The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a poster advert from animal rights charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for using the misleading claim “wool is just as cruel as fur”.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) displayed the advert on the side of buses in February.
The advert included the text: “Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes. Wool is just as cruel as fur. Go wool-free this winter," with the image of a woman pulling on a jumper.
The ASA agreed with the ten complaints made against the advert, which said sheep needed to be shorn for health, challenging the claim that wool was just as cruel as fur.
ASA cited the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Code of Recommendations for the welfare of livestock, which gives guidelines on shearing to ensure legal standards for animal welfare.
It added in its assessment that sheep are not killed for their wool as animals in the fur industry are for their skin.
PETA attempted to substantiate its claim by saying that the same abuses and suffering have been documented in the wool trade, but are not as well known by the public.
These included genetically manipulating sheep breeds for better wool production and using processes that injured the animals without any pain relief provision.
It said animals in the fur industry are similarly exploited, and that in both the fur and wool trades, animals die far before their natural life expectancy.
‘The general public now understands’
Elisa Allen, PETA’s director said: “The general public now understands that the fur industry is cruel to animals in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, gratuitous violence by industry workers, genetically manipulating animals in ways that cause them distress, leaving them to suffer from horrific wounds, and slaughtering them for human gain – and all this suffering has been documented in the wool trade, too.
“PETA provided the Advertising Standards Authority with stacks of evidence backing this up, so its decision is both confusing and disappointing.
“Nevertheless, we'll continue to urge decent people to steer clear of wool, and we have plans to run a modified version of the ad in numerous cities this winter.”
The revised advert reads: “Wool = cruelty to sheep.”