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Policy Update: Prohibited Animal Products

Today we've updated the Prohibited Items policy in the DOs & DON’Ts regarding items made from certain animals, such as those designated as threatened or endangered. The new policy includes but is not limited to items or materials such as fur, pelts, ivory, teeth, bones, and taxidermied specimens from those protected animals. Both new and vintage items are included.

Please take a moment to read the full announcement on the Etsy News blog: www.etsy.com/blog/news/2013/policy-update-prohibited-animal-products/

You can review the Prohibited Items policy in the DOs & DON'Ts here: www.etsy.com/policy/dosdonts#prohibited

We've also added a new FAQ in our Help Center about this policy: www.etsy.com/help/article/4416

This change takes effect today. Our Marketplace Integrity Team is contacting members by email whose listings are affected by this updated policy. It may take a while for the team to reach out to each affected seller; we appreciate your patience. In some cases, listings may need to be removed. If you have questions about a specific item in your shop or that you might want to list on Etsy, please contact us using the Help Center: www.etsy.com/help/contact

Should you have any questions about this policy change, we welcome you to join the discussion in this thread.

15 Highlighted Responses

Bonnie avatar Admin
Hi Brad! My name is Bonnie and I work on the Policy team here at Etsy. For this particular policy change, we are banning all items made from animals considered endangered or threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. Chinchillas are considered an endangered species under the US Endangered Species Act. Please see this FAQ for more information: www.etsy.com/help/article/4416
Bonnie avatar Admin
Hi Leslie! As a global marketplace, we’re always trying to maintain our values as a company while limiting the number of restrictions we place on sellers. This is a difficult balance to achieve, and the list of animal species you see is a compromise that we’ve reached. We are continuously striving to improve our policies, and it is an ongoing process. I will pass your feedback along to my team!
Bonnie avatar Admin
Hazel, thank you for your post. Please know that we do not make decisions like this without serious consideration and research. As Lauren explained in her blog post, the risk that the legal status of these items may be unknown or mislabeled is too great, and the continued sale of these items stands to perpetuate market demand and further jeopardize the existence of these species.
Bonnie avatar Admin
Hi Caroline! Thanks for your question. Aside from the animals listed in the FAQ, it is the seller's responsibility to make sure that they are complying with all laws, including the Endangered Species Act. We’re always working to ensure that our marketplace and everything we’re doing as a company is in line with our values. However, we cannot comment on any future changes at this time.
Bonnie avatar Admin
Thanks for your question, Whiskeyish. Items derived from or created using any of the animals in the FAQ [www.etsy.com/help/article/4416] are not allowed on Etsy. We are unable to make exceptions to that list, even if the acquisition, possession, or sale of such items is otherwise legally permitted. In addition, sellers are still responsible for complying with any and all relevant laws.
Bonnie avatar Admin
Our intention is not to ban all leather, wool or fiber products, but to reduce the market for items made from protected species by disallowing products on Etsy described in the FAQ and specifically noted in the ESA. It's important that each seller be informed about their items and provide accurate info. If you are concerned about whether your item is allowed, please contact Marketplace Integrity.
Bonnie avatar Admin
Thanks for your participation and questions today, everyone! I have to head out for the evening, but I will check back in tomorrow to answer more questions.
Rob White avatar Admin
As others have said, discussions about endangered or threatened species can certainly be contentious. Let me offer a quick reminder to all of our Forums policies and guidelines - specifically, that we ask members of the Etsy community to be respectful when posting here on the Etsy Forums, and that disparaging or negative, unconstructive posts about specific members, shops or items is not allowed. Thanks for your understanding! You can find our policies and guidelines here:

www.etsy.com/help/article/360
www.etsy.com/help/article/483#community_general
Bonnie avatar Admin
I would like to clarify that our intention with this policy change is to help preserve scarce natural resources-- in this case, endangered or threatened animal species. To that end, we are primarily concerned with the types of products Lauren mentioned in her blog post: fur, pelts, ivory, teeth, bones, and taxidermy. We recognize that the collection of fiber or hair can be done in a manner that is not harmful to the animal, and so in light of our goal, we are less concerned with those materials. I should note, however, that beyond Etsy policy, each seller is still responsible for knowing about their items and following all applicable laws.
Bonnie avatar Admin
Hi Lynn! Great question! Etsy is only banning all species of the specific animals listed directly in the FAQ. Apart from those, we are also asking sellers not to list specific species considered threatened or endangered under the ESA. For example, only specific kinds of abalone are considered threatened or endangered under the ESA, not all abalone. Etsy is NOT banning all abalone.
Bonnie avatar Admin
Hi CoyoteRainbow! Thanks for your question. With this policy change, Etsy is not banning all species of wolves, but we do ask that our sellers not list any of the species of wolves that are considered threatened or endangered under the ESA [ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/pub/listedAnimals.jsp], regardless of the source.
Bonnie avatar Admin
Hi Ann Francoise! One of the best things about Etsy is our community, and the fact that we can discuss these things and help each other understand policy changes. In that spirit, I think it would be a great idea to thoughtfully and respectfully reach out to your Etsy "neighbors" and give them a heads up.
Bonnie avatar Admin
As I said earlier, one of the best things about Etsy is our community. This is what makes us different from any other online marketplace. We place a great deal of trust in our community, and we are proud of you, not only for the thoughtful discussion happening in this thread, but because you already have good values and good judgment, and for the most part, Etsy sellers have already taken great responsibility in making sure that their items are not only compliant with the law, but often times are also locally sourced and sustainable. It is never easy to make these kinds of policy changes, and we have taken great care in trying to create a bright-line rule for you, so that you know exactly where you stand with us, because we respect you, and we would not be here without you.

This is the marketplace that we create together, and that includes our policy decisions. When I said that we can discuss these things and help each other understand policy changes, I also meant that we at Etsy can learn from you, our community. No matter how much research and thought and discussion goes into a change like this, it is impossible to predict and prepare for every nuance of enforcement.

Because our policy changes were informed by the Endangered Species Act, we made an exception that is contained in the Endangered Species Act for Native Alaskans. Although the exception in the Endangered Species Act only applies to Native Alaskans, Etsy certainly recognizes the value of preservation of all Native American cultures. For this reason, we ask that you be patient with us while we learn from you, and learn from experts on this topic about what would be best for our community. If you are Native American and your shop has been affected by this policy change, please write to us at integrity@etsy.com, and we will figure out a solution together while we do more research on this topic.
Bonnie avatar Admin
Hi KD! If you believe that an item has been removed in error, please write to us at integrity@etsy.com and we will review it as soon as possible.
Bonnie avatar Admin
For those of you who are concerned about the sale of fibers, please see my response in Marc's weekly forum discussion, which I have also linked and copied below. Thank you again for your thoughtful discussion and questions on this topic!

www.etsy.com/teams/7722/discussions/discuss/12738149/page/13?post_i...

I would be happy to clarify our stance on hair and fiber. Etsy is NOT instituting a blanket ban on fibers. After consulting with fiber experts, we have learned that there is minimal risk that fibers come from endangered species or that animals are harmed in the collection of fiber or hair. As a result, we have decided not to proactively pursue fibers as part of this new policy. We respect you and recognize that you are sophisticated artists and artisans who are well versed in your craft, and we trust you to use your knowledge and common sense when listing items for sale on Etsy.

1462 Responses

Hi Lauren - this really really needs to be pinned! I wouldn't have known about the policy change if I hadn't been hunting for Marc's thread! Thanks.
That's a good idea. This got buried quickly.
Thanks for the suggestion, wickedmagpie. It's pinned now.

We've also cross-posted this in the Announcements section, too.
It would be nice if they would also pin and leave Marc's thread up longer. I went looking for it this morning, too, and didn't see it on the 1st couple of pages. Anyway, thanks for this change, Lauren, it's a good one!
why is chinchilla fur banned?
Probably because of the brutal way they die. I would not personally want to go out like that!
then why not mink, sable ect....
Might be they'll be added later. It's a good question Brad, and I'd like to know too!
Chinchilla is on the list, the others aren't:

ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/pub/listedAnimals.jsp
Bonnie avatar Admin
Hi Brad! My name is Bonnie and I work on the Policy team here at Etsy. For this particular policy change, we are banning all items made from animals considered endangered or threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. Chinchillas are considered an endangered species under the US Endangered Species Act. Please see this FAQ for more information: www.etsy.com/help/article/4416
Bonnie beat me to it! I was reading where they are endangered, on the verge of becoming extinct. Poor little fellas. They are really cute! They are from Peru and Chile and are still being hunted illegally.
My pet chinchilla is pleased by this news. It takes something like 100 of her brothers and sisters to make one coat. They are basically non-existent in the wild, ones for pets or for coats are farm-bred.
: ( I too had a pet chinchilla in the past. He was adorable. For my vote they would just ban the selling of fur period. ( Not just etsy I mean and not just chinchilla fur ) Again : (
I am with you Teresa.
Weird. My husband once had an uncle with a huge chinchilla farm. I had no idea they were endangered. Good to know!!
Weird, I had no idea they were endangered. I remember not to far back there were farms everywhere and adverts to buy them and start farming in the back of most magazines.
You learn something new every day. :)
Domesticated chinchilla is a different species from the one listed in the endangered species act. Domestic chinchilla are not on the list.
@Heather, where do you see that domestic chinchilla are a separate species? I only see that they're the same thing? Unless there's some subtlety to US endangered species law I'm not seeing?
Thanks Lauren! I help a lot of new vintage sellers here, and have my circle of vintage selling friends, so this will help to keep things clear - I appreciate it!
Spaz (my chinchilla) did a happy dance when he heard that his fur has been banned.
Boing (my/my ex's chinnie, over the rainbow bridge) must be doing one too.
I am sure Boing is doing one all the way down to the tail wagging!
Chinchi (yeah, lame name, not my fault) might just need an extra treat tonight!
Nothing about Chins are lame LOL
and yeah, Spaz is getting extra treat tonight too!
Love my Chin, she is doing a happy dance!
YAY!!!!!! my chinnys are very happy to hear this and are literally bouncing off my walls in joy!!!!
<- Dakota says thank you Etsy!!!!!!
I am totally delighted at this new policy.
Me too! :) Glad to see Etsy is taking a stand on this.
Me too except I would like it to go further.
So am I and I agree Japonica I would like it to go further although I'm sure there will be some vintage sellers up in arms.

And IMO this is the reason why its a good idea.

- "the continued sale of these items stands to perpetuate market demand and further jeopardize the existence of these species."


This is GREAT!!!!!!!!!
Ditto! All the way!
I am glad that they did this - but "the continued sale of these items stands to perpetuate market demand and further jeopardize the existence of these species," isn't really how the market works. When you limit a product, demand goes up, not down!

I'm glad for the updates to the policy. I only wish more animal products were prohibited. I know that not everyone feels the same way though. Thanks for doing what you can Etsy.
I make my living off of non-endangered animal parts. :/ I'm glad to see they prohibited the endangered animal parts, but please let's not ban all of them.
agreed! i also sell animal parts...let's hope that porcupines don't become endangered!!
I like this change. It is too difficult to determine what was taken prior to the Endangered Species Act, so better to just ban it all.

Question, in the future will Etsy ban other protected species and their parts under federal legislation? For example, the Migratory Bird Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Act, etc.
Bonnie avatar Admin
Hi Leslie! As a global marketplace, we’re always trying to maintain our values as a company while limiting the number of restrictions we place on sellers. This is a difficult balance to achieve, and the list of animal species you see is a compromise that we’ve reached. We are continuously striving to improve our policies, and it is an ongoing process. I will pass your feedback along to my team!
I was curious as to the Migratory Bird Act too, as there are obviously people on here who make and sell jewelry from found passerine feathers.

If you want my 2c though, the MBA needs some serious revision and I'm glad that Etsy isn't attempting to ban the use of feathers in general.
peregrine falcon?
Randy,
How'd you know peregrines were my favorite! They were delisted about 8 years ago. I think know they only fall under Migratory Bird Act.
That is a really short list when there are over 2,000 species listed as endangered. It should be more obvious that there are a lot more species that are protected.
Hi, Leslie,
I went to the FAQ link and within that information, below the short list, it says

"In addition, Etsy prohibits the listing or sale of items derived from or created using any animal species designated as threatened or endangered under the US Endangered Species Act."

A clickable link takes you to the list which is extensive. Good job, Etsy!
Right. I saw that too which is why I had edited from my original post. I guess I don't feel it is super obvious, like the list is obvious. I think it would be more clear if it said there are over 2,000 species listed so check the link.
This is a great starting place -- thank you, Etsy. Those of us that work to preserve habitat and endangered species appreciate every step that helps reduce the trade in and increase awareness of endangered species. (As for chinchillas, glad to see it as our chinchilla lived to be over 17 and was an intelligent, sensitive creature. Fur farm chins are killed at 6 months of age and know nothing but stress. Have been in their native homelands but never saw them there because they have been hunted so fiercely.) Perhaps more species can be added to the list as we progress.
I posted above replying to Leslie but I'll put it here, too.

On the FAQ page, it gives the short list and then adds

"In addition, Etsy prohibits the listing or sale of items derived from or created using any animal species designated as threatened or endangered under the US Endangered Species Act."

A clickable link takes you to the very extensive list of included species.

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