The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against a print advertisement by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation alleging that meat consumption raises heart disease and cancer risk. According to ASA’s report, the poster under review featured a child smoking a cigar and the following text: “You Wouldn’t Let Your Child Smoke. Like smoking, eating meat increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Go vegan!”
After considering two complaints questioning whether the link between meat consumption and disease risk could be substantiated, ASA concluded that the studies provided by PETA to support its claims failed to show any strong association between general meat consumption and increased risk of heart disease and various cancers. “We considered that because the ad likened the risks associated with eating any kind of meat to the risks of smoking, consumers would understand from the ad that the connection between eating any kind of meat and the risk of heart disease and cancer had been proven beyond doubt, which was clearly not the case, and we therefore concluded that the ad was misleading,” stated ASA.