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An ad campaign too far?

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Crippled Monkey | 12:50 UK time, Friday, 12 January 2007

I'm finding myself in a bit of a dilemma about the new ad campaign by Enable Scotland, a charity for adults and children with learning difficulties, in which they make the point - in a no-nonsense, hard-hitting way - that animal charities receive almost twice as much in donations as disability ones.

The campaign features stark posters of adults with learning difficulties, accompanied by very direct questions such as "If I ate out of a dog bowl, would you like me more?" and "Would you like me to sit up and beg?"

In their campaign literature, Enable Scotland point to the figure that 11.1% of the UK population donate to animal charities, while only 6.6% donate to disability charities. While those figures are shocking, they also leave something of an unpleasant taste in the mouth of this Crippled Monkey. Should we really be comparing charity with charity and saying that some are more worthy than others, and thus criticising where members of the public who are, after all, under no obligation to donate money to any such causes are choosing to place their cash? And furthermore, doesn't this campaign once again make disabled people synonymous with charity? As Tom Shakespeare said right here on Ouch over three years ago, should we not "challenge the idea that disabled people are the perpetual beneficiaries of charity"?

Be interested to hear your opinions on this campaign. Just click on that handy comments link below.


  • 1.
  • At 02:30 PM on 12 Jan 2007, orpheus wrote:

I'm with you, Crippled Monkey. This is bad taste - in fact, I think it's bad taste in the extreme. Setting charity against charity ("we're a more important cause than you!"), criticising people for how and where they give your money (which might put them off ever donating again, which won't do anyone any good, will it?) and, yet again, making us seem like bleeding hearts who only need charity to get by in our tragic lives. Ugh. Horrible.

As I said on the `Have Your Say` pages elsewhere on the BBC webpages, my son (who has autism) is not a `charity case`, and nor should any person with a disability be considered as such. I have visited Enable's website and checked on the wording of their campaign blurb, and they make it quite clear that their concern is all about charitable donations - not about equal rights for people with disabilities. They should be using the considerable amounts of income that they receive to campaign hard to shame the politicians and other `decision makers` into the implementation and enforcement of appropriate standards of education, social welfare and health care for people with learning disabilities. But then, as with other voluntary organisations that are now multi-million pound businesses, this would likely conflict with their self interest in the receipt of income from service provision to local and central government.

  • 3.
  • At 03:21 PM on 15 Jan 2007, Derek Matey wrote:

Now as disabled people, we don't have to like charity, but there is no doubt that we get help via them. So way to go, Enable Scotland! Alienate the entire donation-giving public by telling them outright that they're giving their money to the wrong causes and that some people (or animals, or whatever) are more important than others! Idiots.

  • 4.
  • At 01:03 AM on 16 Jan 2007, Beccy Sawbridge wrote:

As a disabled person who gives willingly of her time and monetary resources to both animal and human welfare causes, I find it worse than 'SICK' that this ad campaign chooses to exploite the support given to other creatures that we share this earth with in this way ... Sadly for our world the most cruel and exploitative creatures on this earth are HUMAN CREATURES ... what is the point of being clever if we are without desernment, care and compassion. Take care, Beccy X

  • 5.
  • At 02:15 PM on 16 Jan 2007, John Knowler wrote:

I didn't think I could be surprised much anymore when it came to dumb ad campaigns, but well done Enable Scotland I was stunned by their lack of common sense when a friend pointed it out recently.
Are they really trying to make the donating public feel ashamed of donating to one charity and not another?
Perhaps we’ll see the following advertising tag line in their next campaign:
“Droolers or Dogs? Now who should you really give to?”

It's pretty pathetic. I note, with interest, that their governing committee does not include any disabled people at all, and only one third of their 'advisory committee' does.

  • 7.
  • At 05:20 PM on 16 Jan 2007, Liza wrote:

I actually think they have a point. Although it shouldn't be a situation of putting charities against each other, charities are businesses like any other and this is not an ideal world and they do have to compete for peoples' money. This ad just makes that clear instead of pretending it is not the case. Nobody can afford to support evey charity or cause, so they are all in competition. And however much you may disapprove of this ad or charities in general, people have worked and tried their best on this and work hard in charities and do not deserve to be insulted. If you feel you can do their job better than they can, apply for it and stop moaning and insulting others, it is hateful. I am sure at least some people here have been helped by charities and it is wrong to insult them all the time. I don't expect this to be published as it contravenes the current fashionable trend to insult charities and charity workers.

  • 8.
  • At 03:52 AM on 18 Jan 2007, Jesse the K wrote:

The point I wish Enable Scotland was raising:

Many people love animals, and yet find disabled humans distasteful.

I love my dog, and I also love humans who communicate as well as my dog does, who love as deeply, who play and learn and sorrow and sigh.

I'm not saying that people and dogs are equal, but I find it offensive how normate bigotry devalues human life while elevating (other) animals.

  • 9.
  • At 09:47 AM on 18 Jan 2007, Margie Woodward wrote:

I have an assistance dog, and I work for Scope! Charities can work together and do. It is up to individuals, how they want to donate their money. But this is often governed by their personal experience ie, family members and friends etc. I agree. Charities are now business
orientated, but they should not alienate the general public

  • 10.
  • At 10:26 AM on 19 Jan 2007, Amo Raju wrote:

Further to the issue raised by Crippled is not fair to compare charities as each will always feel strongly about their own aims. However, i'd like to say something that many may consider's time disability groups whether local or national started to get away from the charity model. If we truly want equal rights then we should be applying for funds or grants or tenders on an equal footing to other not for profit agencies. If we want to deliver a service or provide support to our user groups, we need to pull up or socks and act like a business. How can the disability movement keep it's head held high if we're asking for handouts at the same time. I am a disabled person myself and i run a support service by applying for funds and tenders rather than hoping for donations. This is the only way non-disabled people will see that disabled peoples organisations are changing into forces to be truly recognised.

Here's a thought.

Perhaps government should pook after the more vulnerable in society rather than leaving them to beg from charities!

I don't think of myself as a 'charitable case' and have considered whether we, as disabled people, should be automatically entitled this, that and everything. Just because we have bits that don't work why on earth should that make us more entitled to hand outs than others?

I've come to the conclusion that a civilised society should look after it's most vulnerable citizens and, if that means positive discrimination, then so be it!

  • 12.
  • At 06:04 PM on 10 Feb 2007, Maddy wrote:

I am outraged by Enables new campaign. Despite being campaigners for equality they are stupid and heartless enough to ruthlessly thrust the "some are more equal than others" banner when it suits them. I also agree wtih others that these stark images of disablity put us back years with regard to the public normalising disabled people. Disabled people receive help by way of benefits - animals do not get any government funding. People recognise this which is why they give money to animals. The comparison is unfair.

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