VEGA News Item

Nesquik not getting off that easily! - 20/08/2003
VEGA continue the campaign against Nesquik's cow advertisements by countering a rebuff from the Advertising Standards Authority
Dear Mr. Jarman,


We dissent from the reasons you adduce to reject our complaint against an advertisement for Nesquik.

You ignore the last point in our letter of the 30th July, namely that plenty of widely-available and suitable (and even nutritionally superior) alternatives are available for consumption to make good the shortcomings of Nesquik: they entail no “bad news for cows” nor any recourse to exploitation nor abuse to the animal nor to offensive methods of husbandry nor to mischievous inducements to children, because the cow need not be implicated at all. The advertisement is fundamentally flawed on this count.

This alone establishes the advertisement as “socially irresponsible” and promoting and complicity in cruelty to animals: it causes offence to the teachings, education and legislative intents of many authorities (e.g. in DEFRA’s preparations for a comprehensive Bill on animal health and welfare strategy for Great Britain) and our objections cannot be passed off merely as “unacceptable to some” – when in the public in general we are as many as those practising dietary aversions for various reasons (e.g. as Muslims and Jews) that advertisers are bidden in the ASA Code to respect.

I further emphasise the strength of our objections from evidence presented in authoritative pronouncements, as follows.

The Executive Summary of the Report of the BSE Inquiry, which assessed conditions long rated as without objection, stated: “BSE developed into an epidemic as a consequence of an intensive farming practice – the recycling of animal protein in ruminant feed. This practice, unchallenged over decades, proved a recipe for disaster.”

Our warnings on the persistent need for challenging complacency and complicity in this disreputable industry are reinforced in the enclosed statement published in the Veterinary Record [*].

Advertising for Innocent dairy products

In a present Bash the Cow trend that must be squeezed out of advertising we enclose examples [Innocent or Ignorant?] of material displayed on hoardings and in the press in which the delights of thickies should be pronounced as sickies and the blessedness of innocence be replaced by the sham of an ignorance purveying unsubstantiated delusions of bovine nirvana. This advertising is surely infantile and reprehensible.

We look forward to your further attention to our comments and objections.


Dr. Alan Long
Hon. Research Adviser

*Dairy cattle welfare workshop. The Veterinary Record, 16 August 2003, p. 220

The paper assessing the welfare of dairy cattle, which is published in this week's issue of The Veterinary Record (pp. 197-202), has highlighted important welfare concerns that have implications for the dairy industry and farm assurance schemes.

The University of Bristol has organised a one-day workshop on September 9, at the School of Veterinary Science, Langford, in order to discuss the significance of the results. This workshop, sponsored by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, presents an opportunity for those involved in the industry to consider the significance of the findings and to examine potential solutions to the welfare concerns identified in the study.

[...] For those interested in attending the workshop, please contact the Langford Continuing Education Unit by telephone (0117 928 9502) or email (Langford-CE@bristol.ac.uk).

David C. J. Main, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford BS40 5DU  

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