OTTAWA, March 20, 2023 - Animal and environmental law organization AEL Advocacy has filed a false advertising complaint over Canadian Cattle Association (CCA) ads that contain misleading claims regarding the environmental impact of beef.
The CCA ads, which have been running on various social media platforms, state that beef is “sustainable” and claim that beef cattle are “preserving 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon in Canada.” These claims are unsupported by scientific evidence, which clearly demonstrates the profoundly negative impact the beef industry has on the environment and its significant role in furthering the climate crisis.
The complaint was filed with Ad Standards, the advertising industry's self-regulating body responsible for administering the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. The Code prohibits ads from containing inaccurate, deceptive, or otherwise misleading claims.
In its complaint, AEL Advocacy argues that the CCA's false claims are particularly harmful because they deceive ethically minded consumers into believing that beef is an environmentally friendly choice.
“As Canadians become more environmentally conscious, they are increasingly seeking out products they believe have a positive impact on the environment,” said Kira Berkeley, Co-Director and Legal Counsel at AEL Advocacy. “It is unacceptable for the CCA to capitalize on this trend by promoting beef as sustainable when the scientific evidence clearly shows it is not.”
In response to a similar complaint made by national animal advocacy organization Animal Justice in 2020 regarding a McDonald’s ad campaign claiming that the beef in its Quarter Pounder was “now sustainably sourced”, the Competition Bureau opened an inquiry and met with McDonald’s to facilitate voluntary compliance with consumer protection laws.
AEL Advocacy is calling on Ad Standards to follow suit and ensure the CCA is held accountable for its misleading advertising practices by withdrawing the advertisements. The organization is also urging consumers to be aware of the environmental impact of their food choices and to consider reducing their consumption of beef in favour of more sustainable options.
To read the complaint, click here.
For further information, contact:
Kira Berkeley, Co-Director and Legal Counsel, AEL Advocacy