Translink responds to criticism as Go Vegan World advertising campaign is launched in Northern Ireland

Translink has responded to criticism in relation to an advertising poster which states: “DAIRY TAKES BABIES FROM THEIR MOTHERS”.

A picture of a Translink bus bearing the advertising poster has been circulated on social media over the past week, sparking anger amongst the farming community.

At the start of this month, the advertiser, Go Vegan World, announced the launch of 100 bus ads in Northern Ireland as part of its 2023 New Year Campaign.

"Go Vegan World ads will appear on 100 buses in Northern Ireland over the New Year period. The ads are designed to remind the public that when they make non-vegan choices, other animals suffer and die,” they said.

The image shared on social media in recent days. Image: Facebook/Jonathan Buckley MLA

"How often have you heard the retort that veganism infringes on peoples’ personal choice? But let’s think about the influences on our choices. Most of us were given no choice in being born into a speciesist culture that normalised the concept of other animals as inferior to humans; that taught us to accept animal products as normal, natural, necessary, and nice. If we had been taught accurately about what is entailed in the production of milk, eggs, fish, flesh, wool, and leather, entertainment and research, most of us would have been vegan from our youngest days.

"One of the most poignant facts that is hidden from us by the industry that profits from our ignorance, is the separation of mothers from their calves in the dairy industry.

“These are the two simple facts that our current campaign in Northern Ireland focuses on.”

DUP MLA, Jonathan Buckley, has described the advertisement as “anti agriculture” and said he has been in touch with Translink management in relation to it.

Go Vegan World ads will appear on 100 buses in Northern Ireland over the New Year period. Image: Go Vegan World

"It’s time we supported our farmers, not demonise them with nonsense like this,” he said. “Farmers are the backbone of the Northern Ireland economy”.

A Translink spokesperson said the contract for Translink’s on-bus advertising is operated and managed by an external media specialist.

“Our media specialist has confirmed that all adverts displayed meet required Advertising Standards Authority requirements,” they continued.

“Translink cannot take a stance on adverts which meet the ASA requirements, this is upheld under Equality Legislation."

The image shared on social media in recent days. Image: Facebook/Jonathan Buckley MLA

They added: “The content of such ads will not necessarily have any relevancy to Translink, nor should they be seen as Translink taking a stance on the issue.

“We understand this campaign has also run on public transport in other locations including GB and RoI.”

A similar campaign was launched in Northern Ireland back in 2020, with Translink removing the advertisements from its buses following backlash from farmers at that time.

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