Zoo Faces Backlash Over Dyeing Dogs to Resemble Pandas in Misleading Exhibit

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A zoo in Jiangsu province, China is under fire after pulling a shady marketing ploy that duped thousands of visitors during the recent Labor Day holidays. According to multiple media reports, this facility advertised a special “panda dog” exhibit, leading families to believe they’d get to see some sort of exotic panda hybrid creature.

Image credits: MK_西多士 /Weibo

Instead, once people had paid admission, they were treated to the sight of regular dogs – likely Chow Chows – that had been dyed with black and white fur to loosely resemble real pandas. Photos and videos circulating online show the painted pooches on display surrounded by hordes of confused and upset guests who had fallen for the misleading “panda dog” billing.

Image credits: MK_西多士 /Weibo

Needless to say, people were pissed. Who wouldn’t be after shelling out cash based on false advertising, only to be presented with literal dog and pony shows? The backlash was swift on Chinese social media, with tons of comments blasting the zoo for their underhanded tactics and lack of ethics. Some critics argue that certain businesses prioritize profits over providing an authentic experience involving live animal exhibits.

When confronted, the zoo tried feebly defending their scheme. An unnamed staff member claimed dyeing the dogs was meant to “add fun” and drive up attendance, since their facility is too small for actual pandas. Yeah, because intentionally deceiving your customers is such a laugh riot.

Image credits: MK_西多士 /Weibo

Another oblivious employee bizarrely equated it to humans coloring their hair, clearly not grasping the risks of exposing pets to harsh dyes and chemicals that could make them ill if ingested while grooming. Most legitimate animal experts vehemently warn against such practices for good reason.

Image credits: MK_西多士 /Weibo

At the end of the day, this “panda dog” fiasco reeks of a brazen cash grab that sacrifices ethics for profits. Zoos are supposed to educate the public about real animals in a responsible way, not peddle cheap gimmicks and trick families. The blow to their credibility may linger too; one commenter likened their stunt to “selling a rubber dog and calling it roast chicken.” Ouch.

Image credits: MK_西多士 /Weibo

Pulling dishonest stunts that mistreat animals is a surefire way for facilities to tank their reputation in this day and age. If they want to keep visitors coming back, zoos need to ditch the sketchy side-shows and focus on building engaging, authentic experiences people don’t feel cheated by. Otherwise, the outrage will keep growing louder.

Source: boredpanda

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