From ‘Dyeing Chow Chows to look like pandas: Cute or cruel?’, 4 Feb 2016, article by Melissa Zhu, CNA
Panda Chow Chows has been up and running for only about a month, but the new business is already drawing both admiration and criticism online. A Facebook post by owner Meng Jiang’s husband, Mr Anton Kreil, last Friday (Jan 29) was widely shared with pictures of the three Chow Chows dyed and groomed to look like pandas. The business centres around photo-shoots with the canines at the couple’s home.
By Thursday morning, the post had more than 400 comments, with most either gushing about how “adorable” or “cute” the dyed dogs were or condemning the practice as “disgusting” and “cruel”.
…Her Chow Chows, she said, live in a 3,500 sq ft home in Sentosa, enjoy 20°C air-conditioning, are taken for walks twice a day and are fed the “best pet foods and supplements available on the market”.
Thanks to pet grooming entrepreneurs like Meng Jiang, now you no longer need to tussle with crowds to take a peek at Kai Kai and Jia Jia at River Safari. Dog-Pandas have been a thing for some time, particulary in China. One such owner claims the makeover does wonders for her sheepdog’s ‘self-confidence’. So not only do advocates of canine panda-ing spoil their pets silly with home ambient temperatures that cater to actual pandas in some Sentosa Villa, they are also dog whisperers who can read animal minds, like ‘Wow, master, great mascara job. All my dog life I’ve dreamt of looking like an endangered species!’ Maybe I should dress up my cat as Cai Shen Ye and ask these people whether they can tell if she’s having the time of her life or not, provided she doesn’t scratch my eyeballs out.
Panda dogs are just one of the bizarre mutations that owners subject their pets to for their own entertainment, though in the case of Panda Chow Chows – income. Here are some wacky creations straight out of the Island of Dr Moreau.
- Chickens as lobsters and sharks
3. A Katy Perry peacock
4.. Cat as a bunny
Oh look how happy and self-confident that cat is! Nothing like a burst of candy pink than some boring grey tabby stripes eh?
It makes you wonder though, if owners who transform their pets into other beasts with dyes or put miniature human clothes on them for their walkies are doing it for the psychological well being of the animals, or just to stoke their own egos, to bask in the fawning attention, or fulfill some deep, forlorn yearning for real human children. Maybe all this animal cosplay is a manifestation of our desire to claim dominion over the birds, the bees and the fish in the sea like what the Bible tells us, to do a one-up over unfashionable Mother Nature, that I can put a blue Mohawk on my hamster and there’s nothing you, or my rodent minion, can do about it. What do you expect from a species that grows ears on innocent rats? It isn’t cruelty if it’s in the name of SCIENCE. If I attach a fake ear on a hamster, on the other hand, I’ll be called a twisted sociopath who’ll stop at nothing to throw kittens down HDB blocks.
You could argue that selective breeding itself is cruel, that dogs are not meant to look like pugs or poodles, that you’ve already committed abuse by buying a pedigree BEFORE even touching it. Pugs for example, suffer respiratory problems because we DESIGNED them that way. To look cute for US. Chow Chows are particularly susceptible to an eyelid disorder called entropion. Blacking the areas around their eyes definitely doesn’t help matters. So those who cry abuse are missing the forest for the trees. If you are a purebred owner, you’re already an accomplice to an industry that prizes cuteness over disease and deformity, whether or not you dress your dogs as cuddly bears. If you own a pug suffering from ‘stenotic nares‘ because it was born and built that way, then you have no moral authority slamming a Chow Chow for looking like a panda.
We are all guilty of decorating our pets at some point, irritating them by putting socks over their ears, Christmas hats on their heads, or making them jump into tiny boxes like Maru, assuming that they ‘enjoy’ the treatment like how a circus tiger ‘enjoys’ leaping through a ring of fire, succumbing to anthromorphic thinking. Chow Chow Pandas is just bringing that domineering nature in us to another level, assuming that those dyes are tried and tested. Still, claims like 100% ‘organic’ for chemicals don’t cut it these days. The jury is still out as to how safe this cosmetic manipulation, which does the animal no real benefit at all, actually is. Even if there are carcinogens in the dye, the animal would probably die a natural death before we even start to see the adverse effects.
Parents do the same shit to their unsuspecting babies all the time, who, like animals, haven’t the faintest idea of what’s going on. If my parents were to show me a picture of me as a baby wrapped in a taco, published on Facebook for the whole world to see for their personal gratification, I would walk right out of the house and never return. Dogs may forget if you ever made them look like damned cotton-candy coated losers in front of the bitches, but humans..never.