Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ASA: PETA Poster Misleading With Regard To H1N1 Source

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that PETA's poster reading "MEAT KILLS" is ambiguous and could lead readers to believe that they could get H1N1 (swine flu) by eating meat. Said the ASA,

The ASA noted the poster referred to a number of diseases, two of which were known to have originated from eating meat and two that did not.  Although we understood the intention was to refer to livestock and meat production rather than just eating meat, we considered that the message was, at best, ambiguous.  We noted PETAs argument that there had been an extensive Government health education programme and media coverage about how the swine flu virus was spread, however we considered that that did not absolve PETA of their responsibility to ensure their ads did not mislead, or be likely to mislead.

We considered that some readers might infer from the poster, and in particular the claim "MEAT KILLS" in conjunction with the claim "Go vegetarian", that eating meat caused swine flu.  We concluded that the poster was likely to mislead and could cause undue fear and distress to some readers.  

The poster breached CAP Code clauses 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 9.1 and 9.2 (Fear and distress).


The poster must not appear again in its current form.

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