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RSPCA's anti-badger cull advert is banned

An RSPCA advert suggesting that badgers in cull areas would be "exterminated" has been banned following 119 complaints.

The ad featured an image of a syringe and bullet at the top of the page with a headline reading "Vaccinate or exterminate?" before text continued: "The UK government wants to shoot England's badgers. We want to vaccinate them - and save their lives."

The Advertising Standards Agency has ruled the advert must not appear again in its current form. Credit: Press Association

Conservative MP Simon Hart, the Farmers' Union of Wales, Welsh Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach and 116 members of the public complained about the ad, with most saying the term "exterminate" was inaccurate and alarmist.

The RSPCA said the word "exterminate" was used carefully and deliberately, saying it had "a literal meaning of total eradication and a common use meaning of killing on a massive scale".

The Advertising Standards Agency said: "...Consumers were likely to interpret the claim, along with the text 'The UK government wants to shoot England's badgers', to mean that all badgers would be eradicated in the cull areas. On that basis, we concluded the claim was likely to mislead."

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.