The advertising watchdog has ruled that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals did not breach any advertising rules with its posters stating that “Feeding kids meat is child abuse.”

The Advertising Standards Authority received 67 complaints about the poster including ones from the NFU, Hughes Butchers, the Guild of Welsh Lamb and Beef Suppliers and the International Meat Trade Association.

The complainants said the ad was irresponsible, because it could encourage parents to withdraw meat from their children’s diet without replacing the nutrients meat provided. A large number of public complainants also felt that the ad trivialised child abuse.

But the ASA has refused to uphold any complaints about the advert and said that in its opinion no action is necessary.

The association said it appreciated that the ad carried an ‘anti-meat’ message and was intended to promote a meat-free lifestyle, but it considered that parents were likely to realise that, if a food was withdrawn from a child’s diet, the nutrients that food provided should be replaced.

It added: “We noted PETA used imagery, which they intended to be humorous, and hard-hitting text to highlight their belief that meat-eating was bad for children’s health. 

“While we appreciated that some consumers were likely to disagree with PETA’s belief and find the imagery and text distasteful, we considered that, overall, the ad was likely to be seen as an expression of an extreme point of view and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress to parents who fed their children meat.”

The NFU said the decision was wrong and it would be asking for an independent review of the ruling.

What do you think of the ruling. Have your say on our forums.