Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

NFU red faced after TB advert ruled as misleading

Release date: 
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

THE National Farmers Union (NFU) has today been banned from repeating an advertisement placing sole blame on badgers for the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have ruled the wording, which included a cow lying dead on the floor " with the headline "she needed indecision on TB like she needed a hole in the head' " was misleading.

It appeared in national and regional press stating that: "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 "'

Animal group Viva! complained the ad implied the spread of bTB was soley caused by badgers, which was upheld by the ASA, who acknowledged this claim was not supported by two major consulted studies into the issue.

The final ASA adjudication said: "Because the ad stated that the number of cattle lost to bTB in 2008 would be closer to 40,000 unless action was taken "to eradicate TB from infected badgers', we considered it implied the spread of bTB was soley caused by the badger. Because that view was not supported by either Sir David King's report* or the ISG's report** we concluded the ad was misleading.'

Viva! campaign's manager, Justin Kerswell, says: "We are delighted this advert will not run again. The NFU continues to try and use badgers as scapegoats for a problem which is caused by bad farming practices and government failure. The truth is
dairy cows are vastly overworked and vulnerable to infection, suffering the dual burden of pregnancy and lactation during much of their lives. Add to this mass cattle movements and unreliable testing you start to see the real causes of bTB, it's not defenseless wildlife.'

For more information about Viva!'s campaign against the "cull' of badgers in Wales and to sign an online petition, visit www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/badgers.

ENDS

*The Independent Scientific Group (ISG) conducted a ten year study on bTB
**Sir David King is chief scientific advisor to the government

Notes to Editors

For more information about this media release, contact press officer Helen Rossiter or Justin Kerswell, by emailing press@viva.org.uk or justin@viva.org.uk or call 0117 944 1000.

For more information about Viva!'s campaign against the "cull' of badgers in Wales, visit www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/badgers.

Viva! held a National Day of Action in Wales on September 20, 2008 against the "cull' of badgers. This followed a National Rally for Badgers on Saturday, June 28, when over 300 people gathered peacefully on the steps of the Welsh Assembly's Debating Rooms to say no to the badger 'cull'. Visit www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/badgers/rally to see pictures from the event or visit http://blip.tv/file/1056824 to view a short film.

Viva! has been putting pressure on the Welsh Assembly to follow England's Food & Rural Affairs Minister Hilary Benn's lead and rule out a 'cull' in Wales before thousands of animals are needlessly killed later this year.

Viva!'s campaign is supported by Welsh AMs Lorraine Barrett (Cardiff South and Penarth) and Trish Law (Blaenau Gwent). Quotes are available from them and from celebrities including Twiggy, Joanna Lumley, Wendy Turner-Webster, Benjamin Zephaniah and Rose Elliot.

A fully referenced Viva! fact sheet on badgers and bTB can be read on-line at http://www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/badgers/factsheet.htm