A commercial created by BBC to promote holiday cheer has sparked backlash from United Kingdom meat lobby group National Farmers Union (NFU). The commercial highlights various trends of 2019 and includes a scene with a cartoon turkey wearing a sweater that reads “I Love Vegans,” while pointing to a map of meatless foods in the UK. A group of turkeys also cheers as the sweater-clad turkey announces “less of us have been gobbled this year.”

Shortly after airing the ad, the BBC received criticism from the NFU. “We are deeply concerned that the BBC appears to have started campaigning for a vegan diet in advertising for its Christmas programming, none of which appears to cover veganism in its schedule,” NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts told The Telegraph. “It doesn’t appear to sit within the BBC’s editorial guidelines, which clearly states that they shouldn’t be a campaigning organization, and this advert takes our concerns about the BBC’s impartiality in its coverage of meat issues a step further.” BBC responded to NFU’s concerns, explaining that the commercial was not created as part of any agenda. “The cartoon turkeys in ‘Go Vegan!’ t-shirts are intended to be comedic and playful in keeping with the slightly surreal, exuberant spirit of the film, rather than any kind of endorsement or encouragement of a vegan lifestyle,” a BBC spokesperson said. Last year, nearly one in five Brits served a meatless Christmas dinner, according to supermarket Tesco’s inaugural “Christmas Report 2018.” To cater to consumer demand during this year’s Christmas season, furniture giant IKEA will exclusively serve meat-free meals across the UK.

Photo Credit: BBC

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