Regulator says clubbed dog email “not offensive”

Meat trade

Email sent to 800,000 was for campaigning purposes to show extent of cruelty 

22nd September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) officials have dismissed a complaint against controversial animal charity Peta after it sent an email with images of a dog being clubbed.

The complainant said they opened the email innocently as there was no warning about the content. 

Images in the email were offensive and distressing, said the complainant.

Over 800,000 people who had given their permission to be contacted were sent the email which was meant to raise awareness “that dogs were slaughtered for their skins”. 

ASA decreed the email hadn’t breached rules for harm and offence and found in favour of the charity.

With the subject line “Help Protect Dogs from Slaughter”, the email said “Five times - that’s how many times an abattoir worker struck a small dog with a heavy club before the terrified pup collapsed next to a pile of dead dogs, each of whom had been bludgeoned”. 

A GIF of the dog being hit played automatically when the email was opened.

The ruling said: “While we acknowledged the ad contained violent and shocking images, we considered that because it had been sent to those signed up to receive emails from Peta, and because the subject line provided a degree of warning regarding the content of the email, it was not likely to cause serious or widespread offence or to cause fear or distress without justifiable reason.”

In its defence Peta said that the subject line should have alerted readers to the content. 

“Peta said many people who viewed their photographs or videos would be upset by them, but the ad was designed to motivate people to campaign against animal abuse and ads that contained graphic images were more likely to solicit donations or petition signatures,” the ruling found.