Australian lamb campaign religious row rumbles on

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

The row over the lamb campaign from Meat and Livestock Australia has become political
The row over the lamb campaign from Meat and Livestock Australia has become political

Related tags Islam Lamb

The High Commission of India has made a demarche to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Communication and Arts and Department of Agriculture over Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) lamb campaign featuring Ganesh and other religious icons.

The formal diplomatic move is designed to bring to their notice an “offensive advertisement by Meat and Livestock Australia that hurt the religious sentiments of the Indian community” .

An India High Commission release said: “In a video advertisement released by Meat and Livestock Australia recently, Lord Ganesha along with other religious figures is found to be ‘toasting lamb’, which the Indian community consider to be offensive and hurting their religious sentiments.

The Consulate General of India in Sydney has taken up the matter directly with Meat and Livestock Australia and urged them to withdraw the advertisement.”

The advertisement, which launched last week, depicts various religious figures coming together over a meal consisting of lamb.

It airs on TV and online.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed welcomed the High Commission of India initiative of formal diplomatic representation of the official position regarding this insensitive ad.

He urged the Australian authorities to impose a fine on MLA for “hurting the sentiments of Hindus and other religious communities” ; besides asking MLA to immediately withdraw “You Never Lamb Alone” video ad.

Rajan Zed added that it was highly irresponsible of MLA to continue with this ad despite the clear expression by Hindus that it was very inappropriate and hurt their feelings.

“‘Acts responsibly’ was among The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics of MLA, and it seemed to clearly violate it with this ad.

If this apparent MLA stubbornness continued despite universal condemnation, Hindus might think of launching worldwide boycott of Australian lamb meat.”

The advertisement has been reported to the Australia Advertising Standards Bureau.

MLA group marketing manager Andrew Howie said: “Our intent is never to offend, but rather acknowledge that lamb is a meat consumed by a wide variety of cultures and capture how the world could look if people left their differing views at the door and came to the table with open arms, and minds.

“The campaign features gods, prophets and deities from across a wide range of religions alongside atheism, in a clearly fantastic nature, with the intent of being as inclusive as possible,” added Howie .

“To achieve this we undertook extensive research and consultation.”

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