PETA advert banned for claiming ‘wool is just as cruel as fur’

Watchdogs label advertisement 'misleading'

Olivia Petter
Tuesday 03 September 2019 16:38 BST
(Getty Images for Tommy Hilfiger)

An advertisement for animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been banned for claiming that “wool is just as cruel as fur”.

The campaign ran on the side of buses in February with the following slogan: "Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes. Wool is just as cruel as fur. Go wool-free this winter."

The Advertising Standards Authority received 10 complaints that PETA’s claim was misleading, with people arguing that sheep shearing, which produces wool, is crucial to maintaining the animal’s welfare.

PETA maintained that animal abuse documented within the fur industry also occurs in within the wool industry but isn’t as widely known.

The animal rights activists also argued that sheep shearing has only become necessary as a result of genetic manipulation on behalf of industry, with the aim of increasing the amount of wool available for textile use.

After conducting an investigation into PETA’s claims and the research the organisation provided, the ASA concluded that UK safety provisions aimed at preventing cruelty towards sheep rendered the advertisement misleading

“We considered people who saw the ad would interpret the claim ‘wool is just as cruel as fur’ as equating the conditions in which sheep were kept and the methods by which wool was obtained with the conditions and methods used in the fur industry.” the ruling reads.

The advertisement ran on buses in February
The advertisement ran on buses in February (ASA/PETA)

“However, sheep were not killed for their wool as animals were in the fur industry and there were standards in place relating to their general welfare including relating to the shearing process. We therefore concluded on that basis that the claim was misleading and in breach of the Code."

Elisa Allen, director at PETA, described that ASA's ruling as "both confusing and disappointing".

Allen continued: "Nevertheless, we'll continue to urge decent people to steer clear of wool, and we have plans to run a modified version of the ad in numerous cities this winter."

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