The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has teamed up with online retailers Amazon and eBay to crack down on products for sale on their sites by third-party sellers that are advertised for use during illegal procedures such as tail docking and declawing.
BVA contacted both retailers after being made aware of products intended for lamb castration being marketed for tail docking of puppies by several sellers on both websites. Research also uncovered at least one DIY kit being marketed on eBay UK for the removal of dew claws in kittens.
Tail docking of dogs and dew claw removal in kittens are considered to be mutilations in England and Wales under the Animal Welfare Act (2006) and the equivalent Acts in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Barring some exemptions in both cases – such as removal of the tail or the dew claw of a cat by a vet for medical reasons or for certain breeds of working dogs – there are “no circumstances in which it is legal for non-vets to undertake this procedure”.
Both Amazon and eBay have since removed the flagged listings. Earlier this year, the websites had removed DIY ear cropping kits from sale following an urgent letter from BVA.
BVA President Malcolm Morley said, “We took action after being made aware by members about the false advertising of legal products for the illegal purpose of puppy tail docking. Our research also found listings for cat dew claw removal kits being sold by retailers via eBay.
“We’re pleased to see swift and positive action by the two major retailers and will continue to work collaboratively with them to strengthen checks on products, or their marketing, that can harm animal welfare.”
“I’d encourage vets and members of the public to raise concerns with retailers if they come across similar listings online in the future. Where such functionality exists, they may also use the websites’ online reporting mechanism to log a complaint.”
Murray Lambell, eBay UK General Manager, said, “We are pleased that our proactive work is preventing the sale of these harmful items. We have put automatic block filters in place, which aim to prevent these products making it onto site in the first place, and our security teams perform regular checks to ensure nothing slips through the net.
“We will also continue to work closely with the BVA to make sure that we stop the sale of any product that may harm any animal.”