RSPCA anti hunting campaign criticised by watchdog

- The RSPCA has had its knuckles rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority over an anti-hunting press campaign created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

- The RSPCA has had its knuckles rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority over an anti-hunting press campaign created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

The ads, which ran last November, have had four out of nine complaints upheld against them in this November's monthly ASA report.

The RSPCA was criticised for using a photo of a disembowelled fox which it could not prove was genuine. The execution featured the photo with the headline: "Whatever you think about foxes, you have to admire their guts."

The ASA also ruled that the charity had been misleading by suggesting that hounds caught and killed stags, whereas most stags are killed by other means, such as firearms. It was asked not to repeat the claims in future ads.

However it ruled in favour of the RSPCA on a number of other points, including claims that foxes could remain alive for some time after being caught by hounds and that stags are occasionally pregnant when hunted.

The findings came in response to 20 complaints from the public, including one from the pro-hunting organisation, the Countryside Alliance.

Chris Reed, the ASA's external affairs manager, commented: "This is an extremely complicated area where we find it difficult to establish agreed facts because of the emotions stirred up on both sides. We try to take a common sense approach."



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