Animals as a Christmas present: please don’t! An expert explains

Updated: 11/25/2021 – 10:12 pm

The animal expert answers
Why animals are not a good idea as gifts under the Christmas tree

Foto: Getty Images / fotostorm

Giving an animal as a Christmas present is not at all recommended for various reasons. An expert explains what these are.

A cute kitten, a sweet puppy under the Christmas tree: who wouldn’t be happy about a gift like this? Many – at least after the initial enthusiasm. And there are other things that speak against animals as gifts for the festival. What exactly, explains an expert in an interview with BILD der FRAU.

Surprise gifts at the party are always a risk: The fact that the person receiving the gift was not always happy can be seen from the huge number of returns and exchangeable goods that accumulate immediately afterwards. Unfortunately, there are also living beings that recklessly landed under the tree: “According to Four Paws, almost 1,600 animals from illegal trade in Germany have been discovered this year. That makes us look ahead to the upcoming Christmas business with great concern,” says Daniela Schneider, campaign manager for pets at the animal welfare organization Vier Pfoten.

The clear statement from the expert: please absolutely refrain from using animals as a Christmas present! Because every puppy acquired in the illegal trade has the consequence that many more animals have to suffer – so the bitter balance of the lousy business with the young dogs. What speaks against giving away animals of all kinds for the festival, she explained in detail to BILD der FRAU.

Why animals are not a good idea as a Christmas present

BILD der WILD: Why do you advise against using an animal as a present for Christmas?

Daniela Schneider: Animals are not a commodity, but sentient beings that also bring a responsibility with them. Both financially, but of course you also need patience and the time to look after an animal appropriately.

Animals can be great companions, but there must be no risk that the joy and enthusiasm will subside after a few days and the recipient will no longer want to take care of the animal. But unfortunately, spontaneous purchases often turn out to be wrong decisions, from which the animal then suffers.

What usually happens to the animals that “didn’t go down well”?

In particular, animals from spontaneous purchases end up in the animal shelter at the latest in summer, when the holiday season is approaching, or – even worse – they are simply abandoned and left to their own devices. We all know the pictures and stories.

It is particularly traumatic for puppies and young dogs when they are simply given back to the new family after a few days or weeks just because the giver or recipient was not sufficiently clear about the needs of living beings.

One must always be aware that dogs see a pack in their humans and that it is emotionally extremely dramatic for them when they are let down by their own pack.

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Why is online trading particularly advisable?

Because the danger of acquiring an animal from illegal trade here is simply enormous. The demand for puppies is booming – it has increased again, especially in the wake of the corona pandemic. Criminals take advantage of this and offer puppies that are far too young, often seriously ill and traumatized, which are usually literally produced in multiplying stations. In dark cellars and crates, the mother dogs often eke out a sad existence for years without daylight – only to give birth to puppies there, which are then snatched away from them after a short time. The animals live in their own droppings, it stinks terribly.

Most of the time, different breeds are produced, depending on which ones are particularly popular. Far too young, the puppies are then carted across Europe in narrow boxes and cages. Germany is a major buyer and transit country. The animals are offered via online platforms and social media, because there is no obligation to verify, ie you can simply offer the animals anonymously and under different accounts and dive down with impunity after the sale. Traceability is hardly possible in this way. There is therefore an urgent need for verification on the part of the seller and the animals, so that their true origin and affiliation can be checked before the advertisement is advertised. Only in this way can the providers be identified, traced and prosecuted.

Illegal puppy trade: the animal business is so bad

Illegal cat trade: that’s how much the young animals suffer

If it should be an animal: What do you think is a sensible alternative?

There are numerous other – and definitely better – ways to make animal lovers happy this Christmas. For example, by donating food to animal shelters on their behalf. In addition, animal sponsorships can be an alternative gift from which animals and humans benefit equally. Children can also be given exciting non-fiction books about pets.

Before you buy a pet, you should inquire at the regional animal shelter. A visit to the animal shelter is a chance to see whether there is an animal waiting for a new family there that really suits you. With walks and regular visits, animals and people can get to know each other in peace for the first time. What should always be clear: if you give away an animal, you are giving away a life.

→ Vier Pfoten is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which recognizes grievances, saves animals in need and protects them. The focus is on stray dogs and cats as well as domestic, farm and wild animals from unspecific husbandry and from disaster and conflict zones.


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