Ebay, Etsy, Microsoft and others vow to ban illegal wildlife trading

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Ng Han Guan / AP Photo
Ng Han Guan / AP Photo

A smattering of internet merchants, services and tech titans have spoken: no trading of live animals or their illegally-sourced body parts, like rhino horns or turtle meat, on their watch. Etsy, eBay, Gumtree, Microsoft, Yahoo and Tencent have all signed a compact to standardize practices across social media and ecommerce platforms. Ideally, these uniform practices will tighten up loopholes that permit trading of illicit wildlife goods.

The guidelines only cover animals and parts that are illegally-sourced, which are threatened with extinction or which are protected by national law. Thus the pledged companies won't block backdoor deals between Facebook users for dogs, cats or chickens.

The World Wildlife Fund, The International Fund For Animal Welfare and TRAFFIC collaborated to write the initiative and announced today for World Elephant Day. Although the partner companies don't include a few tech heavy hitters like Facebook and Amazon where some of these illicit peer-to-peer transactions take place, the coalition is in talks with some other possible signatories, a senior TRAFFIC official told Mashable.

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