Viva cinema ad

Viva was rapped by the ASA over the claim 90% of pigs were ’factory farmed’

Vegan pressure group Viva has been ordered to amend one of its adverts after the ASA partially upheld complaints by the National Pig Association.

Viva’s first ever cinema advert appeared late last year, trailing films Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Its ‘Bring hope to millions’ campaign depicted a pig running in a field contrasted with groups of pigs in crowded pens alongside the claim: ‘It’s something most pigs will never know as 90% are factory farmed’.

The NPA and seven members of the public challenged whether the campaign was misleading and featured farming methods outlawed in the UK, whether the statement “90% of pigs are factory farmed” could be substantiated and whether it caused distress without just cause.

In its defence, Viva cited AHDB statistics from 2008 suggesting 74% of pigs were bred indoors, while 95% were fattened indoors and 99% were finished indoors.

However, the ASA upheld two of the three complaints, after considering Compassion in World Farming and RSPCA statistics which respectively stated 40% and 42% of breeding sows were kept outdoors, with their piglets staying with them until weaning was complete at between 21 and 28 days old. This made the claim that 90% would never have seen sunlight misleading, the ASA found.

The ASA also upheld complaints the ad depicted factory farming “not in line with Defra guidance”.

However, Viva said the complaints about the advert “did not question whether pigs are confined to the extent that they are unable to move, nor did it question whether pigs were kept in squalid conditions”, it stressed.

“According to the government’s Farm Animal Welfare Committee, 60% of the 350,000 sows kept indoors are subjected to confinement in crates - typically, sows are put into these crates a week before they give birth and are kept there for up to four weeks afterwards. This happens two and a half times a year, which means they are restrained for more than three months annually.”