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SAFE takes Tegel to task in complaint to advertising watchdog

October 11th, 2018

SAFE has laid an official complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority over a Tegel ‘free-range’ chicken advertisement, which it says is grossly misleading.

The television advertisement shows happy cartoon chickens running around an expansive outdoor farm, with lyrics claiming the chickens are “free to roam around outside… for some chicken fun.”

In the complaint, SAFE’s Head of Campaigns, Marianne Macdonald, says the cartoon grossly misleads the public about conditions for chickens raised for meat in ‘free-range’ systems, for which there is no legal definition.

“The ad shows and states that the chickens are running around outside playing. But in reality, studies have shown that a third of ‘free-range’ chickens will never go outside. This is due to multiple factors including huge numbers of chickens in each shed and limited numbers of outdoor access holes.”

“The ad says the chickens can run around. However, the breeds of birds that multinational operation Tegel uses for meat in New Zealand are genetically selected for rapid muscle growth.  Many of these birds struggle to walk, let alone run around, because their legs collapse under their own weight.”

“By presenting such a grossly exaggerated picture of quality of life for chickens, Tegel is actively misleading people to think that free-range chickens used for meat have a much better quality of life than they actually do. The reality is many of these birds suffer chronic pain and poor mobility.”

The complaint was laid with the ASA on the 10 October, and SAFE is awaiting the response.

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