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Campaign to Stop Puppy Milling in New Zealand

30 March 2015

Paw Justice Uses Online Auction Site Against Itself in a Campaign to Stop Puppy Milling in New Zealand

Thousands of puppies are sold online in New Zealand every year. Often these puppies start their lives in tiny, filth-ridden cages, innocently burdened with ongoing injury and illness. And it’s all happening without us even knowing.

Puppy mills are factory farms that mass breed dogs for commercial purposes. The dogs are often confined to tiny cages for their entire lives and forced to produce litter after litter of puppies. These puppies often have genetic defects due to inbreeding, resulting in a lifetime of pain and disability.

Online animal sales allow puppy mills, and unfit backyard breeders, to thrive in New Zealand. As Trade Me is one of the largest online suppliers of pets in New Zealand, Paw Justice is calling for them to put regulations in place to control the sale of dogs on their website. Puppies are one of the most popular search terms on Trade Me and over 35,000 cats and dogs were sold in 2014 alone. With no regulations, little supervision, and no feedback forums to warn others, sites like Trade Me are facilitating exponential growth in the puppy milling industry.

Nathalie Ong, one of the many New Zealanders affected by unfit backyard breeders, had to have her family’s much loved puppy Oscar put down at only seven months old, due to severe genetic defects from inbreeding. Oscar was bought on Trade Me from a backyard breeder. At his first visit to a vet, it became apparent that he was unable to urinate and his bones were already beginning to crack.

“He was an innocent, loving puppy whose short life was full of suffering, all because of his irresponsible breeder,” said Ong.

The Don’t Trade Me campaign was launched this morning with five Trade Me auctions, all selling advertisements to support the campaign. The auctions for a television commercial, full page press ad, and digital advertising all sold within 5 hours.

“It’s time someone stood up against puppy milling. Dogs are sensitive and loyal companions, not breeding machines to be locked up and used for money. Puppies should grow into happy, healthy adults, not dogs facing a lifetime of illness or disability because of irresponsible breeders who only care about profit,” says co-founder of Paw Justice Craig Dunn.

“Puppy Milling goes on every day in New Zealand. It is the breeding of suffering and misery, all for the sake of profit. We have seen case after case of animals being bred purely for profit, with no one taking responsibility for their wellbeing. We need sites like Trade Me to play a role in regulating this industry. Puppy milling must stop," adds Dunn.

Help stop puppy milling in New Zealand by signing the petition at or join the conversation using #donttrademe.
Notes to editor

Proposed new regulations

Paw Justice has worked with vets and animal rights lawyers to come up with a new set of regulations for anyone wanting to breed and sell dogs online:

1. Every dog sold online must be microchipped, the microchip number must be entered before the advertisement can be listed
2. If the dog is listed before they are three months old, its mother’s microchip number must be entered before the ad can be listed.
3. Only one litter of puppies can be listed under each breeding dog’s microchip number every second year, with a total of three litters per dog.
4. The breeding dog must be between the ages of two and six years.
5. A full trading history showing all animals bought and sold as well as feedback from buyers should be visible for every trader.
6. Buyers must be shown vet paperwork and be able to view the breeding facilities before buying their puppy. This will be enforced by the buyer who has the right to refuse to complete the contract for sale until the seller has complied with the rules.

About Paw Justice

Paw Justice was formed in 2009 to help deal with the sickening problem of animal abuse and neglect against pets in New Zealand. Such abuse has grown at alarming rates, both in frequency and severity.

Animals are suffering and dying at the hands of callous humans who think they can get away with it. We say this must stop now.

We are pulling together every resource we can find, welcoming every supporter who believes in our cause, and working together with other like-minded New Zealanders to stop this insidious violence against innocent animals.

We want to see abuse rates dropping dramatically, serious offenders punished appropriately, children educated about respect and kindness, and companion animals all over New Zealand living comfortable and happy lives.


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