cruelty or mistreatment on the site,” says Cobbledick. “We work with law enforcement and animal welfare to investigate these ads on a case-by-case basis, but do rely solely on our users when it comes to reporting incidences that occur off-site.”

The three companies are set to meet mid-July.

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