NFUS complaint sees inaccurate posters withdrawn

NFU Scotland's current president Andrew McCornick.
NFU Scotland's current president Andrew McCornick.

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A complaint by NFU Scotland over a false advertising campaign has been reviewed and led to the national campaign being withdrawn.

Driven by members, NFUS lodged a formal complaint with the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) about a poster campaign in Scotland that erroneously claimed ‘eating animals’ contributes more to climate change than transport.

As both official UK and Scottish Government figures indicated otherwise, the union contacted the organisation asking them to withdraw the posters but received no response. So, for the first time, NFUS lodged an official complaint with ASA.

The complaint was lodged in early June and the organisation behind the posters responded to the complaint in August but it took a further two months before the verdict. During that time, posters were still visible.

The ASA ruling informed NFUS that the posters are no longer appearing and the organisation behind them has assured the ASA that it will only use substantiated claims and comply with the advertising code in future.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: ‘Farming’s frustration over misinformation being spread about the industry has never been higher. When we see inaccuracies, we must challenge them not least because mainstream media often take erroneous claims like this as being the truth.

‘We challenged the claims on this poster about the livestock sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas emission because they were clearly inaccurate and we provided UK and Scottish Government statistics to the ASA to prove our point.

‘We welcome the steps taken by ASA and would not hesitate to make similar complaints in the future, however, ASA must consider the time-frame in which it responds to official complaints.

‘With our evidence and grievance lodged in June, posters continued to be seen by our members in Edinburgh and Glasgow until only a few weeks ago.  While the organisation has now agreed to remove the posters, their damaging and inaccurate messaging has been visible throughout this period.

‘We urge our members to continue to bring false claims to our attention and we will act, where we can, on their behalf.’