Wildlife Crime Control Bureau Slams OLX for Facilitating Sale of Banned Articles Following PETA Tip

For Immediate Release:
27 October 2015

Nikunj Sharma; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

PETA Urges Classified-Ad Site to Protect Wildlife, Other Animals and Stop Allowing Their Sale Online

New Delhi – On the heels of a complaint from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) about online classified site OLX, which has apparently been facilitating the sale of wildlife articles protected by law on its website, Additional Director Tilotama Varma of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau fired off a warning letter to OLX India CEO Amarjeet Singh Batra, a copy of which PETA has just received. The letter orders OLX to withdraw “any such offer for sale” of animals or wildlife articles protected under The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and explains that punishment may follow if the request is ignored.

The letter points out that the trade in wild animals and their parts is punishable by up to seven years’ imprisonment and that “any person (including a company) that abets the contravention of any provisions of the Act or any rule or order made thereunder shall be deemed to have contravened that provisions or rule or order, and punishable under the rules of the Act”.

The letter also states that through PETA’s complaint as well as live monitoring, “it has come to the notice of this Bureau that some scheduled wildlife articles listed under Schedules of the Act are being offered for sale through your online trade portal”.

The advertisements spotted on OLX’s webpage by PETA included one for a koala – a threatened species that is illegal to keep as a “pet” in any country. It was only after PETA called attention to the issue that the ad was dropped by OLX, or the koala may have been sold. Doves, who are protected under Schedule IV of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, were also advertised on the site. And as PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – pointed out in its letter, illegal wildlife smugglers use code words and other techniques to mask their activities, making it virtually impossible for OLX to be certain that its ads never facilitate the illegal wildlife trade.

Many websites such as Craigslist, Amazon and eBay India already refuse to facilitate the sale or purchase of animals online. Among the many items eBay India restricts are “[l]ive animals and pets”, stating that since “the sale of live animals and wildlife products is in some cases prohibited, highly regulated, or may cause harm to eBay or its members, sellers are restricted in their listing of them on eBay”. Craigslist mentions that “pet sales” and “ivory; endangered, imperiled and/or protected species and any parts thereof” are prohibited, and among the products Amazon does not permit for sale are “pets, livestock or marine mammals” and “[i]llegal wildlife products”.

“OLX seems willing to sell any animal to anyone for any reason, and this has got to stop”, says PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura. “Animals are living beings. They are not ours to buy and sell like rice or teacups.”

For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.