The UK’s advertisement watchdog has rejected complaints by vegan groups that AHDB’s recent meat and dairy adverts were misleading the public.
The complaint, made by the Vegan Society and numerous others, surrounded AHDB’s recent £1.5 million advertisement campaign ‘We Eat Balanced’.
They were aired earlier this year, and showcased to the public the benefits of eating meat and dairy as part of a balanced diet.
The campaign, which attracted 487 complaints in total, represented a first for the industry as it was delivered in partnership from across the pork, beef, lamb and dairy sectors.
But the Vegan Society had issued a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in February, saying the commercials ‘sent the wrong message’ to those ‘considering a plant-based diet’.
In particular, the society, along with other plant-based organisations and animal rights groups, said the campaign’s message that only meat and dairy contained vitamin B12 had ‘presented a false narrative’.
According to the society, livestock are ‘routinely fed with vitamin B12 supplemented feed, equivalent to supplementing a vegan diet’.
It added that it had also submitted an open letter to the ASA, claiming that the campaign “is not in line with Equality and Human Rights Commission guidance that organisations ‘Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.’”
But in a ruling made on Tuesday (17 August), the ASA rejected the complaint, pointing to the government’s own guidance on healthy eating and balanced diets, which includes meat and dairy.
AHDB’s chief communications officer Christine Watts responded by saying the organisation was ‘delighted’ with the ruling and were ‘grateful for the careful consideration they gave to all the points which were raised’.
“For British farming this is an important day as we can continue to communicate the benefits around consuming red meat and dairy as part of a balanced diet.
“We work hard to ensure our campaigns are robust and evidence-based,” she said.
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