The High Commission of India in Australia (Canberra) “have made a demarche to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Communication and Arts and Department of Agriculture bringing to their notice an offensive advertisement by Meat and Livestock Australia that hurt the religious sentiments of the Indian community”, according to its release.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, welcoming the High Commission of India initiative of formal diplomatic representation of the official position regarding this insensitive ad, urged the Australian authorities to impose fine on Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) for hurting the sentiments of Hindus and other religious communities; besides asking MLA to immediately withdraw “You Never Lamb Alone” video ad.
Moreover MLA Board Chair Dr. Michele Allan and Managing Director Richard Norton should resign for apparently working against the interests of the organization by upsetting consumers instead of charming them. 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.
Urging Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to act urgently against this ad, Rajan Zed pointed out that it seemed to make fun of Lord Ganesha, who was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling lamb meat for mercantile greed. Moreover, linking Lord Ganesha with meat was very disrespectful and highly inappropriate, Zed added.
Besides Zed; Senior Greek Orthodox Christian Priest Stephen R. Karcher, Buddhist Priest Matthew T. Fisher and well-known Jewish Rabbi in Nevada-California ElizaBeth Webb Beyer; also denounced lamb marketing using religious figures, which they said trivialized various religious figures; and urging withdrawal of the video ad. 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, they added in a joint statement in Nevada.
Rajan Zed stated 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.
India High Commission release further 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.”
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.
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”.