Freecycle and animals

Freecycle is a loose organisation of local groups whose aim is to prevent usable goods from prematurely ending up in rubbish dumps.

For example: you have an old TV that still works. Charity shops won’t accept electrical goods and you’d only get a fiver for it secondhand. Freecycle allows you to post a free message offering your TV to local people. You could also post a message asking for something, but only if you’ve already offered an item.

Simple enough. I help run the Wolverhampton Freecycle group. When a number of offers of animals were posted to the group, I consulted the users to see if people felt Freecycle was the right way to find a new home for an animal. The overwhelming response was against the idea of Freecycling animals. I feel strongly, as well, that an online group dedicated to recycling inanimate objects is not the right place to find a good home for an animal. The founder and I decided to alter the rules.

It’s not a simple decision, though. Here are some of the things I took into consideration:

  • Dog fighters, vivisection labs and others involved in cruelty use free offers to find animals to abuse.
  • As a Freecycle group, we could not check potential homes and so couldn’t guarantee an animal’s welfare.
  • Experienced charities exist to help people who need to rehome an animal or would like to find a pet.
  • Freecycle users may check potential homes for their suitability.
  • It would be better for an animal to find a good home through Freecycle than to end up on the streets or be put down.

I’m really keen to hear your views on this. Please use the comments form to let me know what you think.

  • Freecycle is a great idea, but there’s an easier way to do it now, in the UK at least. Check out Freecycle GreenGonzo UK, there loads on offer and all you need to do is type a keyword and click search. No more hassle with mailing lists and moderators etc – definitely worth a look.

  • fiona bain

    I’m an avid Freecycler and dont see the harm in advertising animals requiring homes. You will vet people and know whether they are suitable or not and it gets out to a wide variety of people. I’m selling puppies just now and advertising in newspapers and the people I’ve met thru that are not as genuine as some of the Freecyclers I have met.

  • Lizzie Girvan


    I am a concerned FreeCycler in Cambridge. This is why I am concerned…

    This is a copy of the last animal posted on FreeCycle:

    “i have got a 13yr old cat called taz i need to give the cat to someone b4 sunday,b4 my daughter comes bk home because im getting her a kitten and i live in a flat so i cant hav to many animals in a flat coz its not fair on them.

    the cat is a loving cat,diffrent colour browns, she is a inside cat
    she dont like going out side and she is the sort of cat who has fuss
    when she wants it not when someone want to give her fuss”

    The moderator’s reply was:

    “Since I am getting a whole load of people telling me how disgusted
    they are at the offered posting for the ‘soon to be replaced cat’ and stressing their general replusion as Animal Lovers; I thought I would send a general reply.

    Someone offered a cat – We have no rules about animal offers on here
    so generally, there was no reason for me to reject the posting –
    Really, it’s as simple as that.

    I am not here to make moral judgements, our aim as a Freecycle group
    is to let people give things away that may be useful to other people.

    Now before people complain at me any more for letting it through,
    consider it this way. The cat was offered to 4,000 people, a lot of
    who have decided to tell me this last couple of days that they are cat lovers or involved with animal shelters. The cat has a really good chance of ending up in a good home this way which is more than many 13 year old cats that would otherwise have been abandoned could hope for.

    Maybe in a situations like this; the alternatives may have cause me to get less mails, but they may not be quite as good for any animals
    offered; so as long as the postings follow the rules, I will carry on letting them through on this basis.”

    I hope you see why I am so concerned. One problem is that the moderator is one sided, he screens everyone’s messages and only allows through certain ones, so I have no idea if anyone else has complained.

    Please help me tell the Cambridge Moderator to stop posting animals.

    Yours hopefully,

  • Debs

    With regard to the Cambridge cat you mention. I feel that it is better tha this person gives the cat a chance via Freecycle than taking miles from home and just dumping it, which is something that often happens with older pets, there is nothing to make anyone take it to a charity or advertise it or generally be responsible. Whilst I find this behaviour of getting rid of a older animal due to a younger one coming in unsettling, it is not the most cruel thing that can happen, and via Freecycle with many caring people seeing it offered, it is quite likely to find a good home, for the rest of its life. I’ve had pets from Freecycle and they are very much loved and would never be got rid of as a inconvenience !

  • Snoops

    The first 3 reasons say it all.

    1. Dog fighters, vivisection labs and others involved in cruelty use free offers to find animals to abuse.

    2. As a Freecycle group, we could not check potential homes and so couldn

  • julie

    I’ve been freecycling for a couple of years and given away many items but animals are not items they are living breathing creatures who deserve better than to be given away free to any tom, dick or harriet ! There are many organisations set up who can vet new homes much more effectively then individuals and they will care for the animal until a home is found. Freecycle is a great idea lets not ruin it by trafficing in despair and possibly cruelty.

  • louise

    i think giving animals away on here is better then them being dumped i am looking for a small dog

  • Matthew Revell

    Hi Louise,

    If you’re looking for a small dog, visit your local dogs home/shelter and they’ll be able to help.

    Matthew – Dogs Rule.

  • Dear Sir or Madame

    I was wondering if you have any dogs such as a Alsation. Also if you have any parrots. I would be willing to give a donation if required.

    Yours sincerely

    Mrs Val Wootton

  • Lynn Ward

    A dog needs to be adopted through a shelter. If a person can no longer take care of an animal, it need to go through proper channels. A lot of times a free dog winds up as bait dogs or as an abused dog. Freecycles policy is a bad one. It needs to stop it is out dated and creates the problem it seems to seek to prevent.

  • I don’t see the problem of animals being offered out on freecycle as long as they are going to good loving homes I am an animal lover myself I bread dogs for years and i never had a problem rehoming them unfortunately i couldn’t addvertise them on here as your not alowed to do it and i dont see the problem with it if someone is geneuingly intrested in an animal its easy enough to vet the people and their homes before allowing the pet to be rehomed into their care i honest don’t see the problem in addvertising dog, cats, bidges or any other animal for that matter on this web sight as there are a lot of people out there that would like to give an animal another chance in life and if people don’t like my coment then thats their choice but i strongly feel that animals that are not wanted by their owners should at least have a chance to find a new home with someone thats going to give them the love and care that they deserve