China – rightly – is wildly proud of its pandas, the fluffy bear known for its black-and-white spots and penchant for bamboo.
But when a local café in Chengdu – the south-central providence China’s pandas called home –started dying white dogs to resemble the famous local bear, outraged citizens loudly disagreed with the owner’s supposedly clever marketing strategy.
“While they look adorable, dyeing the pet this way can easy hurt them,” one user wrote on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. “Why did he have to treat the dogs like that?” another person wondered, according to CNN.
The original idea was to let the “pandas” interact with customers while they ate, like a knock-off version of a cat café. But the shop’s owner, Mr. Huang, took the concept further by offering patrons the option to also dye their own dogs.
“It costs 1,500 Chinese yuan ($212) to dye (a pet) each time,” Huang says in the following video, which was posted by China’s People’s Daily. He swear the imported Japanese dye doesn’t present a health risk to the animals, but animal advocates have rightly countered this claim.
“Dogs aren’t bonsai trees to be sculpted into shapes that please us,” PETA’s Elisa Allen said in a statement. “Many are nervous about being groomed, and dyeing them bright colors puts them at risk for allergic reactions and even toxic poisoning, which can have serious and even fatal consequences.”
Meanwhile, stories abound about dogs falling victim to ill-conceived fashion trends – especially in China, where the nearby state of Guangdong once marketed “tiger dogs” – ie dogs dyed with faux tiger stripes – to “trendsetting” consumers. Many of those innocent canines, according to reports, died within the week.
We sincerely hope that this viral backlash – which started in China but has quickly gone global – will help Mr. Huang recognized the error of his ways. “Panda dogs” might be a unique marketing ploy, but no amount of money is worth putting innocent lives at risk!
You can watch this infuriating video below:
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