PETA told off by advertising watchdog for claiming that ‘wool is just as cruel as fur’

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that an advertisement by animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation, was misleading.

A PETA advert claiming  ‘wool is just as cruel as fur’ has been banned.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the advertisement was misleading and that sheep ‘were not killed for their wool as animals were in the fur industry’.

The authority also referred to government guidance to farmers that sheep should be shorn regularly.

The PETA advert was displayed on buses around Glasgow in February and read ‘Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes. Wool is just as cruel as fur. Go wool-free this winter’. Beside the text was an image of a woman with the neck of her jumper pulled over her face.

The ASA received 10 complaints which said sheep shearing was vital for sheep’s’ health so couldn’t be compared to fur.

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The advert was displayed on buses around Glasgow earlier this year. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo.

‘We considered that although the public would recognise the ad was from an animal rights organisation and as such that the claim would represent its views, it was presented as a factual claim and a direct comparison between the two industries,’ said the ASA.

‘In terms of wool production in the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Code of Recommendations for the welfare of livestock had specific guidelines on the shearing process to ensure they were adhering to the standards of animal welfare which was required by law.

‘Those guidelines stated that every mature sheep should have its fleece removed at least once a year by experienced and competent trained shearers who should take care in ensuring that the sheep’s skin was not cut. We considered that demonstrated that the main method of obtaining wool from sheep by shearing would not be regarded by consumers as being cruel.’

Richard Findlay, chairman of the National Farmer’s Union livestock board, added that wool production was a natural biological process for the majority of British commercial sheep breeds and ‘a fantastic product valued by the public’.

‘British farmers are highly skilled and ensure their sheep are sheared to stringent standards of animal welfare,’ he said.