People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, requested Vodafone to stop using pugs in their ads stating that pugs are â€˜not normal dogs and are always in painâ€™ in their letter addressed to Vodafone India Ltd CEO, Sunil Sood.
The animal welfare organisation stated that pugs are a genetically compromised species with features such as flat noses, bulging eyes and folds of skin forced on the species through unethical breeding.
According to media reports, PETA said, the dogs have become popular in India, thanks largely to Vodafone commercials, and are purchased by people who are usually unaware that they're severely compromised genetically by being bred for unnatural traits, such as tiny flat noses, bulging eyes, and folds of skin.
Asking Vodafone to pass a policy prohibiting the use of animals, including pugs, in its advertising, they said that animals like pugs are used in the entertainment industry where they often become frightened and overwhelmed by the chaos, loud noises, bright lights and countless retakes on film sets.
The ads featuring a pug were first seen in 2003 as a part of Hutchison Essarâ€™s ad campaign in India and the breed came to symbolize Vodafone later. Soon after, the sale of pugs went through the roof with people charging and paying exorbitant amounts to own one. A recent Vodafone ad featured about 30 pugs.
It is important to note that PETA awarded their Glitterbox Awards to Vodafone two years in a row in 2009 and 2010 for animal-friendly ads featuring a fake parrot and ZooZoos.
Pugs are known to suffer from various health problems and are not considered best in Indian climates where the chances of suffering from heat are high. PETA said that unaware of their pain and several possible medical conditions, people often buy pugs and in many cases later dump them. "One Delhi group found four abandoned pugs in a span of just 10 days," PETA said.
"They face physical deterioration, neglect, abandonment, or even death when their guardians fail to recognise medical issues, can't afford to pay their veterinary bills, or refuse to provide them with the care that they require," the letter said.
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