The animal welfare NGO, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has sent a letter to the Uttar Pradesh government seeking a ban on the online trade of pet animals.

It also urged the government to keep pet shops and dog breeders, not duly registered with the state animal welfare boards, closed.

PETA further asked the government to stop online portals such as OLX and Quikr – which have registered offices in Haryana and Karnataka, respectively – from trading in animals.

Recently, based on an advisory issued by the government body the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) that says pet shops not registered as required under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, and dog breeders not registered as required under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017, must not be allowed to operate.

The governments of states like Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra have already issued orders to ensure that illegal pet shops and dog breeders do not reopen after the lockdown.

However, these orders do not include websites that facilitate the trade in animals, like OLX and Quikr, and many states and union territories are yet to take action on the AWBI advisory.

PETA India Corporate Liaison Mallika Roy said, “While illegal physical pet shops are closed, brazen breeders and other animal sellers will likely resort to trading in vulnerable cats, dogs, and other animals online. PETA India is urging states and union territories to stop OLX and Quikr from functioning as pet shops, as they are not registered with animal welfare boards to trade in animals.”

In its letter, PETA India has shared recent Right to Information responses from states and union territories across India confirming that most pet shops – including online platforms – and dog breeders operating in the country are not registered as required by law.

(With inputs from IANS)