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Vegan pig advert ruled misleading after number of complaints

The NPA and seven members of the public complained about the advert which was shown in cinemas last December.

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Vegan pig advert ruled misleading

The National Pig Association (NPA) has welcomed a decision by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after a ‘misleading’ advert against pig farming was broadcast in cinemas.

 

The advert, for vegan campaign group Viva!, was broadcast in cinemas in December 2017, showing a pig running around in a field, contrasting with footage of pigs behind the bars of a pen and in a crowded pen.

 

The advert stated the pig, which had been ‘rescued’ by Viva, was doing a dance of joy for being outside for the first time which was ‘something most pigs will never know as 90 per cent are factory farmed’.

 

Misleading

 

But the ASA today ruled with the NPA and seven members of the public that the advert was likely to be misleading.


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NPA chief executive Zoe Davies has welcomed the ruling by the ASA as a ‘fantastic result for the pig industry’.

 

Dr Davies said, like many people connected to the sector, she was ‘extremely unhappy’ when she saw the advert and complained to the ASA.

 

She said the British pig industry refuses to ignore groups making misleading and damaging claims about how our pigs are produced.

 

Dr Davies added Viva! Campaigns appeared to be confused about the indoor pig production figures.

 

The advert claimed being outdoors was ‘something most pigs will never know as 90 per cent are factory farmed’.

 

But Dr Davies highlighted indoor rearing does not inevitably equate to ‘intensive’ production which equally does not necessarily equate to poor welfare.

 

“To intentionally convey that perception is misleading, which is precisely why the ASA ruled in the NPA’s favour,” she said.

 

“NPA hopes this ruling will discourage others from attempting this kind of dishonest campaigning in future.”

 

NPA also complained the ad was misleading because they believed it featured farming methods were no longer allowed in the UK.

 

Exceptions

 

Viva! argued the footage was taken on UK farms and there were exceptions to the requirement of a pig being free to turn around without difficulty at all times, such as during artificial insemination.

 

But ASA agreed the advert was misleading as consumers would interpret the advert to mean pigs intensively or factory farmed in the UK would be kept in similar conditions to those shown in the footage most of the time, which would not be in line with Defra guidance.

 

Viva! Campaigns said the ruling suggested the animal agriculture industry was ‘desperately trying to conceal the truth about the UK’s farming industry.

 

“The complaints about the advert did not question whether pigs are confined to the extent that they are unable to move, nor did it question whether pigs were kept in squalid conditions,” it said.

 

“Instead, the NPA questioned our integrity in hopes of convincing the public to ignore our campaign. The farming industry is shrouded in a web of lies and smokescreens, and the public has the right to see the truth.”

 

ASA ruled the ad must not appear again in the form complained of and told Viva! to ensure ads did not mislead about, for example, how animals would be accommodated in intensive farming environments.

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