The BVA is urging vets to join its new #BreedtoBreathe campaign and help tackle the prevalence of brachycephalic dogs in advertising and social media.

The call comes as new figures show almost half of all UK vets (49 per cent) believe their clients who choose brachycephalic dogs are swayed by social media or celebrities. Data from the BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey also shows that almost all companion animal vets (98 per cent) treated brachycephalic dogs for conformation-related health problems in the last year.

As part of its campaign, BVA is urging practices to avoid using images of brachycephalic breeds across their own communication channels. They are also encouraging practices to write to brands that use brachycephalic breeds in their advertising.

To support practices, BVA has developed a position statement, a 10-point plan and an online toolbox. The position statement was approved at BVA’s December council and lists actions that veterinary practices can undertake to improve the health and welfare of brachycephalic breeds.

BVA President John Fishwick said: “Several well-known brands that use images of flat-faced dogs, such as Costa Coffee, Heinz and Comic Relief, have responded positively to letters from BVA and individual members of the profession recently, and pledged to avoid using them in future campaigns. These seemingly small victories offer hope for greater and long-lasting change.

“While the veterinary profession is relatively small, its reach is significant and its role is critical to the health and welfare of not only animals, but the rest of society too. That is why we believe that it is important for the veterinary team to utilise its spheres of influence both online and offline, which includes avoiding mixed messages between what clients and the wider public are being told by vets and VNs in practice and what they were seeing in practice communications.”

He continues: “We’re urging vets to continue speaking out on behalf of the animals that we swear an oath to protect, since we know that hearing first-hand from individual members of the vet-led team has a real impact on the brands in question. BVA will continue to support members in challenging irresponsible promotions using these breeds.”

The #BreedtoBreathe toolkit containing a 10-point plan for practices, template letter and shareable infographics is available at www.bva.co.uk/brachys.

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