As pugs remain one of the most popular dog breeds in India, supporters of PETA India and Deven’s Hope Society in pug costumes and oxygen masks gathered in Hyderabad to warn its citizens that foreign brachycephalic dogs (those with a short skull and flat face), such as pugs, struggle to breathe and can even require surgery for serious respiratory problems – and compassionate people should never buy them.
Pugs, popularised by Vodafone commercials, and other breathing-impaired breeds (BIB) such as French and English bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston terriers, boxers, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, and shih tzus suffer from an agonising and sometimes fatal condition called brachycephalic syndrome, which causes them to pant, snort, wheeze, and struggle just to breathe. It can make chasing a ball, running, playing, and even going for a walk – the things that make dogs’ lives joyful and fulfilling – difficult.
PETA India has requested that Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Shri Parshottam Rupala amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017, to prohibit the breeding of these animals. In Norway, restrictions have been imposed on breeding flat-faced dogs, and the Netherlands, which has also banned the breeding of certain BIBs, is considering prohibiting ownership of these animals and their use in advertising.
PETA India also warns that most pet shops and breeders are illegal, as they aren’t registered with the state animal welfare boards. They typically deprive dogs of proper veterinary care and adequate food, exercise, affection, and opportunities for socialisation – in addition to fuelling the animal overpopulation crisis.