Thumbs up for controversial Greenpeace TV ad

Press release - January 8, 2017
The Dairy Industry has failed in its attempts to shut down a hard-hitting TV ad by Greenpeace.

An advertising watchdog has ruled the campaign by New Zealand’s largest environmental organisation, truthful and not misleading.

Using kiwi kids splashing about in a clear stream, the ad points out that 60 per cent of New Zealand’s monitored rivers are now unfit to swim in.

 

“The Government is allowing our precious rivers to be destroyed,” says the advertisement.

“Precious water supplies are being polluted by industrial dairy farming and massive irrigation schemes.”

The Advertising Standards Authority received a total of 12 complaints about the ad, including one from Dairy NZ. 

In a ruling (due to be released tomorrow) the Advertising Standards Authority has rejected each one of them.

“We’re not surprised by this decision,” says Greenpeace’s sustainable agriculture campaigner Genevieve Toop.  “It’s simple. The more dairy cows there are, the more polluted our rivers and streams become.”

The ASA accepted Greenpeace’s position that “the impact of industrial dairy farming on water quality is widely documented.”

“This is the message that the dairy industry has tried, and failed, to stop the public from hearing,” says Toop.

Attempts by the industrial dairying lobby to get the video banned actually had the opposite effect. It became known as “the ad they didn’t want you to see”.

Following Dairy NZ’s complaint, more than a quarter of a million New Zealanders went online and viewed it on Greenpeace’s facebook page.

The complaint laid by Dairy NZ claimed statements and images in the ad were “false and misleading”.  

These claims were thrown out.

The ASA’s complaints board agreed that the statements made in the advertisement “would not come as a surprise to most New Zealanders.”

Toop adds: “We would encourage Dairy NZ to concentrate its resources into addressing the very real problems of river degradation, rather than trying to pretend the problem doesn’t exist.” 

Greenpeace provided the ASA with a 13 page file of scientific evidence pointing to nitrate and pathogen pollution of our waterways as a result of industrial dairying.

Toop says the government’s own figures show 62 per cent of New Zealand’s monitored rivers are already unsafe for swimming. 

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has repeatedly drawn a clear link between industrial dairying and water pollution.

“Industrial Dairying is being confronted with its own truth, and doesn’t like it,” says Toop.

“The  decision by the ASA confirms that we have a major problem. Our ever-expanding dairy industry is  polluting our waterways with sediment, pathogens and nitrates.”

Toop says Greenpeace will continue to engage the public in the fight to stop the construction of big irrigation schemes. These would drain water from iconic rivers and lakes, using it to create even more industrial dairy farms.

“Their failed complaint has only served to strengthen our resolve.”

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