An advert for the nonprofit Vegan Friendly UK has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The watchdog regulates advertising in the UK.
According to the ASA, the advert, shown earlier this year, risks distress to viewers because of its graphic nature.
In the clip, three people are seen eating fish, beef, and pork, while they discuss animal welfare. In between bites, there is footage of a fish gasping for air and a piglet next to a pig on a factory farm. There is also a cow with tears running down their face and a skinned cow’s head.
According to Vegan Friendly UK (which certifies restaurant menus and products as vegan), the advertisement is intended to highlight potential hypocrisy between people’s values and beliefs and their eating habits.
“Our AD was simply shedding light on the harsh and brutal reality millions of farm animals endure every day,” Vegan Food UK stated on Instagram. “It was banned because it made some viewers uncomfortable.”
The ASA, however, stated that “the juxtaposition between the adults eating and the animal imagery,” could increase the “distress” of viewers.
The ad received 63 complaints when it was initially on TV, many of which complained about the graphic images.
The reality of a farm animal’s life
Many like to think of farm animals living a happy life on green pastures before they are killed for meat. But this is often not the case. Around the world, two-thirds of farm animals (that’s about 50 billion) are raised on factory farms.
According to Mercy For Animals, these conditions are restrictive, exploitative, and cruel. Turkeys and chickens, for example, are crammed into sheds with no windows. In the dairy industry, cows are repeatedly forcibly impregnated. They are also torn away from their calves, who are often sold into the meat industry.
“The discomfort a viewer could feel from watching the advert is only a fraction of what farm animals experience every day,” continued Vegan Friendly UK.
“We will not stop being a voice for the animals and advocating veganism to promote equality for all living things.”