18.07.2017 – FOUR PAWS joins new animal welfare group BelgPAAG to fight online illegal pet trade

Belgium, 18.07.2017 – The international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS is now part of the new animal welfare group BelPAAG (Belgian Pet Advertising Advisory Group) and will work jointly with the group to promote responsible pet advertising. Unscrupulous trading of puppies and other animals online is a growing concern across and outside Europe, due to the fact that no EU legal framework regarding online selling of pets exists, which makes this trend difficult to control.

Pierre SULTANA, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS in Brussels stated that, “we are looking forward to cooperating with BelPAAG and we will work towards a collaboration to further strengthening consumer awareness and to track down and regulate this sector. FOUR PAWS has been actively involved in tackling illegal online pet trade of classified ads since 2016, and has developed a set of measures to protect animals sold online. In addition, it has ranked the 42 classified sites which it researched according to these measures. FOUR PAWS, International Pet Deception campaign (www.petdeception.org) has so far shown tangible results with some classified ad sites, introducing the measures to make their sites safer for consumers and for the pets sold on their sites. This includes Belgium, as it plays a signicant role in tackling illegal trade of pets. In this regard, our EU office in Belgium has ranked the three main classified ads websites, with whom we liased to improve their rules".

From the outset, animal welfare organizations, trade associations and veterinary bodies in the UK joined the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), created in 2001. PAAG was established to combat and raise public awareness of irresponsible and unscrupulous selling and buying of pets online. The Belgian branch will establish a list of compliant websites based on IPAAG Minimum Standards, including providing important information on responsible buying of pets and providing a mechanism for the public to report adverts which do not meet IPAAG’s requirements. 

Julie Sanders Director of FOUR PAWS Companion Animals Program added that “it is important organisations join forces to lobby classified ad sites to introduce measures which protect animals being sold online. The lack of legislation in this area means that we need classified ad sites to take responsibility for ensuring that their sites are safe for both animals and consumers. One way to do this is to introduce the measures that have been developed by BelPAAG and FOUR PAWS. If introduced, these measures will not only help to reduce illegal activities, but also increase responsible selling and buying of pets online”.