Moonpig to stop selling pug cards over animal welfare concerns | retail industry

Moonpig is to stop selling cards featuring pictures of pugs and French bulldogs after criticism from veterinarians and activists who fear the images will increase demand for the breeds, which often have serious health problems.

Last year, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) wrote to the Greeting Card Association and card retailers, including Moonpig, Paperchase and WH Smith, urging them to stop using pugs and other flat-faced dogs on cards.

There has been a sharp increase in ownership of flat-faced breeds, including pugs, French bulldogs and English bulldogs in the UK in recent years, with the BVA concerned that their increasing presence in advertising, as well as on cards and gifts, is normalizing the perceptions of their short noses and large eyes.

While some perceive these breeds’ wrinkled, flattened faces as “cute,” veterinarians caution that dogs with short snouts can have trouble breathing, even when doing day-to-day activities like walking or eating. Other problems faced by brachycephalic, or flat-faced, dogs include eye disease and an inability to mate or give birth naturally.

A Royal Veterinary College study published in May 2022 suggested that “urgent action is needed as many pug health problems are associated with their extreme body shape”.

He concluded that the health of pugs in the UK is now substantially different and much worse than other breeds, revealing that they are almost twice as likely to suffer from one or more disorders annually compared to other dogs.

Despite this backdrop, the popularity of these breeds has increased thanks to celebrity owners and social media exposure, and in 2018, the French bulldog overtook the Labrador retriever to become the most popular in the UK. This reflected a nearly 3,000% increase in numbers over the previous 10 years. In light of the increase, the BVA has run several campaigns including #HugsNotPugs and #BreedtoBreathe to raise awareness.

On Friday, a search for “pug” and “French bulldog” on the Moonpig website on Friday yielded no cards showing either breed. However, several cards adorned with images of English bulldogs, also flat-faced, remained for sale.

Animal rights lobby group Peta has also raised concerns with Moonpig about promoting “breathing problem” dog breeds such as pugs and French bulldogs on their cards. The company has now confirmed to Peta that it is removing any cards featuring pugs or French bulldogs from its website. He also told Peta that he will not be creating or providing any card designs featuring these races in the future.

Yvonne Taylor, director of corporate projects at Peta, said Moonpig was acting responsibly by banning images of pugs and French bulldogs. The measure would help “put an end to the promotion of dog breeds with painful and life-threatening deformities”.

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“Peta is celebrating this compassionate first step and will continue to work with Moonpig to extend this new policy to all breeds with respiratory issues, including Boston terriers, boxers and shih-tzus,” she said.

Moonpig was approached for comment.

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