‘RSPCA “Home for Life” ads escape ban even though some pets are put down’

Posted on August 22, 2012


Today (22nd August), an item was posted on guardian.co.uk titled ‘RSPCA “Home for Life” ads escape ban even though some pets are put down’.

‘… Charity’s campaign was clear it could only do its best to rehome animals if their owner died, rules advertising watchdog –

An RSPCA ad campaign that offered to care for pets if their owner dies has escaped a ban, despite the charity admitting that almost one in five animals in the scheme are put down.

The RSPCA ran a TV and newspaper campaign for its free Home for Life service – featuring clip of a cat pawing at a window of an empty house and the story of a poodle called Pepe – which rehomes pets in the event an owner dies.

“When you pass away, you’ll want to know that your pet is safe and happy,” read one press ad. “We can help take care of your pet after you’ve gone. You’ll rest in peace, knowing they’re being looked after.”

The Advertising Standards Authority received a complaint from a member of the public and Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming.

They argued that the RSPCA’s advertising was misleading for not mentioning that it puts down some animals in its care.

The RSPCA admitted that in 2011 it had put down 10 of the 58, or 17.2%, of the animals taken in as part of its Home for Life service.

However, the organisation said that it strongly disagreed that the ads were misleading.

The RSPCA said that its ads did not give a cast-iron guarantee that a new home would be found; instead phrases such as “do all we can” and “we’ll try our very best” were used.

It added that some animals were not able to be rehomed because of health problems, or because they had an “unsound or aggressive temperament”. There were also legislative barriers regarding certain breeds such as pit bull terriers.

The ASA backed the RSPCA, concluding that members of the public should understand from the ads that it pledged to do its best to rehome pets.

“Because consumers would also understand that there might be instances when it would not be in an animal’s best interests to be rehomed, which we also understood was the case, the ads did not breach the [advertising] code,” said the ASA. “Ads for the RSPCA’s Home for Life service [were] not found to be misleading for not explicitly stating that some animals were euthanised.” …’

Read the item and view video ad. at www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/aug/22/rspca-home-for-life-ads-escape-ban


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