Instagram, used by 130 million people worldwide, is playing host to the buying and selling of unwanted animals for pets, slaughter and ritual sacrifice, and in doing so is encouraging and promoting widespread animal abuse.
The popular and trending hashtag #forsale throws up more than 1 million results, most of which are completely innocent such as clothes, shoes and other second hand goods, but riddled among the listings are thousands of live animals being offered for sale.
From household pets and exotic animals like snakes and turtles that require specialist care to sheep and goats intended to be sacrificially slaughtered for birthdays and events, Instagram is turning a blind eye to this atrocity when they clearly have full knowledge of its development.
What is supposed to be in Instagram’s own words “a beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family” has rapidly become a breeding ground for those looking to make a quick buck, with many users turning their personal accounts into streams of classified ads for animals.
Scarily, Instagram does not currently have any rules or guidelines on the advertisement of items for sale, and nowhere in the site’s terms and conditions do they mention the sale of animals. Conversly, other leading online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay strictly prohibit the sale of live animals, and animal rights campaigners are imploring Instagram to follow suit and crack down on listings.
Leading the charge is the UK’s largest animal rights group Animal Aid, who are urging Instagram, which is owned by social media giant Facebook, to put an end to this careless and harmful trading of animals.
The charity’s director Andrew Tyler said, “Animals are being manufactured and traded as products and this will encourage people to breed carelessly. The easier you make it to buy and sell animals online, the more casual and callous an approach people will take…and this will only lead to more suffering.”
Animals are not mere commodities to be bought and sold. They are living, feeling, sentient beings, and when their welfare is put second to that of profit, they will always suffer as a result.
Millions of dogs and cats are killed every year because they have no prospects for a home, and it is facilitating sites like Instagram that are the worst offenders. By providing an easy way for irresponsible breeders and pet owners to offload their unwanted animals, the mentality of viewing animals as money making machines takes a hold and exploitative practices start to manifest.
As expected, Instagram has declined to comment on this controversy, but that doesn’t mean that their silence will go unnoticed. As an industry leader, Instagram has an obligation to lead by example and they need to recognize this thoughtless and careless trading and put a stop to it before any more harm is done.
What Can You Do About It?
Let Instagram know exactly what you think.
Another way you can help is to reject the buying and selling of live animals, and instead choose to adopt from a local shelter or rescue center.
Photo Credit: crossfirecw