The BVA has raised concerns over John Lewis’ Christmas advert depicting “Buster the Boxer” on a trampoline – and has urged owners not to recreate the scene at home.
After seeing the advert for the first time, BVA president Gudrun Ravetz tweeted the department store: “Please don’t try this at home. Seen awful dog/trampoline injuries in vet practice #bustertheboxer.”
Following Mrs Ravetz’s tweet, BVA wrote to John Lewis reiterating its concerns.
The letter, signed by Mrs Ravetz, said: “Serious injuries can result from dogs being placed or jumping on to trampolines and we are concerned your advert may cause many people to copy such behaviour with their pets – videos of dogs on trampolines [are] already being widely shared online and on social media.
“While we appreciate the feel-good sentiment the advert is trying to convey, and it is intended to be whimsical, in reality vets – including myself – have seen a wide range of injuries to dogs as a result of being on a trampoline, from leg breaks to ligament damage.
“Furthermore, animals do not understand why the trampoline surface is different and can get confused and frightened when put on it, causing them further stress.”
‘Undermining’ welfare work
The letter said vets and animal welfare charities work “very hard” to promote responsible ownership and adverts, such as John Lewis’, can “undermine” this work.
“We trust you will appreciate our concerns and will consider the implications for animals, and their owners, in future advertising campaigns,” it concluded.
The BVA is encouraging the vet profession to join its calls for John Lewis to issue a light-hearted “do not try this at home” message with the advert to prevent potential dog injuries. It has also called on influential national brands to use animals – be they real, computer-generated imagery (CGI) or cartoon – “appropriately and responsibly” in advertising campaigns.
Created using CGI
A John Lewis spokesman said: “The trampoline scenes were created using CGI and no animals were placed on a trampoline during the making of our advert.
“Animal safety is also important to us and we hope people will appreciate real animals wouldn’t actually play like this. Feedback overwhelmingly suggests they do.
“On our website, where we sell trampolines, we have safety information, including advice not to put animals on them.”