Greeting Card Association backs #breedtobreathe campaign

A high profile on merchandise is one of the top reasons why people buy pugs and other brachycephalic animals.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the BVA has written to the greeting card industry appealing for their help to suppress the demand for brachycephalic pets.

A survey of UK vets found that looks, popularity and a high profile on merchandise are the top three reasons why people buy pugs and other ‘flat-faced’ animals. But vets also said that a high percentage of owners were unaware of the breed’s potential health problems before they took the plunge.

To help raise awareness of the problems facing brachycephalic breeds, the trade body for the greeting card industry has highlighted the issue with its members. Greeting Card Association chief executive Sharon Little said:

“Greeting cards reflect lifestyle trends so, unsurprisingly, popular animals are featured on greeting cards, as well as many other products. We have written to our members to raise awareness of the campaign and have publicised it through the trade press.

“Card publishers and retailers have up to a year’s lead times, but we’re sharing this information now so that our members can make informed decisions about the products they stock and sell in the future.”

This is the second year running that the BVA has asked people to ‘give hugs, not pugs’ for Valentine’s day. Besides the Greeting Card Association, the BVA has also raised the issue with organisations including Costa Coffee, Marks & Spencer and Heinz – all of which have pledged to avoid the use of brachycephalic breeds in their advertising campaigns.

BVA president and vet John Fishwick said: “Pugs and many other flat-faced dogs have lovely temperaments, but the use of their images on cards and gifts is ‘normalising’ these breeds’ short noses and big eyes which can cause horrendous pain for the animal and prove costly for the owner to treat.

“We understand that stock for this year is already in the shops, but we’re confident that now card retailers are aware of these problems they will want to do their bit to reduce the visibility and, hopefully, the popularity of these breeds.

“Valentine’s Day is meant to be romantic, so giving a gift or card depicting an animal that can suffer breathing difficulties or skin problems as a result of its breeding is definitely a message to avoid. That’s why we’re saying choose hugs not Pugs to show your love.”

The Valentine’s Day message forms part of the BVA’s #BreedtoBreathe campaign which aims to help tackle the prevalence of brachycephalic breeds in advertising and social media.

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