eBay Removes Auction for Right to Hunt Deer

eBay Britain removed an auction offering the right to bag a specifically-identified “21 point farmed master stag,” which is probably a “semi-tame” deer. eBay responded to a complaint from an animal rights activist group about the auction, even though print periodicals regularly run similar ads–the only difference being that the eBay auction specificially identified the target with a photo. eBay’s rationale? Advertising to kill a live animal violated eBay’s policy against auctioning live animals. This rationale is a joke–the point of the live animals auction ban is that the shipment of animals is heavily regulated and, in the case of certain types of animals like ferrets, sometimes outright illegal. As the article points out, there’s nothing illegal about advertising a hunt.

So what’s eBay’s real reason, and what’s causing the animal rights group to target eBay and not the print publications? I see strong analogies to the silliness over the Toby the Rabbit extortion flap and the irrational dichotomy between Internet hunting (bad) and physical-space hunting (tolerated). In all cases, the Internet appears to be clouding clear thinking. What is it about the Internet mediation that makes killing animals worse than the offline analogues???