AMERICAN-BASED religious leaders protesting to Meat & Livestock Australia’s latest ‘You Never Lamb Alone’ video advertisement have received the backing of the Indian Government.
The High Commission of India in Canberra, noting protests from the Indian community in Australia, has made a demarche or political complaint to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Communication and Arts and the Department of Agriculture about the controversial advertisement.
The new lamb campaign aims to position lamb as the meat more people can eat regardless of their religious beliefs, background or dietary requirements. It includes creative and sometimes humorous content for online, social and TV showing actors portraying the gods, goddesses and prophets of different faiths and beliefs coming together over lamb at a modern day spring barbecue.
However, Hindus have urged the Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau board to ban the advertisement because Hindu statesman Rajan Zed believes it trivialises the Hindu deity Lord Ganesha. The president of the Universal Society of Hinduism has already urged MLA board chair Dr Michele Allan and managing director Richard Norton apologise and withdraw the ad. Australian Hindu and Anglican leaders have also complained about the advertisement.
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A statement from the High Commission of India in Canberra also said the MLA advertisement was offensive and hurt the religious sentiments of the Indian community. 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 and a number of Community Associations have also registered their protest, the statement said.
US-based Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish leaders have urged MLA to withdraw the “You Never Lamb Alone” video ad launched this month.
A joint statement from senior Greek Orthodox Christian priest, Stephen R. Karcher, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, Buddhist priest Matthew T. Fisher and Jewish Rabbi in Nevada, California, ElizaBeth Webb Beyer 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.
“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,” the leaders said said.
They urged the Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to act urgently on the various complaints it had received about the ad.
A spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the Indian High Commission has raised with DFAT its concerns about an advertisement produced by Meat & Livestock Australia.
“We understand the advertisement has been referred to the independent Advertising Standards Board for review.
“The guidelines administered by the ASB focus on maintaining community standards in advertising, the spokesperson said.
“The ASB manages the complaint resolution process for the advertising self-regulation system in Australia.”