The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a press advertising campaign for British pork and bacon by the Meat & Livestock Commission (MLC), after it exaggerated suffering endured by pigs in other countries.
The ban follows complaints by the Danish Bacon & Meat Council (DBMC), Vegetarian International Voice for Animals, Animal Aid and members of the public.
The ads, which urged consumers to “Look after the farmers who look after their pigs”, were meant to highlight the good living standards that British pigs enjoyed compared with those in other countries.
But the ASA ruled that one of the ads – which featured a suckling sow with the caption “After she’s fed them, she could be fed to them” – exaggerated the minute possibility of a piglet eating products derived from its own mother.
The ASA also acknowledged that the practice of using meat and bonemeal in feed had virtually ceased in European Union countries at the time the ad campaign ran in May last year.
It also upheld a complaint about another ad in the campaign, on the grounds that it misleadingly implied that pigs reared under the Assured British Pigs scheme led a freer life than they actually do.
DBMC marketing director John Howard welcomed the ASA’s ruling, but criticised it for taking nine months to reach a decision, during which time the MLC continued to run the campaign.
A number of other complaints against the ads, including the assertion that they would cause distress to readers, were not upheld.