The Junior Vice President of British Veterinary Association has said that the use of dog breeds such as pugs and dachshunds on Christmas jumpers “normalise” their “harmful characteristics”.
Daniella Dos Santos told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham: “Pugs and sausage dogs are often seen on jumpers and these are very lovely sweet dogs but they are bred with characteristics that can cause them serious welfare issues.
“Pugs have very flat faces so a lot of them find it very difficult to breathe. Sausage dogs have low and long backs, which can lead to very serious back problems.
“We are not trying to detract from the Christmas cheer; we just don’t want the normalisation of potentially harmful characteristics.”
She added: “The problem of putting them on jumpers is that it makes them normalised. As the BVA, we have released advertising guidelines and reached out to all these big retailers.
“The Advertising Standards Authority has come on board. The idea is to not use these animals with extreme health problems.”
'Responsible use' of pets
The ASA said they welcomed the BVA’s advertising guidelines and encouraged advertisers to consider the care of animals when depicting them in advertising.
The authority does not prohibit the use of animals in their rules but emphasises “responsible use” of pets.
Ms Dos Santos said that the response from their campaign had been positive.
“We are having very positive engagement. Certain brands such as HSBC, Costa and Heinz have all pledged to review what animals, and how they use them,” she said.
“The Greetings Card Association has also been in touch with us and so have the Advertising Standards Authority.
“The success of this is down to vets and the wider public getting engaged with this campaign and spreading the word.”