By Kathleen Lewis,2014-05-13 16:36
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    Meeting 10 December 2008

    Complaint 08/582

     Complainant: I. Schloemer

     Advertisement: New Zealand Sheepbreeders Association

    Complaint: The magazine advertisement for the New Zealand Sheepbreeders Association was headed “NEED MORE HELP THIS DOCKING?” Below this heading

    was a large picture, in the foreground of which was a woman in cropped shorts and

    top, facing the camera. Behind her was a sheep that had just been docked, with its

    rear end facing the camera, on its back in a docking bay. A man stood behind the

    sheep. Text below the image said “Any further enquiry for your nearest Suffolk

    breeder or to see whether Amber is available to help dock call…”

Complainant, I. Schloemer, said:

    “Where: Country Wide publication for farmers

    October 2008

    Who: suffolk breaders

    Product: sheep and "docking services"

Complaint -

    This ad has been upsetting me since I saw it the first time.

    I am not a farming person, and I might not be in the picture of what is needed to run a

    sheep farm. The docking might be necessary. And I am sure there are many sheep

    which don't make it as they get an infection. If this is common practice I can't do

    anything about it. But I feel that there is something deeply wrong with society if

    advertisements like this one are passed as normal and nothing to worry about!

    The sheep in such a position, the bloody stump left after the docking and the girl

    offering her services.

How can one create and publish such a disgusting ad?

Where are the ethics in this country?

I have written an email expressing my disgust and concerns to the address which was

    given on the website mentioned in the ad but had no reply so far.

    08/582 2

The Chairman ruled that the following provisions were relevant:

Code of Ethics

    Basic Principle 4: All advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of

    social responsibility to consumers and to society.

    Rule 5: Offensiveness - Advertisements should not contain anything which in

    the light of generally prevailing community standards is likely to cause serious or

    widespread offence taking into account the context, medium, audience and

    product (including services).

The Advertiser, Suffolk NZ, said:

I am the person involved In creating the advertising campaign for Suffolk NZ, with the

    official complaint being laid in regards to the first advertisement of a series of three.

Code of Ethics - Rule 5 - Offensiveness - Advertisements should not contain anything

    which is in the light of generally prevailing community standards Is likely to cause

    serious or widespread offense taking Into account the context, medium, audience and


These ads have been running since September 2007 in Country Wide Publications,

    publications that are aimed at the farming Industry, in particular farmers. Of the 27.3

    million lambs that were born this year in New Zealand, the vast majority would have

    had their tails removed in a similar way that was depicted in this ad. Farmers know this

    reduces problems associated with dags and flystrike.

Anyone associated with farming would also realise that the sheep in question is at

    least 10 months old - a lot older than the normal docking age of 1-2 months, and so no

    act or animal discomfort actually took place.

For the reasons outlined by the complainant to my knowledge this advertisement has

    not caused serious or widespread offence and therefore I would not regard this

    advertisement as a breech in advertising standards.

The Media, Countrywide Publications Ltd, said:

On behalf of Country-Wide Publications Ltd, I would like to respond to the Advertising

    Standards Authority (ASA) regarding the lodged complaint 08/582.

    1. Country-Wide Northern is a farming publication that reports on farm

    specific activities and topics that we class as inside the farm gate".

    2. The photo contained within the advertisement is depicting the procedure of

    tail docking and ear marking for identification of young livestock - in this

    instance lambs. This equipment used to restrain the animals is done so to

    reduce the stress on the animal and to avoid self inflicted injury occurring

    by a lack of restraint during the procedure. The procedure and equipment

    08/582 3

    are part of a general standardised practice that occurs on most sheep

    farms in New Zealand every given year.

    3. The advertisement itself was created by CPL Design (our in-house design

    department) on instruction from the client using images and text supplied

    by the client.

Please contact me directly through any of the mediums given below for any further

    correspondence and discussion.


The Complaints Board read carefully the relevant correspondence and

    advertisement. It noted the view expressed by Complainant, I. Schloemer, that the

    advertisement was offensive with regard to the image of the docked sheep and the

    “girl offering her services”.

The Chairman directed the Complaints Board to consider the complaint with

    reference to the Code of Ethics, Basic Principle 4 and Rule 5.

In making its determination the Complaints Board was required to consider whether

    the advertisement had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to

    consumers and to society as required by Basic Principle 4, and/or whether, in the light

    of generally prevailing community standards, it was likely to cause serious or

    widespread offence, taking into account the context, medium, audience and product,

    as contained in Rule 5.

The Complaints Board then turned to the advertisement and noted the image of the

    sheep on its back and the accompanying image of the woman. It accepted the

    explanation from the Media which said that the sheep was being held in a piece of

    equipment “used to restrain the animals…to reduce the stress on the animal and to

    avoid self inflicted injury”.

The Complaints Board noted that the woman was dressed somewhat provocatively,

    noting her cropped top and shorts. However it was of the view that the woman was

    dressed relatively modestly by today‟s standards.

The Complaints Board then noted the context, medium, and audience of the

    advertisement. It noted that it appeared in the „Country Wide‟ publication which, as

    noted by the publication was “a farming publication that reports on farm specific

    activities and topics that we class as „inside the farm gate‟”. The Complaints Board

    noted that this publication would be read by farmers who were familiar and comfortable

    with all practices of farm life. The Complaints Board considered that docking was one

    of these practices.

Having made these observations the Complaints Board was of the view that the

    advertisement was, taking into account the context, medium, audience and product,

    unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, and accordingly ruled that it was not

    in breach of Rule 5 of the Code of Ethics.

The majority of the Complaints Board were also of the view that the advertisement had

    been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society and

    08/582 4

    accordingly said the advertisement was also not in breach of Basic Principle 4 of the

    Code of Ethics.

A minority of the Complaints Board disagreed, saying that the image of the woman was

    inappropriate and overly sexualised, and accordingly said that the advertisement was

    in breach of Principle 4 of the Code of Ethics.

In accordance with the majority view, the Complaints Board ruled to not uphold the


    Decision: Complaint Not Upheld

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