ASA rejects complaint against Bpex ad

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected a complaint by Compassion in World Farming (CiWF) against a Red Tractor ad.

CiWF and 86 viewers complained to the body arguing that the ad, featuring Jimmy Doherty on his free-range farm, was misleading viewers into thinking all Red Tractor pigs are raised to-free range welfare standards.

However, the ASA concluded that the main message of the ad was the importance of consumers knowing the provenance of their meat by purchasing Red Tractor products. The assessment found that the ad made no specific claims that pigs on Red Tractor farms are all free-range.

The television ad showed Doherty on his farm with pigs and piglets wandering around, eating straw, with Doherty saying: “Now, more than ever, it’s important to know where all your meat comes from, and I think the easy way to do that is to trust the Tractor.“

In its ruling, ASA said: “We acknowledged that some aspects of pig farming in the UK were contentious, but accepted that the Red Tractor Scheme applied measures in an effort to control their use and the pigs were raised to good standards.

“We also understood from the complainants that one particular farm in the scheme had been exposed as falling below Red Tractor Standards.”

However, the ASA acknowledged that Red Tractor had removed the farm in question from the scheme and it also accepted that such schemes could not be “absolutely infallible”.

“We considered that, although the incident was unfortunate, it did not negate the claim ‘It is inspected to ensure all the pork you buy has come from pigs that are well looked after, raised to good standards by responsible farmers’,” ASA confirmed in the ruling.

In its response, the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said: “The purpose of the ad was to get consumers to think about the provenance of their pork, the choices they made in buying their meat, and to ask consumers to look for the Red Tractor logo as evidence of compliance with the qualities underlying the Red Tractor Scheme.”

AHDB further added that it had made a “concerted effort” to include not only small-scale farms, but non-free-range outdoor farms and indoor pig accommodation. However, it stated that it could not show all facilities due to time constraints.

The ASA concluded that no further action was necessary.