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McVitie's Christmas Ad Sparks Animal Cruelty Complaints

10 December 2014

ANALYSIS - McVitie's has been forced to alter its Christmas advert following a series of complaints about the treatment of a rabbit, writes Gemma Hyland.

The advert attracted strong criticism for featuring a rabbit shown on its back, known as "trancing".

Holding rabbits upside-down induces tonic immobility - a very stressful state in which the rabbit plays dead in order to increase its likelihood of survival when it is being attacked by a predator.

Following lobbying from groups such as the Rabbit Welfare Association and several complaints from viewers, McVitie's were forced to defend their actions.

In a statement on their website, McVitie's said: "We had a professional vet and handlers on set overseeing all the filming to ensure the welfare of the animals was our top priority.

"The professionals on set have confirmed that in their opinion the rabbit filmed was absolutely not in a state of tonic immobility or “trancing”; the camera angles used in the filming are clearly misleading.

"However, we understand that the ad could mislead people into thinking that putting a rabbit on its back is recommended, when this is not the case.

"We have therefore taken the decision to remove this scene in the ad as soon as we can."

Below is the revised McVitie's advert.

Gemma Hyland, Editor

Gemma Hyland, Editor

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