In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Christian-Hindu-Buddhist-Jewish leaders have urged Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to withdraw its “You Never Lamb Alone” video ad launched on September four, which they say trivializes various religious figures.
This “new integrated campaign continues with the theme that Lamb is the dish that brings everyone together, with the creative content for online, social and TV showing the Gods, Goddesses and Prophets of different faiths and beliefs coming together over Lamb at a modern day spring barbecue”, an MLA release about the video ad states.
Senior Greek Orthodox Christian Priest Stephen R. Karcher, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, Buddhist Priest Matthew T. Fisher and well-known Jewish Rabbi in Nevada-California ElizaBeth Webb Beyer; in a joint statement in Nevada (USA); said that unnecessarily dragging religious figures, who were highly revered by the adherents of their respective faiths, to sell Australian lamb meat was very disrespectful, highly inappropriate and could be disturbing for some faithful.
Contradicting the MLA claim that lamb brings everyone together and unites us, Karcher-Zed-Fisher-Beyer stated: Love, and not lamb meat, united us and brought us together. Moreover, icons of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, taken frivolously and inappropriately used; they noted.
We, the faith leaders, were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers, Karcher-Zed-Fisher-Beyer added.
Karcher-Zed-Fisher-Beyer also urged Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to act urgently on the various complaints reportedly received by it regarding this ad.
Meanwhile Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that “You Never Lamb Alone” video ad seemed to make fun of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling lamb meat for mercantile greed, Zed pointed out.
MLA, with about 50,000 livestock producer members and headquartered in North Sydney, “delivers research, development and marketing services to Australia’s cattle, sheep and goat producers”. Dr. Michele Allan and Richard Norton are Board Chair and Managing Director respectively.