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EBay will continue to allow postings of guided trophy hunts

May 7, 2009 | 12:29 pm

A male grizzly bear forages for food in a meadow.

EBay has decided to continue to allow postings for guided trophy hunts of large predators, upsetting wildlife advocacy groups that have urged the Internet auction site to ban such listings.

In February, a coalition of groups including Big Wildlife and Raincoast Conservation sent correspondence to eBay CEO John Donahoe requesting that the site cease allowing the posting of hunting auctions for such big game predators as bears, wolves and mountain lions.

Late last week, the wildlife advocates received a letter from eBay Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Tod Cohen, which stated that "after an extensive review the conclusion is that we will not be expanding the scope of hunting experiences prohibited at this time. Respecting the diversity of opinions and points of view found within the eBay community, our general rule is that if an item can be sold legally off eBay, it can be sold on eBay."

"EBay does have a detailed set of rules covering the sale of animal and wildlife-related goods and services, and has worked closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as several animal conservation and protection groups to craft our Animal and Wildlife Products policy," Cohen wrote. "We prohibit the sale of bear parts on eBay and additionally do not generally allow the sale of any live animals, and we worked with the U.S. Humane Society a few years ago to ban the sale of canned-hunt experiences where there is a guarantee of a successful hunt involving a fenced-in animal."

Cohen continued, "From our conversations about the issues your organizations raised, we all agree that there was nothing unique about selling these experiences on eBay versus the multitude of other venues where interested hunters and guides connect."

Mountain lion In closing, Cohen wrote, "While we applaud your groups advocating for what you and your membership believe is right and just, the fact that the government agencies with jurisdiction over these activities have chosen not to prohibit them is a key factor in our decision not to prohibit the sale of these services."

In response to Cohen's letter, the organizations have pledged to escalate their campaign against eBay on this issue.

"If eBay prohibits the sale of 'offensive' material then why does the company promote the gratuitous killing of magnificent wildlife," said Brian Vincent, Big Wildlife's communications director. "Is gunning down an animal just for a trophy or a rug not offensive? The average person would find killing an animal just for the thrill and a trophy offensive."

Vincent pointed out that hunts for African lions and leopards also were being offered on eBay, which concerned him because a recent rash of lion poisonings taking place there was already affecting prides.

Vincent said that the next step would be to reach out to additional wildlife and advocacy organizations to see if they would be interested in getting involved.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photos: A male grizzly bear forages for food in a meadow. Credit: Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times. A mountain lion. Credit: Associated Press