Vegetarian Society ad under attack from cancer charity

An advertisement for The Vegetarian Society which links cancer to eating red meat has been condemned by a breast cancer charity .

The ad shows close-ups of post-operative scars on cancer sufferers and carries the headline: “It’s much easier to cut out meat.”

Pamela Goldberg, director of the Breast Cancer Campaign which is one of the charities involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, says: “It is implying that if you get cancer it is your fault. Getting cancer is not like drinking and driving, where if you have an accident you are to blame.”

More than 30 people have so far complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the ad, which ran in national newspapers last week.

But Steve Connor, head of public affairs for the Vegetarian Society, is unapologetic. “You can’t put fluffy fruit and vegetables on a page. It would look like an ad for a greengrocer’s shop. How do people expect us to illustrate cancer?”

He defends the Society’s claims, which he says are backed by evidence from the World Cancer Research Fund.

But Chris Lamb, Meat & Livestock Commission consumer marketing manager, says: “It’s trying to frighten people.”

The ASA Council will adjudicate in the next fortnight on whether the ad, through Ogilvy One, should be banned.

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