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News Release

IAMS found guilty of 'misleading' claims

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two complaints against IAMS, the pet food division of American-based multinational firm Procter & Gamble.

The Authority found that claims made in British national press adverts by IAMS of its products' beneficial effects on animals' immune systems were "exaggerated" and "misleading". IAMS, working with ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi, had made these claims to market IAMS Senior pet foods.

The first complaint focussed on dog food adverts. IAMS had submitted evidence from recent experiments that they claimed showed that increases in beta-carotene content in the diets of fox terriers and golden retrievers restored their immune system to that of a much younger dog. However, the ASA took expert advice and found that IAMS had not provided sufficient evidence to prove the claim. The ruling continued:

"Because the immune response of all dogs did not respond to increased levels of beta-carotene and because the advertisers had not shown with conclusive evidence that their product always contained the required amount of beta-carotene, the Authority considered that the claim "proven to take the immune system of an 8-year-old dog back to the level of a much younger adult dog" exaggerated the effects of the advertisers' dog food on all dogs and was, therefore, misleading."

The second complaint concerned claims for IAMS Senior cat foods. IAMS supplied the ASA with evidence of animal experiments where the researchers concluded that adding specific levels of vitamin E to the diet enhanced immune system responses in young and old cats.

Acting on expert advice, the ASA ruled that although the controlled experiments showed vitamin E enhanced the immune system responses in the cats subjected to the study, differences in age, sex, breed and environmental factors meant that it was unlikely to apply to all cats. Therefore, the claim that IAMS Senior cat food was "proven to take the immune system of an 8-year-old cat back to the level of a 2-year-old cat" was considered "misleading".

IAMS suffered a major blow a year ago when a front page story in the Sunday Express reported on cruel and deadly experiments on cats and dogs performed by the pet food company. This ruling from the ASA raises more concern over the company's treatment of animals. It also deals a further blow to IAMS' credibility, following the dismissal of two complaints made by IAMS against a rival pet food manufacturer and confirmation that the company had concealed its experiments on cats and dogs from the RSPCA in order to lure the charity into a joint promotion. The RSPCA have since admitted that it would not have worked with IAMS and their parent company P&G if the charity had known the truth.

Saturday 25 May 2002 was the 6th Global Boycott Procter & Gamble Day in protest at P&G's and IAMS' vivisection experiments. Over eighty different protest events took place across the world.

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A copy of the ASA adjudication can be found on the ASA website at www.asa.org.uk. Click on 'Adjudications', and then scroll down to 'Browse all ASA adjudications since 13th January 1999'. Click on 'By advertisers name' and go to 'I' for IAMS.

Uncaged Campaigns 29.05.02


Uncaged 1993-2012: This is the archived website of Uncaged. All information correct at the time of archiving - November 2012.