The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected a complaint from Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) about a TV advert for Red Tractor pork and bacon.
The advertisement showed TV personality and farmer Jimmy Doherty on his farm with pigs and piglets wandering around and straw being shovelled into an open sty.
He said: “Now more than ever it’s important to know where all your meat comes from, and I think the easy way to do that is to trust the tractor. All pork, sausages and bacon carrying the Red Tractor mark is traceable back to Red Tractor farms. It is inspected to ensure all the pork you buy has come from pigs that are well looked after, raised to good standards by responsible farmers.”
“The ad made no specific claims that the pigs on Red Tractor farms were all raised to free-range welfare standards and the ad showed, albeit briefly, indoor farms as well as Jimmy Doherty’s farm, which we understood was an accurate representation of his farm.”
CIWF, and 86 viewers, complained the advert gave the impression that all Red Tractor pigs were raised to free-range standards.
In response the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said Jimmy Doherty was chosen as a spokesman because he was a Red Tractor farmer operating within the Red Tractor Scheme.
AHDB said it was appropriate to show him in his own working environment on his own farm, but it was mindful to present a range of farms and rearing techniques to paint a fair picture of the scheme.
They also visited a mass outdoor farm (as Jimmy’s farm was much smaller scale than the majority of outdoor producers) as well as an indoor farm to shoot footage for inclusion in the ad.
The ASA ruled that the ad was not misleading.
It said the majority of complainants appeared to be responding to an online campaign questioning the general standard of animal welfare on Red Tractor farms as well as whether the ad implied that all the pigs were free range.
The ASA said complainants had pointed out that one farm in the Red Tractor Scheme had been exposed as falling below the required standards, but that farm had been removed and one incident did not undermine the legitimacy of the scheme.
“The ad made no specific claims that the pigs on Red Tractor farms were all raised to free-range welfare standards and the ad showed, albeit briefly, indoor farms as well as Jimmy Doherty’s farm, which we understood was an accurate representation of his farm,” said the ASA.
“We considered that viewers were unlikely to believe that all the farms in the scheme would necessarily be comparable to his or that it represented all the farms in the scheme, only that Red Tractor pigs were “raised to good standards by responsible farmers.”