News Next article

How the Code of Animal Welfare works in practice

Our code of animal welfare enables rehoming organisations to help animals into new homes and caps listings for breeders.

23 February 2021

How the Code works in practice

On 11 June 2015 Trade Me announced a new approach to the sale of animals on the site. This saw the introduction of the Trade Me Code of Animal Welfare and changes to the listing process.

On this page we’re giving you guidance on how the Code works in practice when you’re listing a dog or cat on Trade Me. For more on why the Code was introduced, check this page out.

The Cap has been in effect since 23 July 2014.

The listing process

The listing process has the following distinctions to choose from:

  • sell your dog or cat
  • sell a litter of puppies or kittens
  • rehoming for free.

This allows animals to be better categorised on the site.

For rehomed animals, no money should change hands. However, animal rehoming entities approved by Trade Me (such as the SPCA) may charge a cost recovery fee. This fee must not include a profit or donation component. Here's how to apply to be an approved rehoming entity.

The Code of Animal Welfare tick box

The first point to note is that the Code of Animal Welfare is voluntary. While its aim is to help ensure positive animal welfare for animals traded through the site, it cannot cover every situation. For example, an animal which may have been rescued from a situation where it was being mistreated cannot be considered to have been raised and cared for in accordance with the Code of Animal Welfare.

This means that during the listing process, the member must tick the box to confirm whether the animal being listed meets the Code.

This is not a trivial decision and we expect sellers to ensure they are representing the truth. Misrepresenting compliance could breach the Fair Trading Act and will breach Trade Me's terms and conditions, meaning infringing sellers could lose the ability to list animals on Trade Me and could face enforcement action from the Commerce Commission for any misrepresentations.

Listing litters

If you’re listing a litter of puppies or kittens, the listing process requires you to enter the date of birth of the litter.

Animals may not be rehomed or sold before they are eight weeks old, but they may be listed on the site prior to that time under the strict requirement that they not be separated from their mother and released to their new owner before 8 weeks. The only exception is when puppies or kittens have been abandoned by the mother or she is otherwise unable to nourish her offspring. This should be clearly stated in the body of the listing.

The total number of puppies or kittens in the litter being listed must also be entered when creating your listing. We provide the ability to do this in the listing process.

A litter may be up to 8 animals in number long as the animals are from the same mother and same litter (and fitting within the cap requirements).

Microchip identification

Under New Zealand law, all dogs (excluding working dogs) must be microchipped. The microchip identification number must be disclosed in the listing. This helps to track animal numbers and determine whether animals are being overbred, as covered in the Code.

Where puppies are less than three months old and have not been microchipped, the microchip number of the mother must be provided.

While cats and kittens may be microchipped and it is preferable to do so, it’s not mandatory by law and so it’s not required in the listing process.

Veterinarian Report

The Code requires animals to have a health check prior to being listed on the site by a registered veterinarian. This should be provided to the buyer. We encourage buyers to request this record. If Trade Me so requires it, we expect sellers to supply it on demand.

Cap on animal numbers

To address the issue of overbreeding and to minimise the chance that animals from irresponsible breeders are sold on Trade Me, we have introduced a cap on the number of animals that may be listed in a 12 month period. An individual membership will be able to list a maximum of five dog litters per 12 month period or six cat litters per 12 month period. Alternatively an individual membership may list a total of 40 cats and 40 dogs.

There is no cap for rehomed animals.


If you're wondering who that lass in photo is, she's Vanilla but better known as Nilla!