Dear all,

          You may have noticed little popups on websites saying that they use cookies (LINK). This is because a new EU law says that you should be notified about cookies. For the most part, these popups give you only two options: agree to the cookies - or don’t use the site. To me (it's Anna writing by the way) this really is silly and disempowering - there are a ton of cool ways to deal with cookies and things in exactly the way that you want to. If you don't like it, please don’t just lump it.


Which cookies do Ethical Pets use?


1) Essential cookies which tie your shopping cart, the items in it, and your pc together - because these cookies are essential to the functioning of the site, they are not covered by the new EU law.

2) Google Analytics: google run a service which allows website owners to learn about how people interact with their site. We use this service and we look at the data every few weeks. We don't see information such as your name or address, but we do learn about, for example, how you arrived at our site, how long you were on the site for, how many pages you viewed before you left etc. There is also information about things like the size of your computer screen, which operating system you use, which web browser you use etc. Don't forget that we get lots of visitors and so the info we see about "you" is just one little dot on the big graph we are looking at. While this data collection can seem sinister at first, when you build a website or run a business, it's extremely useful for really basic things like “does the site look good on most of my customers screens” and “do I get more visitors when I talk on Facebook or on twitter?” We don't sell this data or anything. Googles privacy policy can be seen here if you wish to know more about what they do with your data.

3) Social media buttons. I am aware that at least the Twitter button puts cookies on your computer, but I am sure the others are also doing mischief in terms of privacy. I am really torn with these buttons to be honest: so many customers expect to see them there, and use them, and like them - and don't seem to know or care about the "spying" that these buttons do. As a small business, however, we really rely on social media sites to talk to our customers. We wouldn't earn a living without things like Twitter and Facebook: but as an ethical company, we do struggle with their behaviour and terms and conditions.


What if I don't like the Ethical Pets cookies?

         Don't worry, you can still use our site: there is lots of info below about how to block cookies, adverts and tracking. Also, if you wish to avoid using the website at all, you can place orders over the phone and pay by bank transfer, cheque or cash (if you live locally/come to a fair).


How can I see which sites have already put cookies on my computer?

          In the settings menu in your browser, you can see a list by clicking something like “remove individual cookies” or “view cookies.” Search online for specific how-to guides for your browser. It can be a bit shocking to see how many cookies are in your machine, especially if you haven't been employing any privacy strategies before.


Should I block all cookies?

           While you can select this option in your browser settings, it's probably not a good idea because cookies often make sites function, for example, our shopping basket system needs them.


Can I just block some cookies then?

          Yes! There are loads of options for you to choose from here. You could ask your browser to send you a message every-time a cookie is incoming, and you can choose which ones you want, or you could just block third-party cookies, from advertisers or social media buttons or you can choose to delete all cookies each time you close your browser! This is SO much better than “agree to the cookie or leave” huh?!


Here are some help pages to guide you

Help for Chrome

Help for Firefox

Help for Internet Explorer


What about social media buttons?


If you look on-line, for example here, there are a ton or add-ons and apps. Here I have run a search alternatives to Ghostery, which is what I have been using. Apps like this can allow you to

a) Choose what you want to block – lots of options there!

b) See what is being blocked. For ethical pets you would see one or two things, but other sites might have tons of stuff.

c) “White-list” sites you like – if you are happy giving data to one company but not another, just white-list the sites you like and your data will be shared with them, but not others.


And adverts?

         These apps also work with adverts too. Also, you can block popup's specifically from your browser settings :)


Anything else useful?

          Yes, there is a great add-on called https everywhere that I also use, it just means if there is a secure https version of a site available, you use it by default. Bonza!


I hope all of this was useful, happy shopping folks!