Advert depicting dog being pulled doesn't amount to animal cruelty: ASA

02 November 2017 - 13:01 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
A screengrab from the Voltaren Emulgel advert showing a man dragging a dog by its front paws across the floor.
A screengrab from the Voltaren Emulgel advert showing a man dragging a dog by its front paws across the floor.
Image: Screengrab via YouTube

When is it OK to drag a dirty dog by its front paws to the bath for a wash? When you have a sore back‚ of course.

But the idea of dragging the dog to the bathroom did not go down well with Charles Kotze‚ who lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) against Glaxosmithkline Consumer Health Care (Pty) Ltd about its advert.

The advert shows a man using Voltaren Emulgel for his lower back pain and is seen bending down‚ picking his large dog and carrying it to a bath tub. He is also seen dragging the dog by its front paws across the floor.

Kotze said dragging the dog was not the right way to treat animals and that it can cause serious harm to the dog. He further argued that the act amounts to animal abuse and cruelty.

In its response‚ the company said the dog was not in any way harmed during the filming of the advert. The company contended that the man in the commercial does not use a large amount of force to move the dog and that the animal does not look distressed or in any pain.

It also argued that pulling a reluctant dog was not an unusual practice and that the act Kotze complained about was not a portrayal of cruelty to animals.

According to the company‚ a dog trainer was present during the filming of the commercial to ensure that the dog was not harmed or distressed. An animal welfare certification was also obtained confirming the appropriate treatment of the dog‚ the company said.

After seeking advice from the Animal Anti-Cruelty League on whether it would have approved the advert‚ the ASA dismissed Kotze’s complaint. The body found that the commercial does not appear to encourage or condone cruelty or irresponsible behaviour towards animals.

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