An advocacy group for dairy farmers was recently forced to pull a misleading advertisement claiming there are no growth hormones in Canadian milk.
The advertisement – run by the Dairy Farmers of Canada – shows a farmer in front of a field with the message “there are zero growth hormones in milk produced in Canada. Like, none,” written out in the clouds.
Citizens filed complaints to Ad Standards over the advertisement, noting the group’s claim is completely false. According to animal rights organization Animal Justice, all cow’s milk contains a naturally-occurring growth hormone called IGF-1, “which helps turn baby calves into thousand-pound adults.”
Jenny McQueen, an animal rights activist from Toronto, is one of many who submitted a complaint to Ad Standards, BNN Bloomberg reports. Her response from the regulatory body read, “We were informed by the advertiser that, upon receipt of your complaint, the ad has been permanently withdrawn.”
Animal Justice praised the move by the board. “We’re pleased that the truth prevailed,” it wrote. “And that this unlawful, misleading messaging will no longer appear on transit stops across the country.”
The ad’s intention was to share the truth about the dairy industry and clear up misconceptions regarding the health consequences of consuming dairy products.
Dairy consumption is linked to a number of chronic health issues, including cancer and heart disease. In contrast, a growing number of studies have shown that a plant-based diet is one of the healthiest ways to eat. Concerns over these risks have led to the growth of the vegan milk market, which, according to Animal Justice, now accounts for 10 percent of all Canadian milk sales.
The latest version of Health Canada’s nutrition guide, released earlier this year, saw dairy as a food group nearly scrapped completely, emphasizing consuming more plant-based food than it has in the past.
The guide received backlash from dairy industry workers, who said the new updates would cause consumer’s confusion over the nutritional value of dairy. But Health Canada stood by its decision.
In a statement, Hasan Hutchinson, a representative for the government organization, said, “regular intake of plant-based foods, so vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and these plant-based proteins can have positive effects on health.”