Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ASA dismisses 4 out of 5 claims

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has summarily dismissed 4 out 5 claims brought by the Badger Trust, Viva and others, in response to the NFU advert shown in the press last year.

After Hilary Benn's "well it might work, but then again it might not" prevarication over badger culling, the NFU ran a series of adverts in the National and regional press last summer featuring an image of a dead cow. The headline read: "She needed indecision on TB like she needed a hole in the head”. Further text at the bottom of the page explained:

"In 2007, 28,000 cattle were lost to TB. This year that figure will be closer to 40,000 unless action is taken to eradicate TB from infected badgers. It's time to take the politics out of animal disease control. Please support our call for positive action on bovine TB, including the appointment of a separate animal health body that makes decisions based on scientific facts, not sentimentality.

The advert drew complaints from Viva, the Badger Trust and members of the public who claimed it was misleading. Today the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) delivered its decision. Four of the five complaints against the advert have not been upheld, with one complaint upheld.
The complaint that has been upheld relates to a challenge that our advert implied that badgers were solely responsible for the spread of Bovine TB.

So, the ASA were happy with quoted 28,000 dead cattle, a figure spiralling to almost 40,000 in 2008? Yup, they were.
"Time to take the politics out of animal disease control"? Can't argue with that. They shouldn't have been there in the first place.
Separate 'animal health' body - rather than one which puts one animal's lack of health above all others? Fine with us.
So, where does the advert say the almost 40,000 cattle will be dead because of badgers? No-where that we can see, but the advert does say that 40,000 cattle will be dead if action isn't taken to eradicate the disease from infected badgers.

And no action was taken. The moratorium remains, and the figure for slaughtered cattle will be approximately 38,000 in 2008. So the point is?

We are pleased to post the NFU response to the ASA decision.
“Clearly we are disappointed that the ASA has upheld this complaint, because, the NFU has never said, nor does it believe, that badgers are solely responsible for the spread of bovine TB. However, it is abundantly clear that there is a reservoir of TB in badgers and that unless the level of infection in badgers is addressed we will continue to see increases in the numbers of new cases of bovine TB and continued re-infection of existing TB affected herds.

Defra's own prediction is incidence of TB in cattle doubling every four and a half years, in the absence of any 'new dynmanics' - by which they mean culling infectious badgers. The press release continues:
“We acknowledge that TB can be spread by other means such as cattle movements. However, we are convinced that if we are to eradicate bovine TB then we have to tackle all sources of infection. Regrettably, we are currently trying to control TB with at least one arm tied behind our back and the result is that we are seeing increases in new incidences of bovine TB and the government is likely to have slaughtered close to 40,000 cattle last year, 12,000 more than the previous year because of TB.

And concludes:
“Our advert was intended to highlight the tragic impact that TB is having on our cattle industry and the farmers and their families that have to live with TB day in, day out whilst the Government stands by and refuses to tackle one of the major sources of the infection. The NFU will not give up its fight to see TB eradicated and unlike the government we will not give up on thousands of farmers and their families that lives and businesses are being devastated by TB.”

Mike Thomas
Press & PR Officer
National Farmers' Union
Stoneleigh Park
Warwickshire, CV8 2TZ



Isabel said...

The ASA has ruled against the NFU advert and the BPEX advert - but if you look at the websites of any of the parties that complained I suspect you will find statements that could be challenged in just the same way.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone out there in cyberspace can please assist me.

1. Is it true that the last three DEFRA ministers – Beckett, Milliband & Benn were / are “vegetarian”?
2. Were there any others – eg Nick Brown or Ben Bradshaw? The late (Lord) Tony Banks most certainly was!
3. Is it a coincidence (eg all New Labour minister candidates were vegetarian) or were they selected to prove that New Labour opposes ‘Animal Farming’
4. Are all Badger Trust, Woodland Trust, etc ‘subscribees’ similarly vegetarian?
5. Likewise are they all against ritual slaughter?

I am most interested in the overlap of animal rights (agro-terrorism?)and vegetarianism – the overlap appears to be approaching 100%?

Many thanks

Peter Brady

ps the word verification for this notification is "amess"

Anonymous said...

Given that eating meat (and supporting animal farming) is believed to contribute to global warming, some might say that more and more people *should* become vegetarian and that there is actually a very valid argument now against animal farming. Angela Merkel has recommended that Germans only eat meat on a special occasion and the NHS is even adjusting its menus to cut down on its carbon footprint.

Matthew said...

There are certainly some myths out there, which do not stand close scrutiny. We refered to one on the dreadful story of the Harris' loss of 'organic' status cattle.

Don't know is the short answer.

Anon. 4.09
Whatever your preferred diet is, and for whatever reason, using a deadly, zoonotic disease to achieve it is a pretty daft thing to do. It also, as we've said before, implies a degree of 'thought process' - something that we have yet to see from this government, or the last.