Updated April 17, 2019. Vegan actor Jerome Flynn, who plays Bronn in HBO’s hit fantasy drama “Game of Thrones,” is urging fans to stop buying huskies.
The fluffy Spitz dogs look similar to the show’s direwolves — wolf-like wild dogs the size of ponies — given to the Stark children at the beginning of the series. Most of the direwolves in “Game of Thrones” are played by Northern Inuit dogs, a type of Siberian husky.
“While people may have good intentions, acquiring dogs on a whim has dire consequences,” Flynn, a longtime vegan, says in the video, noting that many dogs are abandoned because people “failed to take into consideration the amount of time, patience, and money required to care for these animals properly.”
President of the Northern California Sled Dog Rescue, Angelique Miller, told the Dodo in August 2017 that rescue groups have experienced an influx of surrendered and abandoned huskies since “Game of Thrones” first aired in 2011 — sometimes as much as twice the amount of dogs.
Flynn isn’t the first vegan “Game of Thrones” star to speak out against buying huskies. Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister in the series, shared a similar message in an August 2017 PETA video.
What’s Wrong With Buying Dogs?
It’s common for certain dog breeds to surge in popularity because of media. Research has shown that Disney’s “101 Dalmations” and the 1992 film “Beethoven” can increase breed demand for up to a decade.
“If people buy en-masse dogs because they appear in movies the consequences can be negative for the dogs themselves,” said Dr. Alberto Acerbi, study co-author.
Shopping for dogs is troublesome, not only because certain breeds require more care than prospective pet parents realize, but also because many of the most “desirable” dogs have the greatest number of inherited disorders.
There’s also another issue with buying dogs — shelters are overcrowded to begin with. While there’s no central data for pets in the U.S., the Humane Society of the United States estimates that of the 3 million cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year, 80 percent are adoptable.
“If you have carefully considered bringing a four-legged companion into your family, you can save a life by adopting a dog – or preferably two so they can keep each other company – from your local animal shelter,” says Flynn.
Jerome Flynn Speaks Out Against Mega Farms
Flynn hasn’t just used his platform to warn fans against buying dogs. The actor also recently spoke out against new megafarms in Northern Ireland, which are due to be built on some of the “Game of Thrones” filming locations.
According to Country Living, Flynn has stated that the farms will be detrimental to wildlife and the environment.
As well as housing and farming around 80,000 pigs a year, if plans do go ahead, the new megafarms “will spoil biodiversity, poison fish and drive endangered bird populations away from these once pristine habitats,” said Flynn.
The star also commented that fans, filmmakers, and tourists will avoid the area if the farms are built.