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Online classified adverts reflect the broader United Kingdom trade in turtles and tortoises rather than drive it

Bielby, J, Ferguson, A, Rendle, M and McMillan, KM (2023) Online classified adverts reflect the broader United Kingdom trade in turtles and tortoises rather than drive it. PLOS ONE, 18 (7). ISSN 1932-6203

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Online sales are increasingly a route by which exotic animals are sold in the global pet trade. There are numerous types of online platforms and transaction types, and dedicated classified advertisement sites are a popular means of buying and selling animals. Despite their large and increasing use, we have a relatively poor understanding of the number of, and taxonomic variation in, the animals sold online. This information may be key in efforts to optimise the welfare of the animals being sold, and the ethics and sustainability of the trade via that platform. To fill this knowledge gap, we monitored and analysed the advertisements of chelonians (turtles and tortoises) placed on one of the United Kingdom’s largest dedicated classified ads sites, www.pets4homes.co.uk, over the course of a year, from July 2020 until June 2021. We analysed temporal, taxonomic, and advertiser related trends in the volumes of advertisements placed and compared the prices and the sentiment of language within adverts for different species. We found that the species advertised, the prices requested, and infrequent use of the site by most advertisers is consistent with most adverts being for animals being resold by casual users. Further, we found that turtles were consistently advertised for lower prices and in multiples than tortoises, and that the language with which they were advertised was less positive. We conclude that on this website the online trade reflects the broader trade, rather than drives the sales of chelonians in the UK, and that any interventions aiming to improve welfare and sustainability would be better placed earlier in the supply chain.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2023 13:50
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2023 14:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0288725
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20354
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