Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) objected to the claim that described the British pig industry as having 'very high welfare standards'.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruling stated that "some indicators of UK pig welfare, such as the percentage of piglets tail-docked, the percentage of finishing pigs that had access to straw bedding, and the use of farrowing crates for sows might be seen by some as indicating that the general level of pig welfare in the UK in certain areas should not be described as very high".
However, BPEX hit back, claiming the complaint was upheld on a technicality and has vowed to continue to campaign off the back of higher welfare standards than its European competitors.
Chris Lamb, head of marketing for BPEX, said: "We lost on a technicality, because we did not connect the claim made directly with a comparison to the rest of Europe, particularly with reference to sow stalls and castration. We shall obviously make sure we do so in the future."
BPEX said the ASA received three complaints regarding the ad, including one from Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (VIVA!). VIVA challenged the claim that "pig farmers in the UK already face higher costs than those in Europe, largely due to our higher standards of pig welfare". However, this was rejected by the ASA.
CIWF's chief executive Philip Lymbery welcomed the ASA's decision: "This is a real victory for consumers and a spur to more honesty in how our food is produced. This ruling leads way for an improvement in food labelling.
"Farmers and retailers need to wake up to consumer awareness and stop hoodwinking people with false messages. The majority of the pigs we consume in Britain are subjected to unlawful tail-docking, are not given straw bedding and are kept in overcrowded barren conditions.
"By moving to higher-welfare systems, such as outdoor rearing, free-range and organic, British pig farmers could just save their bacon."