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Tuesday, 4 September, 2001, 23:42 GMT 00:42 UK
Anti-milk ad campaign 'will continue'
Peta's adverts warned children against drinking milk
Peta's adverts warned children against drinking milk
Animal rights campaigners have vowed to go on with an anti-milk campaign targeted at children, despite an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) judgement against them.

In the campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) , cards with the headline "Milk Suckers" were handed out to schoolchildren across the country.

The National Farmers' Unions in England and Wales and Scotland, the Dairy Council, the Royal Agricultural Society of England and one member of the public objected to the cards.

We are very pleased with the additional publicity

Bruce Freidrich,
The ASA said the campaign exaggerated the link between milk and the likelihood of developing conditions such as acne, flatulence and obesity.

It also criticised Peta's assertion dairy milk was harmful to most children, and said though the cards on their own were unlikely to cause anxiety and distress, they could play on children's anxieties and therefore cause anxiety and distress.

The cards showed images such as "Spotty Sue", a cartoon image of a girl with acne who was squeezing her spots into the mirror - with what appeared to be milk coming out of them.

On the back it said: "Sue's milk-drinking led to her battle with zits. Humans can have all sorts of gross reactions to cow's milk. When you give cows a break and clear you're conscience, you'll get to watch your skin clear up too!"

The ASA has told Peta to stop distributing them immediately.

'Improved' cards

But the campaign group has said it has revamped the cards in line with the ASA's recommendations and will continue with the campaign.

The senior campaign co-ordinator for Peta, Bruce Freidrich, told BBC News Online: "We are very pleased with the additional publicity.

"A hundred thousand cards have already been distributed and a further 100,000 are planned.

"We have changed the cards to comply with the ASA judgement and think they are even better than before.

"Kids have a right to know the truth about the dairy process. If they saw how dairy cows suffer they would never consent to drink this stuff."


He said 14 to 17 year olds, rather than primary school children, were the target age range, though he said who was approached was at activists discretion.

But Jill Eisberg of the Dairy Council, one of the bodies which complained, said she was amazed Peta had said it would continue to distribute the cards.

"We are consulting within our industry about what to do next, because it would appear that a ruling by the authoritative advertising watchdog is not sufficient to stop them," she said.

"Whilst we acknowledge that some people may be opposed to animal farming on ethical grounds, this is no reason to make unsubstantiated and unscientific claims about the nutritional value of dairy products."

The BBC's Nicola Carslaw
"The cards have provoked widespread outrage"
Discussing the issues:
Bruce Friedrich of PETA, and Dairy Farmer Laurie Ritchie
See also:

29 Jul 01 | Health
Milk could be a super-medicine
09 May 01 | Health
Milk drinking protects health
28 Sep 00 | Health
Milk skimming 'may reduce safety'
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