PETA goes after Vodafone for use of pugs in ads

NEW DELHI: Whether Vodafone network ‘follows you’ wherever you go or not, animal welfare organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is after the mobile service provider for bringing back pugs in its commercials after almost two years.

PETA has shot off a letter to Vodafone, urging it to stop using “genetically compromised” pugs in its advertisements, and called for an end to the use of animals in its campaigns. Vodafone’s new ‘network that follows you’ campaign shows 30 pugs.

“No animal should be subjected to the chaos, loud noises, bright lights, and countless retakes on a commercial set just to sell a product, but in this case, Vodafone's ads have encouraged people in India to purchase pugs, contributing to their suffering,” PETA India CEO Manilal Valliyate said.

In its letter addressed to Vodafone India chief executive Sunil Sood, PETA said, “These dogs have become popular in India, thanks largely to your 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.”

These unusual features that many think are ‘cute’ cause the dogs tremendous physical pain, it said. “Vodafone’s ads have popularised the breed in India, and breeders and pet stores have cashed in on the demand, forcing mother dogs to produce litter after litter until their bodies wear out,” PETA said.

It also said pugs are susceptible to suffering from heatstroke in India’s hot climate and “to collapsing and dying in high temperatures”. Vodafone India declined comment on the matter.