A member of the public was said to have complained that the poster might misleadingly imply that swine flu could be caught by eating meat and that it might cause undue fear about how swine flu could be contracted.
A statement from the ASA said: “The ASA noted the poster referred to a number of diseases, two of which were known to have originated from eating meat and two that did not. Although we understood the intention was to refer to livestock and meat production rather than just eating meat, we considered that the message was, at best, ambiguous.”
The poster stated in large letters “Meat Kills”, which was imposed on smaller recurring text that stated “E.coli, Mad Cow, Swine FLU, MRSA”. The words “Swine Flu” was more prominent than the other text and underneath the poster stated “Go Vegetarian PETA”.
The poster was said to breach British Code of Advertising clauses 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 9.1 and 9.2 (Fear and distress) and the poster has been ordered to not appear again in its current form.
PETA were said to believe the poster made the legitimate case that a reduction in meat consumption, or adopting a purely vegetarian diet, was one of the best ways to prevent the development and spread of deadly diseases that originated from livestock production and meat consumption. PETA added because of the Government health education programme and the extensive media coverage about the causes of swine flu, consumers would be well aware that eating meat did not cause the infection.