Amazon agrees to change ad after pig industry pressure

The National Pig Association complained to the Advertising Standards Authority over the advert
The National Pig Association complained to the Advertising Standards Authority over the advert

Online retailer Amazon has agreed to edit its Echo Dot advert showing a boy feeding kitchen waste to a pig after a complaint made by the National Pig Association.

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 for 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.

The swill feeding ban was imposed after pigs fed infected waste food caused the ‘devastating’ 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, which resulted in the death of millions of farm animals and cost the UK economy £12 billion. Swill feeding became illegal throughout the EU in 2002.

“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.

She called for the ASA to help the industry in preventing this advert from being shown and ‘keeping ASF and other awful notifiable diseases out of the UK pig population’.

Vet Duncan Berkshire, president of the Pig Veterinary Society (PVS), also complained to the ASA as an individual and to Amazon on behalf of the PVS.

He asked the online retail giant to remove footage of the illegal practice from all forms of media immediately.

The ASA contacted both Ms Davies and Mr Berkshire on Friday May 3, 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 said.

The UK is currently on high alert for African swine fever, which, like foot-and-mouth disease, can be spread via infected meat.