Advertising watchdog backs vegan claims that milk is inhumane

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Jul 26, 2017
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The advert describing calves that “trembled and cried piteously” was emotional but not materially misleading, the Advertising Standards Authority said

Go Vegan World

Vegan campaigners hailed a ruling from the advertising watchdog yesterday as vindicating their view that “humane milk is a myth”.

The Advertising Standards Authority rejected complaints about an advertisement in the national press last February that showed an image of a cow behind barbed wire. The headline to the advertisement, which was placed by Go Vegan World, a campaigning group, stated “Humane milk is a myth. Don’t buy it”.

Smaller text said: “I went vegan the day I visited a dairy. The mothers, still bloody from birth, searched and called frantically for their babies. Their daughters, fresh from their mothers’ wombs but separated from them, trembled and cried piteously, drinking milk from rubber teats on the wall instead of their mothers’ nurturing bodies. All because humans take their milk.”

In its finding, the authority said that while the language used to express the claims was “emotional and hard-hitting, we understood it was the case that calves were generally separated from their mothers very soon after birth, and we therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to materially mislead readers”.

Sandra Higgins, the director of Go Vegan World, claimed the ruling was legally significant. She said the aim of the advertisement was “to let people know that no matter where the milk and dairy products they purchase have come from, whether an industrial-scale dairy farm or a smallholding, for each cow, legal, standard practice necessitates her pregnancy, the removal of her calf, and her slaughter, so that we can drink the milk that she produced to feed her infant”. “The ad highlights that the problem faced by animals in the dairy industry is not how they are treated, but that they are used at all,” she said.

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