The Blue Cross calls for a ban on the use of pugs and French bulldogs appearing in advertisements
Blue Cross #EndTheTrend campaign calls on brands to commit to phase out the use of brachycephalic breeds in marketing materials by 2022
Image: Blue Cross)
A leading animal charity is calling on brands and companies to stop using pugs and French bulldogs in their advertisements to help protect animals.
This comes as flat-faced dogs continue to gain popularity, with the Kennel Club reporting a 2,747% increase in the number of registered Frenchies over the past 17 years.
In 2021, brachycephalic breeds made up a fifth of the nation’s dog population, but owners often don’t realize their pets could be in pain.
A Royal Veterinary College survey found that 58% of owners of short-nosed dogs couldn’t recognize the signs that their brachycephalic dog was having trouble breathing.
Blue Cross has launched a series of mock ads around London calling on UK brands to stop using these animals in their advertising campaigns, in a bid to avert a welfare crisis by using the hashtag #endthetrend.
Brachycephalic describes any dog whose muzzle appears to have been flattened or squashed inward. Their lower jaw is often disproportionately longer than their upper jaw, and the dog may appear to have its lower jaw sticking out.
Some of the breeds considered “brachy” include Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers – Persian cats and Lionhead rabbits are also affected.
And because they are used to promote products that are often unrelated to dogs, they have received fashionable status and are often popular with celebrities.
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Famous faces who love their Frenchies include Lady Gaga – who was robbed earlier this year – as well as Dwayne Johnson, Reece Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman, while Nicola Roberts, Paris Hilton and Kelly Osbourne favored pugs.
But Blue Cross – which has been helping sick, injured, abandoned and homeless animals since 1897 – says the obsession with these animals has caused a welfare crisis, having treated more than 5,000 brachy animals in the past two years. .
Common procedures the charity performs on these animals include:
Surgery for brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (or “BOAS”) – which they say is “a complicated and stressful surgery for any pet” but vital for widening their nasal passages and shortening their soft palate in order to improve their ability to breathe.
Eyelid Enucleation and Surgery – surgery to repair or remove their eyes and change their eyelids due to the high rates of disease.
Emergency Cesarean – because many cannot give birth to litters naturally and need medical intervention.
Blue Cross explained that these health issues stemmed from a vicious cycle of over-breeding to meet the demand of these flat-faced, four-legged friends, many of whom no longer even look like their healthy ancestors who came just a century before them. .
A spokesperson for the charity added: “This has led to these breeds being seen as the latest ‘must-haves’ and an increase in impulse buying – often leading to the sale or abandonment of animals. pets when their owners find they cannot cope with or afford vet bills for treatments associated with their breed.
‘It has also led to a huge increase in the cost of puppies, especially during the pandemic, which has unfortunately led to a huge increase in dog thefts across the UK – with research showing these breeds are often specifically targeted. . “
The new End The Trend campaign calls on brands to commit to phasing out the use of these pets in branding materials by the end of 2022.
The fictitious ads were placed at 10 high-profile stations in London, including Charing Cross, London Bridge, St Pancras, Victoria and Waterloo.
As part of the campaign, the charity launched a petition that members of the public can sign to urge their favorite brands to make a commitment to this pledge. The petition is available here: www.bluecross.org.uk/endthetrend
Blue Cross veterinarian Caroline Reay added, “Brachycephalic animals, like Frenchies and pugs, have grown in popularity in recent years. With their convincing big eyes and baby faces, our obsession with their looks has created an animal welfare crisis.
“As these breeds gain popularity, there is a parallel increase in unscrupulous breeders looking to capitalize on a trend. Our veterinary hospital teams are treating more and more very sick pets who experience health complications due to breeding for a characteristic “flat face”.
“The Frenchies, the pugs and the Persians have become advertising posters, whatever the product, and behind these pretty faces can hide horrible health problems. We call on businesses to find other ways to promote their products and help us #EndTheTrend. “