Complaints have been dismissed surrounding an anti-dairy advert which claimed ‘humane milk is a myth’.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received complaints, including from people within the industry, the claims made in the advert were misleading, following its publication in newspapers and on posters and billboards.
Seven complainants said they believed that the ad did not accurately describe the way that dairy cattle were generally treated in the UK.
They challenged whether the claims “Humane milk is a myth”, “The mothers, still bloody from birth” and “their daughters, fresh from their mothers’ wombs but separated from them” were misleading and could be substantiated.
But ASA concluded that the ad was unlikely to materially mislead readers.
ASA said Go Vegan World had provided papers showing dairy cows were ‘bloody from birth’ for more than two weeks post-delivery and believed the phrase ‘fresh from their mothers’ wombs’ would be commonly understood as applying to a very young infant or neonate.
Go Vegan World added it did not state or imply that calves were separated from their mothers prior to the 12–24 hours recommended by DEFRA but the timing was ‘irrelevant to the ad’ as 'most people would consider separation at 25 hours as unjust as separation at 24 hours'.
ASA considered readers, who were unlikely to have specialist knowledge of the dairy industry, understood calves were generally separated from their mothers very soon after being born rather than a comment on compliance with any specific welfare standards.
It added it was clear that the ad was for a vegan pressure group, and the language used reflected the group’s opinion about the use of animals in the production of food.
It concluded: “Although the language used to express the claims was emotional and hard-hitting, we understood it was the case that calves were generally separated from their mothers very soon after birth, and we therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to materially mislead readers.”