This month, the UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled to drop all allegations against Go Vegan World’s (GVW) “Humane Milk is a Myth” campaign as one that misled consumers, effectively recognizing that the message from the animal-rights organization regarding dairy is valid. GVW launched its billboard campaign in February—which focused on the industry-wide practice of removing calves from mother cows—and the ASA has since received seven separate complaints regarding the advertisement’s message, including one from the National Farmer’s Union, that alleged GVW’s campaign was casting the dairy industry in a false light. “The ad highlights that the problem faced by animals in the dairy industry is not how they are treated,” GVW Director Sandra Higgins said, “but that they are used at all.” The ASA explained its ruling was based on the current state of dairy farming in the UK and acknowledged that the routine practice of removing calves from their mothers is an inherently inhumane practice. “Although the language used to express the claims was emotional and hard-hitting,” the ASA stated in its ruling, “we understood it was the case that calves were generally separated from their mothers very soon after birth, and we therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to materially mislead readers.” This ruling not only allows vegan advertisers to make the universal claim that all milk is inhumane but also sets a precedent for a discussion regarding the “humane” status of all other practices routinely employed in the animal-agriculture industry.
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