ASA rules pig welfare claims are misleading

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a poster campaign by the British Pig Executive (BPEX) over unproven claims that British pig farms have very high welfare standards.

The ad, created by DDB London, states: “British pig farms have very high welfare standards, assured by the Quality Standard Mark (QSM). And well cared for animals mean better quality meat.”

Animal welfare body Compassion for World Farming complained that the statement implied the standard of pig welfare was very high and challenged whether the claim could be substantiated.

BPEX says it did not accept that the statement “British pig farms have very high welfare standards assured by the QSM” meant that the standard of pig welfare was very high. It said it did not see very high welfare per se in pigs as a natural interpretation of the statement and that standards of welfare required by the QSM were higher than those practised in the European Union.

The ASA said that because there is no clear guidance as to how to measure pig welfare across Europe and sufficient doubt as to whether the standard of welfare of pigs on all farms that signed up to the QSM could be described as very high, the ad was misleading.

The ASA dismissed a separate complaint that a press and magazine ad misleadingly exaggerated the standards of pig welfare in the UK.

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