Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI urges public to complain to ASA about government ad featuring performing seal and penguins

Posted: 22 September 2005

The UK government’s latest Working Family Tax Credit TV commercial, which features a performing seal and penguins, has been roundly condemned by Animal Defenders International. ADI is a major international animal welfare group which campaigns against the use of performing animals in entertainment - advertising, TV, films, circuses and live shows. The HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) commercial, made to alert people to the deadline for credit renewal forms, depicts a seal picking up a message in a bottle in its mouth and performing penguins arrive to watch a tax credit ‘iceberg’ falling.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI, says: “The government should set a better example than to use performing animals in their advertising, these animals suffer in captivity deprived of normal social interaction with their species. The harsh training regimes enforced by trainers and suppliers of animals for the TV and movie industries add to their distress.”

For both seals and penguins their main activity is an annual breeding cycle, for which they typically gather in very large numbers to mate. Both species are highly social animals and tend to live in groups and gather in very large aggregations during the breeding season. For these reasons to break their normal patterns of behaviour and remove them from their habitat and social structure is both cruel and disorienting. [1]

"The government’s advertising should reflect the great weight of public opinion in the UK which is firmly against the use of performing animals. However, if the government continues to use performing animals in this way, we call on the public to protest to Lord Borrie, Chairman of Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) or complain by email to the ASA at” , Jan Creamer added.


[1] Seal information from Macdonald, David,2004, The New Encyclopaedia of Mammals, Oxford University Press, New York. & penguin information from Terraquest-

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