Skip to Main Content

PETA UK “Child Abuse” Ad Makes BBC’s Top 10 Most Controversial

Written by PETA | April 30, 2008


BBC News has just released a list of the top 10 most controversial ads of 2007, and our edgy, boundary-pushing counterparts over in the UK made the list with their “Feeding Kids Meat Is Child Abuse” billboard, which received a whopping 68 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority in 2007. The way I see it, with literally millions of advertisements bombarding the public every day with messages about how they can make their teeth whiter, or, like, more effectively pluck their eyebrows, creating an ad that makes people stop and think—and that affects some people so profoundly that they’re shocked out of their complacency—is not an easy thing to do. So, excellent work, PETA UK.

It may not be a message that people want to hear, but it’s an important one (a point that was recognized by the Advertising Standards Authority, which ruled that the ad does not trivialize abuse, as complainants had claimed). And, of course, when you consider that feeding kids meat sets them on the road to a higher risk of heart attacks, diabetes, and a whole slew of other health problems, the ad isn’t exactly misstating the case. Here’s the BBC list of controversial ads, and here’s the billboard that’s causing all the fuss. I’d love to hear what you think.



Commenting is closed.
  • charlie says:

    My parents fed me meat most of the time and im very healthy. Children get Obest by what the parents feed them if you feed them junk food constantly then of course they will get to a stage of being obest.

  • Kurt K says:

    Well Antigone If you don’t want to pay for my healthcare you better vote for a conservative! Your liberal friends are the ones that want to have universal healthcare! But don’t worry I am covered through my employer!

  • Cody says:

    Sorry about that it is just so frustrating of how people don’t eccept the fact that what peta says is true. Its mind boggelin

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Kurt K While eating a burger here and there may not make you fat it ALWAYS is a symbol of animal abuse because no animal willingly gave up that burger for your eating pleasure. Sowhether or not a burger here or there will make you fat it is NOT necessary for you to live it is NOT the best source of nutrition for any human it is NOT good for the environment or the animals. The ad may be oversimplified but that does not make it wrong. If you want to continue to argue for your “right” to eat meat may you get all the unhealthiness you have coming to you. I just wish I could pay for my own health care without having to bear the cost of yours.

  • Kurt K says:

    Antigoneits me again You are correct we do have epidemic of overweight children in this country! I guess you can argue that eating to much meat is bad for the kid. However what is far worse is just overeating period. If you over eat on anything without exercise you will gain weight! I wrestled in High School I know the secret to being healthy. Eat less crap and run your ass off. That simple some people just don’t want to do it. If a parent feeds a kid a burger here and there and that kids is involved in athletics and exercise I see not one problem with it. However if that same parent feeds the kid a ton of meat and junk food and let that kid play XBox all day then I have a huge problem with it. Its not the meats fault it is the bad parenting! So saying simply feeding you child meat is abuse is a little oversimplified. There are so many other factors that come into question. You agree?

  • Dr.Breen says:

    Cody So then whats with the bad language?

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Derek No offense but I stand by what I said. I work with doctorsnurses and the majority of them smoke and are overweight so as a rule I don’t go to doctors at all. I just don’t see the point in going to someone about my health who clearly does not care about hisher own. The point I was trying to make is that physicians are not necessarily the best judges of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. You are free to disagree but that is definitely the case where I live.

  • Derek says:

    Antigone In what state do you live that “the most unhealthy people are those in the medical industry” Texas Mississippi? Based on some of your past posts you clearly have had some type of issue with a physician so if your physician is fat and sits in his office with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth go find a different one you have no one to blame but yourself if you are unhappy with your physician. Like anything medicine is a consumer driven market you decide which “product” physician to utilize. As I’ve said before in relation to drug prescriptions a vast majority of patients do not want to be educated on their disease and empowered with the ability to modify their life or diet to benefit their health they would rather opt for a pill instead of being “inconvenienced” with such things as exercise and a healthy diet. Also discussing with a parent about limiting the amount of meatcandypop their child consumes or reducing “family time” of sitting in front of the TV from 510 PM every night is often viewed as an attempt to deprive their child of something or attack their parenting skills.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Hmmm….. to all those who think this ad is inappropriate I have to askdo you really think it is okay to allow your children to be excessively fat become diabetic and have to rely on drugs??? I totally agree with this ad. I see way too many obese children and it’s disgusting. It’s bad enough the majority of adult Americans opt to be disgustingly obese now they allow their children to become disgustingly obese. Even more sad when you think of the number of people who starve to death in the world and here we are gluttonous Americans who can’t control our appetites. We should be ashamed. The worst part isthe most unhealthy people are those in the medical industry!! Why would I go to a doctor who is out of shape and clearly unhealthy? What kind of example is he setting?

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Maya Thanks for your reply. If I misinterpreted your post my apologies. Certainly the parents mentioned in your links though perhaps vegan themselves did not feed their children a healthy vegan dietmore like a starvation diet. Lawmakers should rightfully target “parents” like these. I think a few reasons some doctors are reluctant to promote vegetarian or vegan diets are their lack of knowledge and training on the subject and their fear that some patients would strongly balk at the idea or perceive them as a maverick. There are people who put their personal health at minimum priority and as such would never comply with a veg diet. We are dying largely of diseases of our own device nowadays and it’s hard to dissuade someone hellbent on selfdestruction.

  • Derek says:

    Tabitha good luck finding a valid key word scientific study linking the amount of isoflavinspytoestrogens in Soy to any harmful short or long term effects on a healthy child…basically you won’t.

  • Derek says:

    I just did a quick nonscientific Google search regarding obesity as child abuse cases and they far outnumber the single overlypublicized malnourished vegan child case many people and industries seem much quicker to jump on a vegan child abuse case than that of an obese child. The link from the BBC for example reports that 20 cases of childhood morbid obesity in the past year 0607 were reported to child health services. httpwww.cnn.comUS980109obese.abuse httpvirtualmentor.amaassn.org200308ccas30308.html I also found a discussion board post about a child named Jared Ostrander a 4 year old boy who lost 70 pounds after being taken out of his parents’ home. Also for the record a serving size of “lean” meat is 3 oz. I don’t think that includes Big Macs and hot dogs…

  • Tabitha says:

    And Cody and Derek since it was ME that mentioned feeding soy being child abuse Maybe YOU should do your research. You’ll find there’s just as many horrors in the making of IT as in any slaughterhouse. And it’s a medical fact that feeding a baby soy infant formula is the same as feeding a baby birth control pills. Just because it doesn’t come from an animal doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Grace Hi there. You’re right you might get quite a bit of abuse on this site for eating chicken and your statement but not from me. It’s a good point because I think about this all the time in my advocacy. Most people know that wearing fur or buying from puppy mills or pet stores will not make them healthier. Sorry to be harsh but any moron knows that fur and pet store animals are not neccesary and are probably treated like crap. The food industry is a completely different story. What we put in our bodies is a WAY more touchy subject than what we buy for material goods. I learned this as a vegetarian in college people would practically spit in my face if I sat down with a veggie meal even if I didn’t say anything! The mere act of eating vegetarian can make some people livid. It’s a product of guilt I think. The point is nutrition is vitally important. However it does not change the fact that factory farmed chickens are one of the most cruelly treated animals on Earth. The conditions chickens are put in are so vile that a mutated virus grew out of the practice and is now infecting humans. It’s really scary. I think if you tried it you would find fake chicken products delicious nutritious and versitile for those of us who like to cook. If you don’t want to give up chicken right away maybe just try fake chicken and see if you could live with it! I think you would be surprised. Sadly the bird flu could become a really severe problem in the future the only way to stop it is to have a worldwide boycott on chicken products and you and I can be part of the solution. Thank you for listening!

  • Grace says:

    Dear PETA Although your ad is funny I must admitt it is slightly misguiding. Eating RED meats is bad for you i.e hamburgers however meat such as chicken is not bad for you and is in fact stocked up in proteins and has little to no fat. I am an avid animal lover I dont eat red meats because I refuse to sink my teeth into a cow or sheep lamb is an absolute NO however I DO eat chicken on a weekly basis because it is healthy and because it’s one of the best ways for me to consume a large amount of protein tofu makes me gag. Not all meats make you fat and i apoligize for eating chicken because I’m sure many of you out there woudl love to condem me for it.

  • Tabitha says:

    I’m sure all the TRULY abused children in the world who aren’t fed ANYTHING really appreciate this comparison.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Hi Mike! Thank you for the link. I did not realize I sent duplicate articles it was not intentional. Thank you for alerting me to that. I post too hastily sometimes However I think you misunderstood my statement. I never said that a vegan diet was unhealthy for children. What I said was this doctors and lawmakers are more likely to target vegan parents than they are to target parents who feed their kids meat. Thus the articles. As Chris pointed out that may be a fringe group and is still a rare event. But my main point is that if we took a poll of doctors who discussed vegetarianism for children I bet it would be relatively rare. Which leads me to my original point Mike. PETA should not be throwing the term “child abuse” in the face of parents until doctors and nutritionists are willing to state that vegetarianism is a better diet for children. Until then you can’t accuse parents of child abuse if their doctors are at the very least NOT condeming meat at the worst promoting it as a healthy part of the diet. I have to assume that more parents are listening to their family doctors than are reading the latest news from PubMed. So they are not getting enough information to throw the term “child abusers” at them. But of course as a vegetarian myself IF I had kids I would definetly want a meat free diet for them. Thank you again for the info Mike! We may not agree 100 percent but I am grateful for the link and the information!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Hi Michele I can’t remember if it was me or not but author Michael Greger MD has kindly made the whole book “Bird Flu a Virus of Our Own Hatching” available online for free httpbirdflubook.comg.php?id5 You can also buy the book at that link and Michael donates all proceeds to charity. What a sweet guy!

  • Ted says:

    Meat driven soceities are helping to churn out fat kids McKids as I call them. Along with the tvvideo games as the baby sitter and lack of physical education in schools we are killing the next generation. Personally I think meat does far more damage than religious soceities that practice polygamy and get their kids taken away.

  • Susannah says:

    TJ I have to take issue with you here. My vegan nephew and his wife have raised their kids as vegans and both are the picture of health never having had meateggsmilk in their lives. I have been vegan for over a year now and at 65 years old my bone density actually IMPROVED this past year along with my cholesterol blood pressure and weight. There are definite health advantages to being vegetarianvegan aside from the obvious benefit to the animals. See the writings of Dr. Dean Ornish a highly respected dietician whose diet is used by medical doctors to reverse heart disease. It is the meatmilkegg industries who want people to believe that we can’t live without them. In fact we live much better and longer without them!

  • claire stokoe says:

    I find it amusing that some of these comments say “let kids be kids”. What about being parents and monitoring what your children eat. My brother who is 10 came to stay with me for a few days and he loved eating tofu burgers and having soya milk on his cereal because it tasted good. Maybe if more people thought beyond their own selfishness and in ability to take responsibility for things .. this world would be a better place for all of us animals.

  • Kiff says:

    Did someone mention HAY? Mmm HAY! Where’s my bale? I’ll eat it all day as long as it’s soaked in 100 vegan singlemalt scotch! Save the homeless kittens and puppies. TNR the feral cats. Stop shelter euthanasia. Protect the battery hens from abuse. Make the abattoirs as humane as possible. Save the whales foxes seals and chinchillas. I’m all for it! But let the militant vegans screech into the dark echoing empty void of total public disinterest. The average AmericanEuropean has about as much interest in becoming a vegan as he or she has in receiving a free Hamas membership or taking a vow of chastity. Let’s keep it relevant folks and keep it realistic.

  • Tajinder Singh says:

    The Ad is completly true that Feeding Meat to Kids are exactly their Abuse as to through this Parents or guardian spoil childhood of their Kids. Tajinder Singh Petadishoom

  • tony makauskas says:

    The ad is certainly eye catching!! I never thought that serving a child a hamburger would be considered child abuse. Vegans want to impose their lifestyle views on a primarly meat eating public. Thats fine but child abuse!! Give me a break. This add at least is not as disturbing as the one with Holocaust victims on one side and a bunch of little piggies on the other. Now THAT is disgusting!!

  • Michele says:

    For anyone reading this blog who still thinks that meat is so great you might want to read the book “Bird Flu a Virus of Our Own Hatching”. was that Mike Q who recommended that to me a little while ago? It is VERY eyeopening. If I had read something like this book years and years ago I would have given up meat just for the sake of my health and my life!. I stopped eating meat 3 years ago for the sake of the animals but I am learning more and more all the time about the health and environmental risks associated with meat eating.

  • Heather says:

    I want to thank the health professionals here who took the time to attempt to correct people’s unbelievably uneducated and thoughtless opinions. I am a vegetarian and the decision to eliminate meat from my diet is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was trying to find a polite way to express my disgust at people’s opinions about the UK ad and the subsequent discussion about vegetarianism related to kids. Thank you for your thoughtful and INFORMED comments!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Maya Your 1st and 3rd links relate to just one case Ice Swinton. In the 2nd link the fivemonthold baby who died was fed “uncooked fruits and grains” and “was fed only wheat grass coconut water and almond milk.” In the Swinton case the malnourished baby was fed “herbal tea flax seed oil fruit juices and a homemade soy drink.” Why weren’t these babies being breastfed? It’s very apparent that the parents were grossly negligent. These are obviously vastly inadequate diets for vegans of any age. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada don’t agree with your assessment “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association the A.D.A. paper cited more than 250 studiesmy comment and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases….Wellplanned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the lifecycle including during pregnancy lactation infancy childhood and adolescence.” As published in PubMed “Appropriately planned” and “wellplanned” are the operative phrases in the above quote. You can check out this link to view and read about some very healthy veganfrombirth children httpwww.veganhealth.orgarticlesrealveganchildren

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Hi Derek Glad to see you’ve calmed down a bit. Even if I perpetuated a mistruth in the medical profession I don’t think it was quite as disrespectul as when you told me to shut the hell up. For what it’s worth I should have stated my position differently. I should have said this I beleive that if a study were conducted or a poll were taken we would find that nutrition is not discussed in exam rooms the majority of the time. Maybe it’s because doctors don’t discuss it enough or maybe it’s because often only see the doctor for specific problems instead of for yearly exams. I suggest that I don’t know all the facts but that is what they are facts. The percentage of doctors that discuss vegetarianism is a percentage not an opinion. It would be nice if there were a way to find the numbers.

  • Cody says:

    Christopher Cochran you need to read your facts before saying dumb shit like that who would ask ” why bother meat eating anyway “. Well if you dont know you jerk its because they are abused used and they are not ours to eat you piece