Fri, Jul 11, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Online pet auction riles activists

LUCRATIVE BUSINESS An animal protection group says more than 10,000 animals are auctioned on the site daily, including kangaroos, raccoons and pigeons

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

An animal protection group yesterday condemned the trading of live pets on the nation's largest online-auction Web site, Yahoo!Kimo, and called on pet lovers to file their complaints via e-mail and boycott all the site's services.

"We strongly oppose the objectifying and selling of any living creature," said Buddhist Master Shih Chuan-fa (釋傳法), secretary-general of the Life Conservationist Association (關懷生命協會).

"Our ultimate goal with this campaign is to stop the trading of all animals and human beings," Shih said.

Realizing that this goal sounds a little bit far-fetched, Shih said that she hopes their appeal would put some moral pressure, from both the public and the media, on the service provider.

"We hope that they take into account their reputation and make adjustments accordingly," she said.

Although the association has filed complaints to the station via e-mails many times over the past few weeks, Shih said that it has not yet received any response.

"That's why we're launching this campaign. We hope the public will file their complaints with the station and boycott all the services it provides."

If Yahoo!Kimo still refuses to reply, Shih said that they may turn to lawmakers to amend the law.

"While the Animal Protection Law (動物保護法) stipulates that all pet shop owners have to obtain an operation license to sell pets, Yahoo!Kimo allows unauthorized individuals to publicly auction off animals online," Shih said.

While Yahoo!Kimo passively reacts to, and sometimes simply ignores, the complaints of its customers, Shih said, another popular online auction site, eBay, adopts a more prudent stance on the items it sells.

"It clearly stipulates in its policy that the trading of any live animals and plants, animal hides, furs and specimens is not allowed," Shih said. "We don't understand why eBay can, but Yahoo!Kimo can't."

In addition to dogs and cats, Yahoo!Kimo sells all kinds of live animals, Shih said.

"Over 10,000 live animals are traded on the site daily, including raccoons, kangaroos and pigeons, some of which cost as much as NT$250,000," she said.

An expert on the Animal Protection Law at the Cabinet's Council of Agriculture, who preferred to be identified as Ms. Cheng, said that Yahoo!Kimo is not breaking the law by selling animals on-line.

"The law mandates that only the owners of pet dogs need operation licenses to sell the animals because dogs are the only pets that require official registration," she said.

The law also mandates that only those owning a pet shop are eligible to apply for the operation license.

Individuals selling pet dogs without a license are subject to a fine of up to NT$250,000.

Yahoo!Kimo was not available for comment as of press time.

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