A pet cafe in Chengdu, China could be blackballed by pet-lovers after a video showcasing six chow-chow dogs dyed to look like pandas went viral.
No pandas? No problem... NOT! The “Cute Pet Games” café in Chengdu, China thought their concept for an interactive “panda café was a no-brainer: dye some cute puppies to look like panda cubs and laugh all the way to the bank. You gotta wonder who's laughing now, after their panda puppy put-on sparked a blackballing backlash.
Chengdu is the capitol of Szechuan, the southwestern Chinese province where most of the world's endangered Giant Pandas can be found. As such, so-called “panda tourism” has helped spawn a myriad of panda-themed services and businesses. We can't blame the owner of Cute Pet Games for wanting to get in on the panda bonanza... how he did it, on the other hand, deserves plenty of blame.
The video (click here to view) features a short interview with a Mr Huang, apparently the owner, as he cuddles one of the shop's six black & white dyed chow-chows. To be fair, the gent sports some dyed fur of his own (his blond hairdo, to be exact) but that questionable body mod was of his own choice. The chow-chows, not so much.
Mr Huang also explained the Cute Pet Games café's business model: not only do paying customers get to cavort with the shop's six “staff”, they can also have their own pets dyed to match for the low, low price of 1,500 yuan (roughly $212). Huang's conscience might've been nagging at him when he explained the dye is a vegetable-based, non-toxic formulation imported in from Japan. Details on his own rug were not forthcoming.
At first, all seemed peachy at Cute Pet Games café, with customers gushing over the “really cute” panda dogs. As business increased, however, negative opinions have multiplied. When PETA got wind of the café, they put out a statement decrying the dog dyeing as it stresses out the animals and may provoke allergic reactions. Last but not least, according to Jason Baker, PETA Asia's Vice President, “There are far better ways to show appreciation for pandas.”
The end result is a bit of a mixed bag – business at Cute Pet Games café is up, though the shop did announce via their official Weibo account that they had discontinued their dyeing services. They then deleted their account and all of the postsso... win-win? (via Hong Kong Free Press and The Independent)