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Welfare Groups: Popularity Of Bulldogs & Pugs In Ads Is Harmful To The Breeds

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on December 15, 2017

Breathing difficulties, recurring skin infections, eye diseases and spinal problems are among the issues faced by flat-faced or brachycephalic dog breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs.

Despite these problems, they continue to grow in popularity. UK Animal welfare groups believe the appeal of short-muzzled breeds is encouraged by their frequent use in advertising, resulting in a “welfare crisis” for dogs.

“There is a real concern that the use of French Bulldogs, Bulldogs and Pugs in adverts is fueling the popularity of these breeds, and is widening the market for those who simply wish to make money from these dogs with little or no regard for their health and well-being,” Dr. Dan O’Neill, chairman of the Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG), said in a story by Independent UK.

The BWG is a UK-based organization composed of several groups with a vested interest in the welfare of these breeds. Their website calls the problems facing brachycephalic dogs “one of the most pressing welfare issues for dogs in the UK.”

BWG members include the British Veterinary Association, the RSPCA, the UK Kennel Club and dog breeding clubs, the PDSA, the Dogs Trust and the University of Cambridge.

Registrations of flat-faced breeds with the UK Kennel Club have skyrocketed over the past decade, and the group estimates that the number of dogs is likely much higher when undocumented and unregistered animals are factored in.

In order to combat the problem, the BWG composed an open letter asking companies to refrain from using Pugs and Bulldogs – including animations of these breeds – in their advertising. They believe that minimizing their presence in popular culture will reduce their popularity and discourage irresponsible breeding.

“These breeds can suffer from some horrible long-term health conditions,” said Dr. O’Neill.

“Reducing and ultimately eliminating these health problems is a goal shared by all those who care about the health and welfare of dogs, but we are currently fighting a losing battle while these dogs continue to be used needlessly in thoughtless advertising.

“We are heading towards a welfare crisis for these breeds so it is time for companies to prioritize dog welfare over profit and commit to avoiding the use of flat faced dog breeds in advertising.

“Not only will this make a real difference to the health and welfare of these dogs but it will help to protect the companies from brand damage and make it clear that they take their corporate social responsibility seriously.”


H/T to The Independent

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