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A Chinese cafe is being criticized for painting dogs to look like pandas to increase social media 'likes'

© Getty/China News Service

By Rachel Hosie, INSIDER

  • A Chinese cafe is being criticized for painting dogs to look like pandas.
  • At The Cute Pet Games cafe in China's southwestern Sichuan province, chow chow dogs are painted black and white to resemble panda cubs.
  • But after a video was posted on Weibo, the cafe received a fair amount of criticism, according to CNN.
  • PETA also condemned the practice in a statement sent to Insider, saying: "PETA urges travelers to stay away from any business that exploits animals for a money-grabbing gimmick and social media 'likes.'"
  • The cafe owner insists the dogs are not harmed in the process, but he is no longer offering pet-dying, according to the Guardian.

A Chinese cafe is being criticized for painting dogs to look like pandas. 

At The Cute Pet Games cafe in China's southwestern Sichuan province, chow chow dogs are painted black and white to resemble panda cubs. 

© Getty/China News Service

The cafe, which opened last month, is in a region that's home to the endangered animals, according to the Guardian

But after a video was posted about the dogs on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, an online debate has begun over the treatment of the animals. 

"It costs 1,500 Chinese yuan ($212) to dye (a pet) each time," the owner, Mr Huang, said in the video, according to CNN

He also said the dye doesn't harm the dogs, and the idea is that visitors in the cafe play with the animals while enjoying their food and drink. 

© Getty/China News Service

The dyeing service has also been offered to customers who wanted to make their own pets resemble pandas, the Guardian reports.

Dyeing pets has been a trend in China since the early 2010s, according to the BBC, but many people have expressed concern at the practice. 

"While they look adorable, dyeing the pet this way can easy hurt them," one Weibo user wrote, according to CNN. 

Another person added: "Why did he have to treat the dogs like that?" 

Animal rights organisation PETA is among those condemning the stunt. 

© Getty/China News Service

"There are far better ways to show appreciation for pandas than by using sensitive dogs as dyeable decorative displays," PETA's Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said in a statement sent to Insider. 

"Coating dogs with chemical dyes is stressful and can even cause allergic reactions on their skin, nose, and eyes. PETA urges travelers to stay away from any business that exploits animals for a money-grabbing gimmick and social media 'likes.'" 

Cafe owner Mr Huang insisted to Hongxing News that the dogs aren't harmed by the dye and that he employs special staff for the process, according to the BBC

But following the backlash, the cafe is reportedly no longer offering the pet-dying service, according to the Guardian. 

"Chengdu is the home of pandas. We wanted to do something different, to differentiate us from other regular dog cafes and pet shops," said Mr Huang as per the news site. 

"As their owners, their lives are much better than ours. They are also very healthy. Netizens please don't project your thoughts on to us," he added on Weibo.

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