Amazon to remove ‘swill feeding’ footage, after complaints

Online retail giant Amazon has promised to change a high profile advert showing a boy feeding a pig with what looked like kitchen waste, after  complaint by the NPA and Pig Veterinary Society.

The advert for the Amazon Echo Dot, which was shown in cinemas, features a small boy with a pet pig. During the advert, the boy scrapes uneaten food from his plate and gives it to the pig to eat.

In a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, NPA chief executive Zoe Davies pointed out that this is classed as swill feeding, which has been illegal in the UK since 2001. “What really concerns us, is not just the fact that the ad appears to encourage an illegal act, but the fact that we have another disease spreading through the EU, all over China and several other Asian countries called African swine fever (ASF),” she wrote.

Duncan Berkshire, president of the PVS, also complained to the ASA as an individual and to Amazon on behalf of the PVS. “A company as big and influential as Amazon has a huge responsibility to make sure that its customers are informed correctly and you have made a big mistake here, portraying something that is illegal in an advert that will be aimed to be watched by potentially millions of people,” he wrote.

The ASA contacted both Zoe and Duncan today, informing them that their complaints have had the desired response.

“We think you have a valid point and, with a view to acting quickly, we instructed Amazon to change their ad. We asked them to remove the scene in question, and I’m pleased to advise that we have received an assurance from them that they will make that change should the ad appear again,” the ASA.

Zoe said: “This is an excellent result. We are really pleased the ASA understood the seriousness of our complaint and reached the same conclusion. We also welcome what appears to be Amazon’s promise to remove the footage from future adverts. And we hope this sends out a message to other media outlets and advertisers.

“We also stressing yet again how important it is that all pig owners adhere to the swill feeding – and that means not feeding kitchen waste, even if it doesn’t contain meat.”

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.