Countryside Alliance fails ASA truth test

Posted on the 7th December 2005

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has today ruled (December 7) that the Countryside Alliance (CA) made untruthful and unsubstantiated claims in its attempt to promote the alleged benefits of game shooting.

In its recently published glossy brochure, On the Front Foot, the CA falsely claimed that a shooting school in Berkshire had raised £1 million for good causes in 2004. The brochure went on to state that taking credit for more such shooting-related charitable deeds ‘will give shooting excellent publicity and provide more vital ammunition for the [pro-shooting] campaign’.

Animal Aid was able to demonstrate to the ASA that the Royal County of Berkshire Shooting School had not raised £1 million for good causes. Accounts lodged with Companies House show that it donated nothing at all to charity during the year in question and had given only £1,060 in the three years for which accounts are available.

The Royal Berkshire, instead, focuses on charitable organisations as part of its business plan. It charges fundraisers £15,000 per day to make use of its facilities.

Said Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler: 

‘More and more people recognise that the mass production of birds to be shot for pleasure is an uncivilised bloodsport. The Countryside Alliance is engaged in some desperate spin that it hopes will justify its cruelty to the public. But its boasts of charitable giving have spectacularly unravelled. It had already failed the test of common compassion for animals. Now it has failed the test of truthfulness.’

Notes to Editors

  • This is the second recent ASA adjudication against the Alliance. In June 2004, the ASA found that the Alliance’s claim on a poster that ’59 PER CENT SAY KEEP HUNTING’ misrepresented the findings of opinion polls and thereby breached the Authority’s codes on substantiation and truthfulness.
  • For more information, contact Andrew Tyler on 01732 364546
  • For full background, see our report Assault & Battery and the pheasant shooting index.
  • Photographs and undercover footage of pheasant rearing systems available on request.

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