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Badger cull advert is banned after complaints.

THE RSPCA has been banned from running a controversial advert on badger culling after a complaint from Welsh farmers and Wales' Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Antoinette Sandbach AM.

The animal charity's adverts featured the image of a syringe and a bullet above the headline Vaccinate or Exterminate? about the culling of badgers in England to stop the spread of bovine TB to cattle.

But advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ordered the adverts not to be published again in their present format.

North Wales AM Ms Sandbach said: "I am extremely pleased that the Advertising Standards Authority has upheld my complaint that the adverts implied all badgers in the cull areas in England would be killed.

"The language in this advert was alarmist and misleading and does not help the debate on this complex matter.

"I query whether it is right that a charity should use its donated funds in this way and I hope that questions will be asked within the organisation about its approach to lobbying and spending on advertising.

"The spread of bovine TB from badgers to cattle is a real, everyday, situation for farmers who face having their animals killed because of this disease.

"We need to fully address the problem of bovine TB in badgers - using such emotive language, as the RSPCA did in this advert, is not helpful to the debate."

There were 119 complaints about the advert, including ones from Ms Sandbach, Simon Hart MP and the Farmers' Union of Wales. Most complaints were about the use of the word "exterminate", which they said was alarmist and misleading because the trial cull was only in two areas of England. The advert asked supporters to donate PS3 by text to fund the RSPCA campaign to stop the badger cull in England and to sign a petition.

In its ruling the ASA said: "We told the RSPCA not to use language that implied the whole badger population in the cull areas would be culled in future advertising. We considered that the wider general population, who had not taken an active interest in the proposed cull, would not be aware of the proportion of the badger population that was expected to be culled as part of the Government's plans."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 17, 2013
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