Strange free-range row

2015-07-18 09:36
The Fairfield Dairy billboard outside their farms in Howick that has come under fire for alleged false advertising.

The Fairfield Dairy billboard outside their farms in Howick that has come under fire for alleged false advertising. (Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

THE NSPCA has launched a crusade against a local dairy farm, pulling at the udders of the advertising authority to get a billboard removed.

In a decision that has left experts baffled, the Advertising ­Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has ruled that a Midlands-based dairy farm must take down a billboard advertising free-range product — this after an unusual ­complaint by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA).

Although there are no regulations that clearly define what free-range livestock is, Fairfield Dairy, a major dairy producer based in Howick, was ordered to remove a billboard outside its premises depicting two cows that had broken through a wall, with the words “Free Range” alongside.

According to the NSPCA’s Christine Kuch, who lodged the complaint, the organisation questioned the “honesty, substantiation and truthfulness” of the presentation of Fairfield’s billboard.

Although Kuch would not say ­exactly why these merits were questioned, a copy of the ASA’s ruling on the case states there are no protocols registered with the Department of Agriculture or any relevant Act for free-range dairy cattle in South Africa; therefore Fairfield’s claim of selling free-range products “cannot be substantiated”.

According to an expert in the dairy industry, who asked not to be named, any cow that grazes in an outdoor pasture is considered free-range and most, if not all, cows in the province are pasture-grazed. The expert said that although there is no legislation that defines what free-range is, there is an “understanding” that all cows in the country are grazed in a certain way, making them all free-range animals. “This is a clear example as to why more emphasis needs to be put on farming methods by the government. Even though things operate just fine as they are, clear legislation will out these types of issues.”

According to FairField Dairy’s ­Kevin Lang, they believe “100%” that their cows are treated fairly.

“We comply fully with European standards for free-range dairy. We care a lot for the well-being of our cows,” Lang said.

He said the argument stems from the fact that there is no legislation that differentiates what is free-range from what is not, therefore making it difficult to constitute false ­advertising if the differences between the two are not set out.

“This has been part of our stance all along, which is why we are struggling to ­understand why the issue has been escalated to this point,” Lang said.

According to the ASA, Fairfield submitted arguments on the merits of the issue, noting this argument and appointing an independent ­consultant to assess its farming ­conditions. However, the ASA was steadfast in its decision of removing the billboard.

The expert said many companies advertise their products as free range in supermarkets across the country, so he suspected a personal agenda.

However, Kuch said that nobody has been “targeted”.

“The NSPCA considers this a moral victory. Consumers deserve honesty,” Kuch said.

Lang said: “We don’t believe we are falsely advertising at all, and still stand by our claim that our cows are treated in a free-range and humane way.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  dairy industry

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
ADVERTORIAL
Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

/News
 

6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.