Jimmy Doherty Red Tractor ad

The ASA has cleared a Red Tractor ad on pork traceability

A Red Tractor pork ad featuring celebrity farmer Jimmy Doherty did not mislead consumers about Red Tractor welfare standards, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled.

The ad showed free-range pigs on Doherty’s farm, and featured Doherty talking about how the Red Tractor ensured traceability so consumers can be confident about where their meat comes from.

Animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) – along with 86 individual complainants – challenged the ad, saying the free-range pigs shown misleadingly suggested all Red Tractor pigs were raised to free-range standards.

However, the ASA ruled today the ad’s main message was about traceability, and that it made no claims about free-range welfare standards. It added the ad also briefly featured images of some indoor pigs in addition to the free-range animals shown on Doherty’s farm.

“We considered that viewers would understand that the farm shown was Jimmy Doherty’s and featured in the ad because he was, for the purposes of the ad, a representative of the scheme,” the ASA said in its ruling. “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’.”


Levy body Bpex, which commissioned the ad, said it was pleased with the ASA’s decision, adding it had gone to “great lengths to make sure the campaign as a whole gave a true and accurate picture of the British industry”.

The National Pig Association, which represents British pig producers, also welcomed the ruling but hit out at CIWF for bringing the complaint in the first place. “I am disappointed that, despite efforts by the industry and a personal commitment from me to work closely with Compassion in World Farming on areas that should be of common interest, they continue to wage this war of attrition against us,” said NPA chairman Richard Longthorp. “I fear in reality they may be more interested in self-promotion than in genuine promotion of animal welfare in farmed animals across the world.”

CIWF ambassador Joyce D’Silva said CIWF had “nothing against Red Tractor” but wanted to make sure consumers were clear it was not a high-welfare scheme. “I have to say we are perplexed by the ASA’s decision,” she added. “The ad doesn’t give a true representation of where the majority of Red Tractor pigs live.”