People and companion animals across the United States have a reason to celebrate today!

We’ve been waiting for this for a long time.

And so have the animals.

I’m so happy to announce that this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture just announced plans to ensure that large-scale breeding facilities that sell puppies, kittens and other warm-blooded animals over the Internet are finally subject to federal inspections and oversight!

Until now, a significant regulatory loophole has made it possible for puppy mills and other unscrupulous profiteers to exploit the internet to sell and ship companion animals without any scrutiny, allowing them to maximize profit at the great expense of animal welfare and lie to consumers about their “humane” treatment of the animals.

Looking at the infographic above, it is obvious that the internet has changed the way in which commerce takes place across the globe, and the trade in animals is no exception.

In a 2012 investigation conducted by IFAW, How Much is that Doggie in my Browser, it was discovered that in just one day over 700,000 puppies were available for sale online by nine different retailers.

The one-day investigation focused on over 12,000 advertisements representing a total of over half a million puppies for sale on nine major buyer-seller Internet websites on just one day. Six of these sites are dedicated primarily to the puppy market and three offer puppies amongst a variety of other commodities.

Employing the criteria set forth by a panel of experts, investigators further isolated the nearly 10,000 ads from the six puppy-specific websites and found that 62% of the ads qualified as “likely puppy mills.”

As a strong supporter of cracking down on abusive online trade in animals, IFAW supported both the PUPS act which would also have closed this now defeated loophole, eBay’s decision to implement its ban on selling Ivory, and Etsy’s recent move to ban the sale of Ivory and all other endangered wildlife parts.

It is obvious that the internet has changed the way in which commerce takes place across the globe, and the trade in animals is no exception.

While IFAW strongly advocates against purchasing any animal over the Internet and instead urges consumers to adopt directly from local shelters, rescue groups or reputable local breeders, the fact that now large-scale breeders will be subject to federal regulation when they attempt to sell over the Internet is a huge step forward.

We would like to thank all of our members for their continued support of the work that IFAW does to stand up for the welfare of animals across the United States and beyond! This rulemaking proves that with the help of our supporters, our work does make a difference on a large scale.

--TC

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Experts

Cora Bailey
Director, Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW)
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Dr. Ian Robinson, Vice President, Programs & Int'l Operations
Vice President, Programs & Int'l Operations
Gail A'Brunzo, IFAW Wildlife Rescue Manager
Wildlife Rescue Manager, IFAW HQ
Hanna Lentz, Program Officer/Campaigner, IFAW HQ
Program Officer/Campaigner, IFAW HQ
Jan Hannah
Northern Dogs Project Manager
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Companion Animals
Program Director, Companion Animals
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Nancy Barr, Program Director, Animal Action Education
Program Director, Animal Action Education
Rebecca Brimley, Program Advisor
Program Advisor
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters