Image credit: Tesco
Often, when we hear of censorship of film, it's because the footage is too shocking or disturbing. Not so in the case of UK supermarket Tesco's sausage ad. It's found itself banned by the country's Advertising Standards Authority because, basically, it wasn't shocking enough. Apparently the pigs that end up in the company's bangers are not raised in quite as happy conditions as the image above would suggest...
I've taken issue before with selective use of both footage and data by animal rights activists, but there's no doubt that the primary culprit in misinformation and misleading imagery about farming is the farming industry itself, and the retail establishments that it supplies.
From milk labels adorned with frolicking cows and old-timey barns to ads like the one above, consumers are constantly fed an unrealistic and overly rosy image of the food system we rely on. But The Guardian reports that Tesco found itself in hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority for an ad that strongly suggested its sausages were produced using free-range meat:
"The pigs were shown wandering unrestricted outside and, within the indoor barn scene, the barn door was shown to be open and the pigs' movement unrestricted," the regulator added.
The ASA said viewers were "likely to interpret the ad to mean that the pigs ... were reared in an unrestricted environment and had access to outdoor pasture". "Since we understood that was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading."
With some US States seeking to ban factory farm photography, this is a useful reminder that regulations can work in favor of animal rights and consumer transparency too.