Meat Industry Puts the Bite into 'Cynical' Vegetarian Society Ads

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Meat industry puts the bite into |cynical' Vegetarian Society ads

The 6bn [pounds] UK meat industry is to haul the Vegetarian Society's first-ever national campaign across the coals of the watchdog Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP).

The move comes amid intense lobbying for the loyalty of ambivalent carnivores with a spate of big-brand vegetarian options.

The Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) and the National Farmers' Union (NFU) are making official protests over claims made in the first execution of a six-part Vegetarian Society press campaign, which was launched last month and is intended to run until the autumn.

"If everyone ate a vegetarian diet," the advertisement asserts, "the UK alone could support a population of more than 250 million people." It says the UK takes grain from starving Third World countries to feed "our greed" for meat and that "90% of our agricultural land is used to feed livestock".

The CAP has already asked the Vegetarian Society's Manchester-based advertising agency CAS to substantiate the claims in the ads.

"What we don't like is the cynical way they have used omissions of fact and half-facts to make a point," says the MLC's head of consumer marketing David Bowsher.

But the industry has opted to turn the other cheek to an attempt in the campaign's third execution last week to keep the Mad Cow scare alive and kicking.

That ad talked of thousands of cows carrying the disease BSE "straight to your table" - but Bowser claims the public will take it with a pinch of salt.

"We don't believe the BSE advertisement is going to make much impact -- the misfacts are so well aired," he claims. …