The Blue Cross is campaigning for the end to the over-popularisation of brachycephalic pets, which have a short skull shape, giving the appearance of a flattened face.
The charity said that French bulldogs, British bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Persian cats and lionhead rabbits are all particularly affected by brachycephaly caused by what they describe as “cruel and inhumane” over-breeding.
Blue Cross claimed that advertising is causing a high demand for brachycephalic pets, and the over-popularisation of these dogs and cats is fuelled further by online sales, and the impact of unregulated breeding.
In a statement, the charity said that this has “resulted in an animal welfare crisis”.
According to their data, brachycephalic breeds accounted for one fifth of the nation’s dogs in 2021.
The charity said: “By using brachycephalic pets in their advertisements, brands are indirectly contributing to the over-popularisation of these animals and, in turn, the extreme demand for flat-faced breeds.”
Becky Thwaites, head of public affairs at Blue Cross, said: “We have already started contacting MPs. Ultimately, Blue Cross is determined to see the end of the poor breeding of and are considering all options both legislative and non-legislative to achieve this.”
The Blue Cross #EndTheTrend petition calls for the UK’s leading brands, including ASOS, Brewdog, John Lewis and Pets at Home, to commit to phasing out the use of any brachycephalic pets in their future advertisements by the end of 2022.