UNITED KINGDOM: Advertising Standards Authority ruling on anti-meat campaign condemned as "wrong and perverse."

An advertisement by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that showed a photograph of an overweight child eating a burger and stated, “Feeding kids meat is child abuse FIGHT THE FAT GO VEG,” has been cleared by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority.

Now the ASA decision has caused a storm of protest among those who originally complained, and they have called for an independent review of the finding.

The ASA received complaints about the ad from The National Farmers' Union, Hughes Butchers, the Guild of Welsh Lamb and Beef Suppliers, the International Meat Trade Association, and members of the public.

The National Farmers' Union, Hughes Butchers, the Guild of Welsh Lamb and Beef Suppliers, the International Meat Trade Association, and the majority of the public complainants believed the ad was irresponsible, because it could encourage parents to withdraw meat from their children's diet without replacing the nutrients meat provided.

A large number of the public complainants felt that the ad trivialized child abuse and also that the ad was offensive.

However, PETA claimed in its defense that scientific research demonstrated the harmful effects of eating meat on people generally and on children in particular.

They sent references to articles published by several authors and organizations to demonstrate their arguments that feeding meat to children was harmful to their health and also that causing serious harm to a child in this way could be considered child abuse.

The National Farmers’ Union and the other complainants said that there is no evidence that meat is a contributory factor to childhood obesity.

They added that the advertisement trivialized child abuse and would be deeply offensive to child abuse victims and their families, and the campaign was insulting and offensive to the meat-eating majority of parents.

The NFU put in a detailed argument to the ASA, setting out how the PETA advert breached 13 clauses of the code governing such adverts, including arguments that the advert:

  1. was misleading,
  2. was intended to shock consumers, and
  3. was irresponsible in that it encouraged parents to make drastic changes in their children’s diets without first talking to a doctor or nutritionist.

However, despite this evidence the ASA decided not to uphold the complaints, on the grounds that PETA was an overtly vegetarian organization that was to be expected to say that meat was bad for children and that, because of this, the information in the ads would be either discounted or not taken seriously by consumers.

A spokesman for the NFU said: “The ASA decision is wrong and perverse.  The implication of this ruling is that any extremist organization can say what it likes because the fact that it is extremist means its material will not be taken seriously.

“The implication is that there is one rule for responsible organizations and another for the lunatic fringe, who can basically say what they like.“

The fact of the matter is there are no grounds for arguing that eating meat does, of itself, contribute to childhood obesity and for PETA to claim otherwise is both wrong and potentially damaging to health.

“We cannot accept this ruling, both because it is plainly perverse and mistaken and also because of the precedent it could set for other fringe organizations who might want to frighten the public into supporting their cause by publishing false and malicious information.

“For all of these reasons, we will be lodging a request for an Independent Review at the earliest opportunity.”

Web posted: January 25, 2007

Now for Ted Slanker's Commentary . . .

The Truth of the Matter

PETA, as an organization of folks, is a perfect example of what can happen to people who do not eat properly.  Their brains become dysfunctional.

In England, there is considerably more grass-fed meats available to consumers than here in the U.S.  So, in effect, PETA is saying that brain food (foods with the proper balance of fatty acids which promote healthy brains) is bad food for kids!

At the same time this ignorant group of vegetarians is recommending veggies (including grain) -- and grain is the world's worst food for man and beast.  Not only is grain eating associated with all chronic diseases, its horrible fat balance greatly impedes brain function.

The world has a lot of problems and truly ignorant folks cause most of the problems for man.  This is a prime example of stupid people getting front page news -- and undoubtedly a lot of other truly ignorant folks will follow along with their "science."

Ted Slanker

An Update . . .

Here it is in late 2009 and I can report that old horses are becoming a "problem."  It costs money to feed horses.  And an old horse that is no longer useful, quickly becomes a liability rather than a trusted steed.  Yes, some folks are willing to feed the old hay burner until the day it dies.  But not everyone can afford that luxury.  In the past they put the animals down by taking them to a processing plant.  In return they were paid for the horse's carcass value.  Yep, you've got it, today because of the slaughter bans some folks are literally turning the old horses loose.  Others are just putting them out to pasture and letting them die of natural causes - which may include starvation.  It would be nice if the PETA folks would set up a fund to buy old horses and then they could feed them until the day they die.  In time, maybe they would then learn something about the real world.  That's the real world those of us in agriculture have to deal with on a daily basis.

Ted Slanker