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Better regulation needed for the online advertising of pets

Better regulation needed for the online advertising of pets

With the huge increase in internet use over the past few years, many citizens now choose to purchase their pets via online adverts. The online sale of pets in the EU is completely unregulated. This leads to animal welfare standards suffering as a result of sellers not listing key information regarding their welfare, and buyers purchasing animals without understanding their specific welfare needs and requirements.

The EU Dog & Cat Alliance, through our EU Pet Advertising Advisory Group (EUPAAG) project, supported by Blue Cross, is helping animal welfare organisations in creating individual Pet Advertising Advisory Groups (PAAGs)4 in different Member States to improve the situation through self-regulation. Through EUPAAG we are working to ensure that as many websites as possible across the EU sign up to voluntary standards and advertise the sale of pets in a responsible way. For more information about EUPAAG see our page.

In 2019 the European Commission published the results of their Coordianted Control Plan (CCP). The aim of the CCP was to gain insights into misleading and fraudulent practices, and into the volume of dogs and cats being sold via the internet across the EU. The results from the study showed that there were a range of issues with the online advertising of pets for sale across Europe including underage animals, unvaccinated animals, animals in poor health, false identification documents and illegal transport. Member States suggested that more should be done to educate potential pet buyers, publish standards for classified advertising websites and create partnerships between stakeholders to tackle the problem. The EU Dog & Cat Alliance is thus reinforced in our commitment to EUPAAG and working with the European Commission and Member States to tackle some of these issues through setting up Pet Advertising Advisory Groups and sharing best practice. 

We call on the EU institutions to support the work of EUPAAG as a  way of addressing the increasing problem of inappropriate dog and cat adverts appearing on classified advertising websites and social media.