Animal rights group PETA has criticised the LEGO Group for misleading children with a colourful and sanitized depiction of farming in its new CITY sets.
PETA representative Mimi Bekhechi has written an official complaint calling for sets such as the upcoming LEGO CITY 60346 Barn & Farm Animals to be rebranded.
The campaign group believes that the sets are painting an idyllic picture that is more in line with an animal sanctuary than a working farm, and should therefore be rebranded as such.
The set is available on June 1.
The depiction of LEGO farm life includes a calf being bathed, pigs grazing nearby as a farmer shovels what looks like LEGO manure, and a farmer holding a pair of scissors by sheep.
In a letter addressed to Niels B. Christiansen, chief executive of the LEGO Group, Mimi Bekhechi from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals describes animal farming as a ‘bloody, cruel business’, reiterating that ‘no firm should be promoting it, especially to children’.
She states that the ‘pastoral scenes’ depicted by LEGO toys hide the truth about the poor treatment of animals, pointing out that keeping pigs in cramped pens, chickens in cages and the butchering of cows is the ‘blood-soaked’ reality of farming.
PETA UK says the depiction misleads children and the farm life should be rebranded as a sanctuary.
This rebrand would help children recognise that animals are sentient beings who feel joy, pain, love, and grief and should be cared for, not treated as edible commodities to be used and abused.
It’s time we all stopped misleading children about the horror and cruelty behind their dairy milkshakes and beef burgers.
LEGO has declined to respond, but the National Beef Association has shown support for the company.
“This is a misleading message from PETA,” said the NBA’s chief executive Neil Shand. “We have a responsibility to teach children where their food comes from through farm toys.”