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Advertising Standards Authority criticised for flat-faced dog advert
British bulldogs can suffer serious health problems, including breathing difficulties.
BVA’s senior VP Malcolm Morley called the ad ‘extraordinary’.

The senior vice-president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has criticised the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after it used a flat-faced dog in its latest advertising campaign.

Dr Malcolm Morley called the advertisement, parodying Churchill Insurance’s bulldog imagery, ‘extraordinary’ for its use of the brachycephalic breed, which is known for its serious health problems.

The ASA advertisement depicts a bulldog riding a skateboard, in a reference to Churchill Insurance’s recent campaign. The British bulldog has long featured as the insurance company’s mascot, since an employee competition in 1994.

However, in a post on social media site X, Dr Morley has questioned the ASA’s decision to include the dog in its own advertisement. He suggested that using flat-faced dogs in advertising has contributed to increased demand for unhealthy, brachycephalic dogs.

In the thread, Dr Morley pushed for ‘respected influential organisations’ to consider animal welfare, and use images of appropriate and healthy animals in their advertising. He expressed his hope that the ASA would remove the advertisement.

The dispute comes as the BVA continues its ‘Breed to Breathe’ campaign, calling for the improvement of the welfare of brachycephalic dog breeds, such as British bulldogs, French bulldogs and pugs. These flat-faced breeds can suffer serious health and welfare issues, including breathing problems, eye disease and dental problems.

The BVA encourages supporters to ask companies to avoid using brachycephalic breeds in their advertising and marketing.

However the ASA has said that, while they share Dr Morley’s concerns about dog welfare and unhealthy breeding practices, they do not agree that its advertisement promotes the bulldog or brachycephalic breeds.

Matt Wilson, ASA media and public affairs manager, said: “Our ad is one in a series in which we have borrowed famous slogans from several well-known campaigns. In this instance, we’ve used the 'oh yes' strapline from Churchill Insurance and we’ve also featured the British bulldog synonymous with the brand.

“Our ad does not, in our view, encourage or condone cruel breeding practices or encourage/stimulate greater demand for the breed. It is designed to raise awareness of the ASA and to remind people that we regulate UK ads across media.
“The BVA has issued clear guidance in this area. We are supportive of it and signpost/link to it in our own advice. We do not consider that our ad runs contrary to it.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Bristol uni celebrates 75 years of teaching vets

News Story 1
 The University of Bristol's veterinary school is celebrating 75 years of educating veterinary students.

Since the first group of students were admitted in October 1949, the school has seen more than 5,000 veterinary students graduate.

Professor Jeremy Tavare, pro vice-chancellor and executive dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: "I'm delighted to be celebrating Bristol Veterinary School's 75 years.

"Its excellence in teaching and research has resulted in greater understanding and some real-world changes benefiting the health and welfare of both animals and humans, which is testament to the school's remarkable staff, students and graduates." 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
RCVS HQ to temporarily relocate

The headquarters of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is to move temporarily, ahead of its permanent relocation later in the year.

From Monday, 26 February 2024, RCVS' temporary headquarters will be at 2 Waterhouse Square, Holborn, London. This is within walking distance of its current rented offices at The Cursitor, Chancery Lane.

RCVS have been based at The Cursitor since February 2022, following the sale of its Westminster premises the previous March.

However, unforeseen circumstances relating to workspace rental company WeWork filing for bankruptcy means The Cursitor will no longer operate as a WeWork space. The new temporary location is still owned by WeWork.

RCVS anticipates that it will move into its permanent location at Hardwick Street, Clerkenwell, later on in the year.