A supplements company has had an advert pulled by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for making medicinal claims for unlicensed products.

In a ruling published on 3 September, the ASA said that Equifeast’s advertisement for Cool, Calm & Collected in Showing World magazine must not appear again “in its current form”.

The advert made claims for the role of chelated calcium as a horse calmer.

Further claims were made about the negative effect of too much magnesium on horse behaviour.

The ASA said this was unsubstantiated by robust trials. It argued the sample sizes were too small and rejected research published in the Journal of Equine Science (June 2014) as it was only related to foals.

Equifeast disputes the level of proof required in advertising, arguing that although it costs millions to evaluate a new medicine, there are no requirements to licence a horse feed or supplement.

The ASA took advice from the Veterinary Medicines Directive (VMD) over the advert’s statement that: “Getting both chelated calcium and controlled magnesium right improves behaviour in up to 90% of difficult horses.”

The ASA concluded that consumers would “be likely to infer from this that the product could treat behavioural problems caused by a nutrient deficiency and therefore the ad was making medicinal claims for an unlicensed product.”

But Equifeast’s Malcolm Green maintained the ASA had “twisted our words to imply that consumers would interpret what we have written in a bizarre way”.

He said the case sets a precedent and warns that “most supplement advertisements in all leading equestrian magazines make medicinal claims that are effectively liable to a similar treatment from the ASA.”

This news story was first published in H&H magazine on 18 September 2014

  • Malcolm Green-Equifeast

    Thank you for putting our side of the argument in a balanced way. All feed and supplements companies should be horrified at the level of proof the ASA demands. I doubt that there is a single horse supplement supported by that level of scientific substantiation anywhere in the world. We are not in the pharmaceutical industry but the ASA don’t seem to care.
    Malcolm Green