Vets welcome commitment from leading UK online marketplaces to new pet advertising standards

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed commitments made this week by the UK’s leading online marketplaces, including Gumtree, Preloved and Pets4Homes, to sign up to new best-practice advertising standards for pets advertised for sale online.

Alongside the minimum legal requirements for pets advertised online, the 26 voluntary standards will help classified websites crack down on misleading, illegal or unethical adverts. This will improve animal welfare and help prevent unsuspecting buyers from getting ‘petfished’, where unscrupulous sellers pretend the pet they are selling is from a happy home, when in reality they have been bred or kept in poor conditions.

The new Advertising Standards were launched today (30 June) by the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), a leading group of animal welfare organisations, trade associations and veterinary bodies including BVA. The group has been engaging with popular UK pet classifieds websites for over two decades to help websites better moderate the online pet marketplace.

Responding to the new standards, British Veterinary Association Senior Vice President Justine Shotton said:

“Online marketplaces are extremely popular and so the commitment of these websites to the new advertising standards is hugely positive, and we hope other websites follow suit. Together, we can continue our work to rein in the Wild West nature of buying and selling pets online and make sure that animal welfare and buyer safety are front and centre.

“With these standards, websites will now block sellers from advertising animals with illegal mutilations like docked tails and cropped ears, banned breeds and prohibited species, underage kittens and puppies, or even postal deliveries for live vertebrates. They will also crack down on sellers advertising animals frequently without a local authority licence.

“Anyone thinking of buying a pet should always take the extra time to consider if they will be able to look after the animal’s health and welfare requirements. If an ad does not share basic information such as a photo, age, country of origin and relevant health tests, you should flag it to the website and be prepared to walk away to avoid dodgy sellers and animals that might have a poor quality of life because of how they have been bred.”

BVA has been actively involved in drafting the new advertising standards and will continue to support PAAG’s important work. The websites currently engaging with PAAG and who have committed to meet the Advertising Standards are:

  • Gumtree
  • Pets4Homes
  • Preloved
  • Puppy Choices
  • Friday Media Group
  • Freeads
  • Forever Puppy
  • Wightbay

For more information on the new PAAG Advertising Standards and advice on buying a pet responsibly, see:

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