Why puppies can make really bad Christmas presents
A LEADING animal protection group has urged people to take a stand against "puppy farms" in the lead-up to Christmas.
Four Paws Australia said it had become increasingly common for Australians to buy animals online through classified ads sites, especially those breeds considered "designer" and therefore attracting a high value.
That demand had given rise to unscrupulous animal breeders, who used animals as breeding machines with a focus on producing a high number of litters every year, only to be sold online.
A Four Paws spokesman said more than 45,000 animals were advertised on one popular website on one day alone.
"This is a major industry with little to no animal welfare regulation," she said.
"There is no way to tell where these animals are coming from, how they are being treated, or where they will end up.
"Urgent changes are needed to help protect the welfare of thousands of animals in Australia.
"Four Paws is urging people to contact classified ad sites and request them to end the anonymous selling of animals."
The spokesman said classified ad sites could do that through three simple steps including the introduction of verification of the seller identity, allowing only one seller account per person, per platform (to prevent the possibility to open several user accounts with different fake names) and to limit the number of animal ads for private sellers.
It was in the hands of global companies to change that and lead the way to help protect animals and new Australian pet owners who may unwittingly purchase sick animals," she said.
"Poor regulations have allowed many classified ads sites to become a safe haven for puppy farmers in Australia.
"The booming trade with young dogs is a serious problem. Animals can be bought at the click of a button, which leads to impulse purchases and high abandonment rates."
Four Paws Australia is also calling on online platforms to adopt recommended animal welfare standards.
This includes important criteria such as not selling puppies or kittens under eight weeks of age, not allowing animals to be swapped for other items and to not allow animals to be sold as "free" or for breeding purposes.
The Four Paws spokeman said the group advocated for adoption of animals from a shelter or rescue group as it not only saved the life of that animal but also contributed to the fight against animal overpopulation and homelessness.