Red Tractor telling porkies?

A SERIES OF adverts promoting British pork as “high welfare” have been banned for being misleading.


The adverts, commissioned by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), read: “PORK NOT PORKIES – RED TRACTOR PORK IS HIGH WELFARE PORK”.


Compassion in World Farming challenged the claims, suggesting they were misleading and untruthful. A letter to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) read:


“Some Red Tractor pork will indeed come from high welfare farms. However, many pig farms in the UK, be they Red Tractor or not, have poor welfare standards.”


BPEX, in their evidence to the ASA, suggested the claim was a comparison with pork imported from the EU exporting countries. Many countries on the Continent still allow the use of sow stalls – a practice banned in the UK for a number of years. A new partial ban on sow stalls is being introduced in January, but there are fears that a number of countries won’t be ready.


However, the ASA decided that the BPEX adverts stating that “Red Tractor Pork is high welfare” were not explicit in stating the comparison was with imported pork.


BPEX director Mick Sloyan said he accepted the ruling regarding what he referred to as a “small technicality”. Chairman Stewart Houston added:


“It is bizarre that at a time when the EU is trying hard to bring other Member States’ standards of pig welfare to something approaching the standards that we have had in the UK for over a decade, we have complaints being made by a UK organisation which claims to be focussed on improving animal husbandry across the world.”


He claimed that “to try and discredit or undermine the Red Tractor is to encourage more imported meat which is not produced to such exacting welfare standards”.


However, CIWF welcomed the ruling, and referred to the ads as “a particularly embarrassing own-goal for Red Tractor pork”.