Reading Time: 3 minutes The Vegan Society says the ad is 'likely to mislead members of the public'. Credit: YouTube & Adobe. Do not use without permission. Edited by PBN.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received a complaint over a pro-meat TV Ad.

Last month, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) launched its We Eat Balanced campaign to highlight the alleged ‘nutritional benefits of enjoying red meat and dairy’.

The campaign, which costs £1.5 million, consists of an advert currently running on UK TV. It aims to showcase the UK’s world-class standards in food production and sustainability. There are three different endings featuring dishes using beef, lamb, and pork. All of which include a dairy accompaniment.

Speaking about the campaign, AHDB’s Head of Marketing Liam Byrne said: “The nation needs a bit of a lift as it’s been a tough time for everyone. So, now more than ever we wanted to create a campaign that feels uplifting and reassuring for consumers who are increasingly being told by the media to reduce their meat and dairy consumption. 

“As such this is also a very important campaign for our levy payers as it tells the real story of food and farming from Britain.”

The ad has received hundreds of ‘dislikes’ on YouTube.

A ‘false narrative’

Now, The Vegan Society has put in an official complaint about the advert – saying it is ‘likely to mislead members of the public’. 

It says the ad’s ‘To B12 or Not B12’ slogan presents a ‘false narrative’ as it ‘suggests you can only have Vitamin B12 by eating animal products’. 

The Vegan Society points out that the vitamin is routinely supplemented on a vegan diet through fortified foods such as milk alternatives and cereals – and that B12 deficiency in omnivores is ‘not uncommon’.

Moreover, it believes the advert ‘is in direct conflict with government messaging around health, the environment, and supplementation’. 

‘Scare tactics’

Mark Banahan is The Vegan Society’s Campaigns Manager. In a statement sent to PBN, he said: “The AHDB has set out to mislead the public by denigrating the choices of people who don’t want to eat animal products. 

“Most vegans are aware of the need to supplement B12 in fortified foods or a vitamin supplement. And, by doing so, vegans can maintain a balanced diet.

“It is disappointing to see the ADHB resorting to such scare tactics in response to the growing interest in veganism and in reducing animal products.”

Ad remake

Since the campaigns debut, Plant Based News has remade the advert – showing the harrowing reality of animal agriculture

“We’ve all got a lot on our plates right now but here’s something you’ll want to make room for,” the new ad states.

“The story of a food so brutal it steals calves from their mothers and the flesh of creatures we humans incarcerate. Then, markets it as something edible. 

“The nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy exists in plants. Quit meat and dairy. Enjoy food without victims. Eat plant-based.”

‘Quit meat and dairy’.

Moreover, PBN’s co-founder Robbie Lockie, producer of the new ad, says he was ‘absolutely outraged’ by AHDB’s claims. 

“We’re in the midst of a climate crisis,” he said. “It is absolutely essential we cut our consumption of meat and dairy. “

Lockie then added: “However, the makers of the original ad claim they wanted to help people feel good. Because the media is ‘always trying to get people to eat less meat and dairy’. This is not only incredibly irresponsible, but it also denies the fact that animal agriculture is a leading driver for climate change.”


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Liam Gilliver

Liam is the Deputy Editor and Social Media Coordinator for Plant Based News. He has written for a number of top publications including Gay Times, Attitude Magazine, Oh Comely, and The Huffington Post - and is the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.