The advertising standards authority (ASA) has not upheld complaints by 28 members of the public and the Viva animal rights group that two TV ads, seen in September 2018, for Assured Food Standards’ Red Tractor Scheme were misleading.
The complainants said the scheme didn’t guarantee animal welfare, which they argued the adverts implied. But the ASA dismissed the complaints.
The first ad featured a voice-over which stated, “Behind a Red Tractor is peace of mind when putting food upon your table. UK farmed, meticulously checked, just look for the Red Tractor label. There are thousands of checks, thorough, widespread. From crop stores, to chicken sheds, cows and sows and what they’re fed. Fruits, roots, vegetable beds. So from field to basket it feels fantastic to know we’re always there to ensure your food is traceable, safe and farmed with care. Just look for the red tractor”. The ad showed a red tractor towing a number of trailers, which included a family at a kitchen table, cows in a pen and vegetables being grown.
The second ad featured a voice-over which stated “Behind a Red Tractor is peace of mind when putting food upon your table. Traceable, safe and farmed with care, just look for the red tractor label”. The ad showed a red tractor towing a trailer of a family at a kitchen table.
Assured Food Standards told the ASA about the standards in place for livestock including requirements for housing, shelter and handling facilities, feed and water, transportation, the responsible use of agricultural chemicals and the animal’s health and welfare. Within the health and welfare standards, livestock had to be handled in a way that avoided injury and minimised stress, and quietly and calmly without excessive force, AFS told the ASA.
The ASA said it considered the scenes in the ads which included animals, such as those showing cows in a pen and chickens in indoor housing, were representative of the conditions under which they would be kept and that they were shown to be portraying regular behaviour such as roaming and feeding.
“Because standards had been put in place to protect the safety of the Red Tractor scheme’s produce, that those standards went beyond those required for the farming of livestock and a regime of inspection of adherence to those standards was in place, we concluded that the ads were not misleading,” the ASA said in a statement.