PETA Calls On Georgetown University to End Use of Deformed Dog Mascots


For Immediate Release:
December 14, 2023

Contact:
Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382

Washington – In response to Georgetown University’s announcement that it’s bringing a new Jack the Bulldog mascot to campus, PETA sent a letter this morning to Georgetown President John J. DeGioia urging him to show benevolence to bulldogs—a breathing-impaired breed (BIB) purposely bred for looks and beset with an array of physical disabilities—by ending the school’s use of live animals. The group points out that dogs, like all animals, are individuals with unique needs—who shouldn’t be paraded in front of boisterous crowds—and that BIBs live with the added stress of being constantly short of breath due to their purposely flattened, pushed-in snouts that reduce their airways.

“Running, playing, or even chasing a ball can be a terrible struggle for dogs like Jack, whose extremely shortened noses and flat faces doom them to a lifetime of suffering,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is urging Georgetown to retire Jack as a live mascot and help reduce the demand for dogs who are purposely bred to have life-threatening deformities.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to DeGioia follows.

December 14, 2023

John J. DeGioia, Ph.D.

President

Georgetown University

Dear President DeGioia:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), headquartered a few blocks from the White House. PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, and we proudly count Georgetown Hoyas among them. We hope that after reading our appeal, you—as president of one of the world’s leading academic institutions and one admirably committed to “justice and the common good”—will move to end the university’s once-beloved tradition of using a breathing-impaired breed (BIB) dog as its mascot. Only recently has the issue of promoting and perpetuating these dogs’ physical problems been brought into the spotlight, so now is the time for Georgetown to get ahead of the game.

Solely for the sake of appearances, English bulldogs, like Jack the Bulldog, and other BIBs have been bred to have deformed, unnaturally flattened faces with severely shortened snouts, pushed so far back against their skulls that there isn’t enough space to accommodate their normal anatomical features. As a result, many BIBS—including English bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, boxers, and French bulldogs—are afflicted with brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, which is the leading cause of death for bulldogs. Anyone who has spent time with a BIB dog has heard them snorting and wheezing. It’s not “cute,” but rather the sound of them struggling to breathe. Many BIBs can’t even enjoy a proper walk or chase a ball—things that make dogs’ lives joyful and fulfilling—without gasping for air.

Veterinarians in the U.S. and abroad are sounding the alarm on this growing crisis: In 2018, the British Veterinary Association called on companies to stop using BIBs in products and advertisements, and we’re doing the same here. The ever-mounting evidence of the suffering of flat-faced dogs is so clear that a number of countries—including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway—now call the breeding of flat-faced dogs “torture breeding” and have banned or restricted the breeding of some or all BIBs.

We ask that you resist the urge to maintain the status quo and instead make good on Georgetown’s commitment to the “common good” by moving away from this cruel tradition of using deformed dogs, thereby inadvertently driving up the demand for them. Universities are phasing out live animal mascots for good reasons, and we’re confident that Georgetown will be able to come up with an idea for a replacement that doesn’t involve dogs or other animals, one that everyone will love.

Thank you for your consideration. We hope to hear from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk

President





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