Etsy is a marketplace comprised of individual sellers, and we ourselves have had a SaveABunny Etsy Store for a number of years. However, recently we have come to realize that many Etsy stores sell rabbit fur and body parts on the website.
Ideally, no animal parts would be sold on Etsy because all animals, not just rabbits, deserved to be treated with compassion. However, since SaveABunny's mission is rabbit rescue, the discussion we are having with Etsy is primarily limited to the rabbit issue.
— SaveABunny (@SaveABunny) January 30, 2014
The following letter was sent on January 20, 2014 to the CEO of Etsy.
Dear Mr. Dickerson,
So nice to hear that one of your favorite pleasures is "hops." That means you can appreciate this email.
Etsy can be the most amazing place to find wonderful, creative items.
It can also be a place of unnecessary cruelty and insensitivity to animal lovers of all persuasion. There are quite a few items on Etsy that now include gruesome decapitated rabbit heads, macabre rabbit legs-- marketed "with flesh attached", bunny fur and other inhumane items that horrify most normal people. Acts of violence towards animals (or anyone for that matter) and bizarre animal parts for sale have no place on Etsy, which promotes community and artful delight.
Even people who buy wool or leather Items on Etsy are disgusted and cannot support the celebration of the death and probable torture of animals of any kind. Our nonprofit group has had a storefront for several years on Etsy. We've received innumerable emails and Facebook messages asking us to close our Etsy store because of the sale of rabbit body parts. The bones,fur and pieces of rabbits being sold are from the exact same breed of PET rabbit available for adoption as loving family companions. These rabbits are not wild animals no more than a golden retriever is a wolf.
The Etsy mission is stated as " to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world." Selling companion animal body parts for amusement and decoration does not build a more fulfilling and lasting world.
We respectfully encourage you to learn more about the wonders and remarkable intelligence of house rabbits by visiting our web site at www.saveabunny.org and that of the House Rabbit Society atwww.rabbit.org. Millions of people worldwide (including your customers) live with rabbits (spayed and neutered) as their beloved family member.
Please review your selling guidelines and update them to ban the sale of rabbit and companion animal parts.
This is truly an opportunity for Etsy to make a lasting and fulfilling difference in this world.
Founder and Director of SaveABunny.org
P.S. We will be posting this letter on our Facebook page and sharing it with other animal lovers and online groups. We would be happy to share your reply, which we hope will be a positive one.
Save A Bunny. Save A Life!
Thanks so much for reaching out to us! Your convo was passed along to me because I am the Policy manager here at Etsy. First of all, I greatly admire your work on behalf of rabbits and appreciate you being an active part of our community and bringing this issue to our attention. We are always striving to improve our policies and align them more closely with our values as a company. In fact, last year we took an important step in that direction by banning all products made from endangered species and ivory, which you can read about here:www.etsy.com/teams/7722/discussions/discuss/12715475/
Then, as always, we had a productive dialogue with our community, who was incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about the change. We hope to iterate on that policy change this year as we further examine animal rights issues and different ways Etsy can contribute to building a more lasting and fulfilling world. Please feel free to keep in touch with me as we explore this issue together.
Thank you so much for your rapid response and for your kudos' on our rescue work. Our nonprofit group is involved with the rescue, rehabilitation (if needed) and re-homing of over 200 bunnies each year. We are nationally recognized and In 2013, we received a $25,000 grant from the ASPCA to expand our operations. We're part of a national and international network of rabbit rescue and advocacy groups---many of which are very concerned about Etsy's policies and have suggested a boycott. Our group decided instead to open a convo and provide Etsy with the opportunity to make compassionate and rational choices.
Etsy policy makers might be interested to learn that Americans own 6.2 million pet rabbits according to the 2007 AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook. Most of our members are working professional s(lawyers, MBS's, etc) who are adore their pet rabbits and also have disposable income to spend on Etsy.
The Etsy endorsed sale of animal parts, made from one of the nation's most gentle and beloved pets, is insensitive and offensive to millions of animal lovers--not just "rabbit people." Try substituting the words "rabbit pelts, heads and feet " with "dog pelts, heads and feet." It's disturbing isn't it?
Etsy's policies prohibiting items made from endangered species is a good start. The logical next step would be to extend the policy to companion animals in the very near future. That is truly one way Etsy can contribute to "building a more lasting and fulfilling world." We are happy to work together with you to accomplish this goal and update your policies.
SaveABunny Founder and Executive Director
Save A Bunny. Save A Life!
Etsy Reply received 2/3/14
Thanks for staying in touch. We are certainly interested in continuing this dialogue with you. There are many factors that go into researching policy issues. We have to take into account local, national, and international laws, industry standards and policies, and seller needs, to name a few. We have to consider how a change will affect sellers in different countries and different categories (handmade versus craft supplies, for example). In addition, we need to gather internal tools and resources, including submitting a proposal and plan of action to our key stakeholders, collaborating across teams with our colleagues to enforce and educate sellers on policy changes, and figuring out how to best communicate our policy changes with our community. Needless to say, these things take time.
The important thing to know right now is that we are listening, and this is the beginning of a discussion both internally and with our community. We look forward to learning together about this issue.