Vodafone India’s latest ad campaign features 30 pugs running through a village – and in a letter sent to the company, PETA India has called for an end to the use of these and other animals in Vodafone’s campaigns.
In the letter, PETA India points out that pugs have been deliberately bred to have features so severely exaggerated that they cause physical suffering – just to suit a concept of “cuteness” marketed by breeders to potential buyers. Pugs’ flat faces make them prone to brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, causing them commonly to snort and snore as they struggle to breathe, and they are especially susceptible to heatstroke and thus suffer greatly in India’s humid climate. Their protruding eyes are prone to injury, chronic irritation, and pain. Their folded skin is susceptible to painful, itchy skin infections, and they’re prone to dental disease, spinal deformities, and exercise intolerance.
Vodafone’s advertisements have popularised the breed in India, and breeders and pet stores have cashed in on the demand, forcing mother dogs to produce litter after litter until their bodies wear out. Pugs are commonly bred with close relatives to ensure that their offspring inherit unnatural, freakish features. The puppies are sold to buyers who are often unprepared to deal with the breed’s numerous physical ailments, and the dogs face physical deterioration, neglect, or death when their guardians fail to recognise medical issues, can’t afford to pay their veterinary bills, or simply opt not to deal with their health concerns. Many end up dumped on the streets or on animal-protection groups’ doorsteps: One Delhi group found four abandoned pugs in a span of just 10 days.
Every time someone buys any dog from a breeder or a pet store, one living on the streets or waiting in an animal shelter loses his or her chance at finding a good home. PETA India encourages people who have the time, space, and resources to welcome a dog into their home to stay away from breeders and pet stores and adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue one from the street.
Indian dogs make wonderful, loyal companions. They tend to be free of many of the health and behavioural problems that plague their purebred cousins who are bred for certain unnatural physical traits such as squashed-in noses or long ears.
By making an Indian dog a part of your family, you not only save a life but also make a best friend for life. Pledge to always adopt and never buy animals from pet stores or breeders!