Classified Information: what’s still lacking from online herpetofauna sales?

Helen Tedds, Simon Sneddon, Jeff Ollerton, Ros Clubb, Enriko Iskhakov, Wanda McCormick

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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In the last decade there has been a massive rise in the number of animals being sold via online classified websites, with herpetofauna being no exception. In response to growing concerns regarding irresponsible advertising, the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) was established to ensure animals are sold legally and ethically. It works by encouraging classified websites to become members, thereby agreeing to 26 rules regarding advert content and self-regulating information that sellers provide based on these rules. It also relies on volunteers for spot-checking adverts, however, with thousands of adverts uploaded every day, it can be hard for both PAAG and its members to identify any violations of the rules.

Adverts selling herpetofauna were downloaded from three PAAG member classified websites every week for 49 months (n=109,279) and checked against 13 relevant PAAG rules using an SQL database and a bespoke Expert System software.

Violations of 12 PAAG rules were found across the three member websites including the selling of banned invasive species; commercial sellers not displaying their council licence number, animals offered for swapping, and the selling of DWA animals without mentioning the need for a licence. There were also adverts that did not specify the species for sale. The only PAAG rule met by each website was that they had clear links on how to report an advert that caused concern.

Overall, these findings show that PAAG is having an impact, but classified websites need to do better to monitor for rule violations by investing in software solutions to flag these. Further promotion of PAAG for public awareness would also be of benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2023
Event17th UFAW Student research conference - Writtle University College, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Apr 202326 Apr 2023


Conference17th UFAW Student research conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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