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Vegans bid to ban ad promoting meat and dairy in 'balanced diet' fails

Vegans’ bid to ban TV ad promoting meat and dairy as part of ‘balanced diet’ FAILS after advertising regulator rejects all 500 complaints

  • The Advertising Standards Authority received almost 500 complaints about the Agirculture and Horticulture Development Board’s £1.5m We Eat Balanced drive
  • Meat and diary contain B12 which ads claim are not present a in vegan diet
  • But the ASA has failed to uphold complaints it has received from campaigners 
  • Campaigners hope complaints will send a message ‘not to use scare tactics’ 

Vegans who hoped to get an advert promoting meat and diary consumption banned have been left disappointed as the regulatory body rejected their complaints. 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said they received almost 500 complaints about the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) £1.5m We Eat Balanced drive. 

The campaign promotes eating meat and diary as part of a ‘varied and balanced diet alongside a healthy lifestyle.’ 

One ad claimed that meats such as beef, pork and lamb, and milk contain the vitamin B12, which they claim is ‘an essential nutrient not naturally present in the vegan diet.’ 

The advert shows images and footage of cows roaming through green hillsides (Stock image) 

B12 plays an important role in the body, helping to make red blood cells and DNA, and keeps blood and nerve cells healthy. 

The vitamin also helps to prevent megaloblastic anemia, a blood condition which can make people tired and feel weak.  

But groups including Humane League UK, The Vegan Society, Compassion in World Farming UK, Four Paws, PETA, Surge Campaigning CIC, Brinsley Animal Rescue and Viva! have branded the adverts ‘misleading.’ 

They have said the ads imply eating meat and diary is essential for a healthy diet. 

They also allege the adverts suggest that animals bred for livestock in the UK are outdoor grazed, with one of the ads showing cows roaming a hillside. 

But, the ASA failed to uphold the complaints. 

Beneath one of the ads shared on Facebook, users shared their views. 

Campaigners also allege the adverts suggest that animals bred for livestock in the UK are outdoor grazed, with one of the ads showing cows roaming a hillside

‘Really? How desperate do the meat and dairy industry have to be to put an ad out on TV spouting absolute lies about it being healthy for you?’ Hannah Kyle wrote.     

‘You’re all so scared about Veganuary, it’s pathetic. Don’t fall for the lies. I actually can’t believe what my eyes have just watched.;

Another wrote: ‘We should take notice of our earth and stop eating meat and harming our poor animals.’ 

But Scott Crofter Sutherland, a farmer, responded with: ‘We farmers and crofters do a d*** good job of looking after our livestock and tending to the land and caring for it.

‘Vegans that’s fine if you want to be one, but do not tell us we are cruel and damaging the world.’ 

Louise Davies, Head of Campaigns at The Vegan Society, said the group were ‘disheartened and frustrated’ by the ruling. 

The caption on the video reads: ‘A varied and balanced diet alongside a healthy lifestyle are recommended for good health’ while showing images of meat being cut 

Campaigners argue the ads imply eating meat and diary is essential for a healthy diet

‘We are disheartened and frustrated by the ASA’s final ruling over these adverts,’ she said. 

‘We still strongly believe by running these adverts the AHDB set out to purposely mislead the public at a time when a record-breaking number of people were trying veganism through the Veganuary campaign.’

‘Despite the outcome we hope the huge number of complaints submitted to the ASA will encourage the ADHB and similar bodies to think twice before resorting to such scare tactics again in future.’

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