India lodges complaint over 'offensive' Australian lamb advert

Frederick Owens
September 11, 2017

An advertisement released by the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) on Monday has not gone down well with the Indian community triggering protests from various quarters.

In a video advertisement released by MLA recently, Lord Ganesha along with other religious figures is found to be "toasting lamb".

MLA spokesman Andrew Howie said its latest ad was meant to be "inclusive", despite Indian communities voicing their outrage as soon as it went to air.

Meat and Livestock Australia's (MLA) latest controversial lamb advertisement has now sparked a diplomatic incident, after the Indian government lodged a formal complaint.

They join a chorus of worshippers to call for the ad to be pulled, while Zed would like to see MLA heads roll, demanding the resignation of board chair Michele Allan and managing director Richard Norton.

The Indian High Commission in Canberra said on Friday that it had issued a demarche to three Australian government departments, reported BBC. With strong condemnation of this insensitive ad world over, MLA appeared to be harming it "core focus" of delivering "value to its 50,000 levy paying members by growing demand for red meat.", Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated in a statement in Nevada (USA) today. The Indian mission said it had made a "démarche" to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Communication and Arts and the Department of Agriculture over the "insensitive" ad.

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In a statement, DFAT said: "The Indian High Commission has raised with DFAT its concerns about an advertisement produced by Meat & Livestock Australia".

They urged the Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to act urgently on the various complaints it had received about the ad. Ganesha should not be used in "selling lamb meat for mercantile greed", he added.

That ad featured faces from different races, religions, backgrounds and sexual orientations enjoying lamb barbeque together.

"Our intent is never to offend, but by acknowledging that lamb is a meat consumed by a wide variety of cultures, capture how such a gathering might look if one left their differing views at the door and came to the table with open arms, and minds" the spokesman said.

Dias warned that unless MLA yanks off the offensive ad campaign and apologises, the global Catholic community would be compelled to boycott its products as "there are many alternatives available worldwide".

US-based Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish leaders have urged MLA to withdraw the "You Never Lamb Alone" video ad launched this month.

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