Adverts claiming that British pork sold with the Red Tractor farm assured label is "high welfare" have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), following complaints from animal welfare campaigners.
The adverts, which read "Pork not porkies. Red Tractor pork is high welfare pork" are judged to be misleading in an ASA ruling today. The ASA said the claim appeared to be a statement about the general level of pig welfare on UK farms, whereas the promoters of the advert admitted that it was a comparative claim with imported pork.
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, the umbrella organisation for the British Pig Executive, which worded the campaign, told the ASA it believed consumers would understand that Red Tractor pork was high welfare compared with pork from other EU countries, but EU legislation prevented it from making a direct comparison.
However, the ASA said some of aspects of pig farming in the UK, while better than in some EU countries, were "still contentious issues". The ruling was welcomed by the principal complainant, the campaigning welfare group Compassion in World Farming.
A spokesman for the Red Tractor scheme said: "We are pleased that the ASA ruling accepts that Red Tractor pork is produced to higher standards than the EU legislation that underpins pork production in the rest of Europe, but we are slightly disappointed the ASA felt that this should have been made more explicit."