Following a complaint by the FUW (Farmers Union of Wales), the ASA ruled that claims made in advertisements placed by the 'Save the Badger' charity and published in May this year, repeatedly breached Truthfulness, Substantiation, and Matters of Opinion codes. Welcome though this ruling is, it is too late. The 'Save the Badger' campaign encouraged members of the general public to oppose badger culling, and called on them to write to the Welsh Assembly Government and the Rural Affairs Minister opposing plans to cull badgers in north Pembrokeshire. And it used advertisements which repeatedly made statements which the ASA now say breached their standards of 'Truthfulness, Substantiation and 'Matters of Opinion' codes.
Following the ASA’s ruling, the advertisements must not appear again in their current form, and the ASA has written to the operators of 'Save the Badger' instructing them to ensure in future that claims which are not clearly an expression of their view, can be substantiated.
In 2006, publication of unsubstantiated claims by the RSPCA and others, once again brought by the FUW, provoked a similar response from the ASA, as we reported at the time. But the damage - and it is considerable - is done. People are misled, many animals suffer and the only winner is tuberculosis.
We note that similar emotive and misleading generalisations which are today condemned as 'matters of opinion which were untrue and unsubstantiated' by the ASA can still be found on Brian May's 'Save the Badger' website. Including,
The disease at the centre of this appalling tragedy is called Bovine TB. The history of the establishment of this virus in populations of Cattle in the British Isles is well documented. It did NOT, of course come from Badgers (or it would presumably have been called "Badger TB") - it was allowed to flourish because of intensive farming methods, and was spread around the UK by farmers moving cattle around to maximise the profit that could be made from them when they were slaughtered. Badgers were infected by the cattle, entirely innocent of any wrong-doing except being in the vicinity of these diseased farm animals..
And that from a superannuated, former pop star with a newly acquired 'ology?
Corrections to all Dr. May's erroneous assumptions may be found in this post and the PQ answer below. We do not intend to go through them again.
But we also note that pictures of badgers adorning his site, do not reflect the true result of tuberculosis on badgers. Emaciation, exclusion from the social group, starvation and finally death? Very nice. Disease in the badger on the right, had developed as tuberculous pleurisy and when the animal was caught, it was emaciated to the point that its death was imminent.
And this badger, weighing a fraction of its optimum weight had starved to death. A postmortem showed that it too, had generalised tuberculosis, the bacteria from which were available to any mammal which crossed its miserable path.
Finally, we would remind readers of the answer to our Parliamentary Questions as to the likely reason for the total and complete clearance of 'bovine' TB from the cattle herds at Thornbury, after a short period of badger clearance. The effect lasted for over a decade:
No confirmed cases of tuberculosis in cattle in the area of the Thornbury operation were disclosed by the tuberculin test in the ten year period following the cessation of gassing" Hansard: 28th Jan 2004 col 385W So, what was the cause of the Thornbury success? Whole herd slaughter? Cohort slaughter? Zoning and movement restrictions, licensing and more cattle measures? Biosecurity and stricter testing? Change in the weather? All measures offered today by the Badger Trust, discussed ad infinitum by the T-Beggars ( T-BAG's successor around Defra's TB round table ) - and tried in the past by others, with humiliatingly expensive and ignominious results.
However, we did ask. And remembering that it is a hanging offence to mislead a minister in written parliamentary questions, his answer was thus:
The fundamental difference between the Thornbury area and other areas in the south west of England, where bovine tuberculosis was a problem, was the systematic removal of badgers from the Thornbury area. No other species was similarly removed. No other contemporaneous change was identified that could have accounted for the reduction in TB incidence within the area" (Hansard 24th March 2004: Col 824W 
Congratulations, once again to FUW.