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Product: Agriculture (Horse Industry)
Advertiser: Bucas Ltd
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9
The advertisement for a therapy rug for horses referred to the following:
“Bucas has developed a brand new Recuptex Therapy rug which not only prevents numerous medical problems but can also help treat a vast array of ailments such as:
• Muscle soreness
• Soft tissue damage
• Whither soreness
• Kissing spine
The webbing acts like a Faraday Cage, reflecting the magnetic fields created inside the body. Preserving these fields stimulates blood circulation and oxygen flow in the horse’s body and back, which heals and reduces both swelling and inflammation and promotes faster healing.
Bucas Recuptex Therapy rug is the ideal choice for treating horses with chronic arthritis or back problems and helps to accelerate the recovery process in a natural protected environment. The new patented Snap-lock magnetic front and internal surcingles keep the rug in place.
The Recuptex Therapy rug is a trustworthy and highly technological equine rug which no horse should be without.”
The complainant felt the advertisement was misleading due to claims of functionality that were (a) contraventions of physics and (b) unproven. He said claiming that a Faraday Cage reflected a horse’s magnetic field back into the body mistook what a Faraday Cage actually did. He said the rug could not have the mode of action that the advertisement claimed.
The advertiser noted that the complaint was an objection to the use of certain scientific terminology in the product description of their Recuptex Therapy Rugs for horses. Regarding the term ‘Faraday Cage – reflecting the horse’s magnetic field back into the body’, they stated that it was true that the term Faraday Cage does have a specific physical application to a form of shielding with respect to certain forms of electromagnetic radiation. They advised that the initial discovery and development by Michael Faraday was applied to protection from high voltage electrical discharges (e.g. lightning). They advised that the principle of electromagnetic shielding had been found to have a much broader application. In 1989, Frieder K. Kempe, who secured a patent for ‘Method of Pain Reduction using Radiation Shielding Textiles’, identified specific findings and benefits of radiation shielding with respect to both humans and animals (specifically
horses in the patent), in which he ascribes and expresses the scientific basis for his discovery as being that of a ‘Faraday Cage’. Stating the ‘Faraday Cage effect’ as being simply an expression of the concept of ‘electromagnetic shielding’ with specific physical
benefits and thus patentable claims, the advertisers expressed their product description likewise in order to give the reader a broad based understanding that the Recuptex rug acts in a similar way, ‘like a Faraday Cage’.
The advertisers provided a listing of the various scientific papers that had formed the basis for the use of the terminology concerned and support for the ‘radiative shielding (Faraday Cage)’ benefit claims to both humans and to horses.
The three supporting documents from the advertiser covered the following:
• “Faraday Cage in Powder Coating”
• ‘Method of Pain Reduction using Radiation-Shielding Textiles’; Kempe,United States Patent,Patent No. 4,825,877,dated 2 May, 1989
• “recupTEX ® - Prolongs your muscle performance!”, accrediting Concordia Textiles and Bekaert
They stated that the terminology which they had used most accurately described the principle involved and the case studies provided attested to the benefits of the application of this scientific principle to the benefit of people and horses.
The Executive requested the advertiser to provide the studies that substantiated all claims in their advertisement and to indicate the relevant substantiation in each of the three submissions. They noted that of the three documents (above), Kempe’s patent document contained eight case studies, three of which related to horses. They noted that commentary was included on the individual horse trainer’s assessments; however, the original source of this material was not cited and there was no reference to any veterinary or equestrian expertise and the research sample size was extremely small.
The advertiser provided additional information together with a series of 14 publications and documents in support of substantiation of their claim. The Executive noted that all the documentation and the associated advertisers’ comments related to Faraday cages without highlighting any references to animals or horses.
The advertisers proposed, in order to clarify the matter, amending the wording from ‘like a Faraday Cage’ to ‘like a Faraday Shield’.
The Executive provided the advertiser with a further opportunity to present any substantiation surrounding testing, clinical trials, demonstrations or outcomes of the use/treatment of horses for the ailments referred to in the advertisement. The advertiser referred the Executive to the several case studies as detailed in the text of the original patent in 1989 (and referred to above) regarding clinical evidence in relation to the product’s beneficial effect towards helping in the relief of muscle soreness and its help in the healing of injuries and reducing nervousness in animals.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the advertisers had submitted extensive documentation which referenced Faraday cages and their various uses, including one example of equestrian use. The Committee noted, however, that the advertisers had not provided relevant substantiation for the claims made in the advertising about the product’s efficacy. Without relevant substantiation for the claims made, the Committee considered the advertising to be in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.9 of the Code.
The advertisement should not reappear in its current form.