Page last updated at 00:05 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Pork advert outlawed by watchdog

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MPs say better labelling of pork would help people make an informed choice

Pork adverts claiming British pigs have "very high welfare standards" are inaccurate and must not be used again, the advertising watchdog has ruled.

The watchdog said cases of tail-docking and a lack of straw bedding meant the British Pig Executive's claims were not always true.

The Advertising Standards Authority issued the ruling after receiving complaints from animal rights groups.

TV chef Jamie Oliver has recently campaigned in support of British pork.

The advert had claimed: "British pig farms have very high welfare standards, assured by the Quality Standard Mark. And well cared-for animals mean better quality meat."

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the second sentence would lead consumers to believe all pigs in the UK were treated to very high welfare standards.

Strict laws

The pig executive said the wording of the advert referred to conditions outlined by the quality mark, not to those actually found in British farms.

Celebrity chef Oliver has encouraged people to buy British pork on the grounds that UK welfare laws are more strict.

Practices which have been outlawed here, such as the use of sow stalls, are still commonly used across the continent.

He claims the British pig industry is "on its knees" because so much pork is imported from EU countries.

The ASA rejected a second complaint about using such claims in adverts, agreeing that housing introduced by law in 1999 had left British farmers with larger bills than their continental counterparts.

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