Vegetarians alerted to ‘bone’ filtered water

The people of North Yorkshire will be warned that Yorkshire Water uses carbonised cow’s bones to filter water in a hard-hitting ad campaign by the Vegetarian Society.

The Vegetarian Society is angered at the lack of choice for vegetarians who “might not want their water filtered through dead cows”. An ad, created by Ogilvy One Worldwide, featuring a photo of a dead cow and the strapline “In some parts of the world, dead cows can end up in the drinking water. In some parts of Yorkshire they’re put there”, will run in the local press later this week.

The risk of contracting CJD – the human form of “mad cow” disease – cannot be ruled out, according to a spokesman for the Vegetarian Society. “There is a slim risk, especially in the light of the beef-on-the-bone ban,” he says.

The Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries & Food recently announced a ban of beef-on-the-bone products, which comes into effect on December 16.

But Yorkshire Water claims the public is not at risk because Brimac, the filtering substance, only uses carbonised bones from foreign cattle. Brimac is currently used in ten water refining sites but may be extended to an additional six.

“This process is fully approved by MAFF and the Drinking Water Inspectorate. We use it in the Yorkshire Dales where there is a tendency for the peat to discolour water,” says a spokesman.

The Vegetarian Society has recently had its knuckles rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for a controversial ad which showed post-operative cancer scars and the headline: “It’s much easier to cut out meat.” Also created by Ogilvy One, the ad sparked more than 60 complaints from the public and the meat industry.

The ASA upheld complaints against the ad for a number of reasons, saying that the links between eating red meat and developing cancer are not yet convincing or universally accepted.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here