Vegans look on bright side of mocking Australia Day lamb ad

Terry Sim, January 20, 2016

WARNING: This video contains confronting abattoir scenes.

VEGANS have hit back at Meat and Livestock Australia’s latest Australia Day lamb advertisement with a parody video that has sparked legal action and a online-funding campaign.

The MLA video advertisement has also indirectly facilitated wider media exposure for veganism and animal rights, vegans have claimed.

Vegan Chris Delforce, founder of the animal rights-focussed body Aussie Farms, on January 12 posted a video on Facebook containing seven seconds of the original MLA ‘Operation Boomerang’ lamb advertisement and footage of lambs being slaughtered in a Victorian abattoir.

The video uses a cynical ‘Hilarious behind the scenes clip from the new Aus Day Lamb Ad’ clickbait headline to encourage viewing. Its abattoir footage was secretly filmed in 2014 by activists and has been investigated, but a takedown request from MLA has failed to persuade Mr Delforce to remove the parody clip. He said MLA has also tried to have his video removed from Vimeo and Facebook.

Mr Delforce said many people were unaware or almost “trained’ not to think about what is involved in producing meat products.

“We don’t think of them as sentient intelligent animals, we think of them as the final product.”

He believed MLA had been unsuccessful in getting his video removed from social media platforms because of fair use and fair dealing policies, allowing the use of a short section of a video for the purposes of parody or criticism.

“That is kind of what I am relying on.”

Mr Delforce said he had raised more than $6000 in four days to boost the video’s reach in the lead-up to Australia Day.

“It’s all gone into the Facebook advertising campaign to get that video out to as many people as possible.”

Lamb ad issue is animal rights, not vegan offence

Mr Delforce said he was not personally offended by the MLA lamb advertisement.

“My issue with the ad is the way that it makes light of what is an industry based on violence, based on killing.

“It dangerous to think about how myself as a vegan or how others vegans might have been personally offended by this because it means we are forgetting about who are the real victims are and those are the lambs, who want to live just as much as out pet dogs or cats.”

The media focus on the MLA lamb advertisement making fun of vegans is a detraction from the real issue, he said.

“I think we have brought that on ourselves in a way, by focussing on how we are personally offended when it shouldn’t be about us, it should be about the animal.”

Veganism getting wider exposure because of lamb ad

Vegan Australia director Greg McFarlane said MLA had been “picking on vegans explicitly” for the past three years and should remove the flame-throwing segment. But the MLA’s treatment of vegans was secondary to the main issue of the suffering of animals, he said.

“The current advertising standards probably don’t cover this sort of thing.

“They are getting good publicity for their million dollars or whatever it cost and we also are getting publicity, using their advertisement to get publicity for the vegan and animal rights cause.”

Mr McFarlane said the vegan point of view had been covered on radio and news websites since the lamb campaign started.

“We probably wouldn’t get invited to speak on talk-back radio if it wasn’t for this advertisement, so the message goes out to a lot of people who haven’t heard about the rights of animals and veganism.

“In this case, we make the best of it and use it as a platform to expose the cruelty that goes on in animal farming.”

Mr McFarlane said had not watched the Aussie Farms video, but the other available footage of animal farming “as a total, it is pretty horrific”.

“Even the stuff you get from the farming industry itself, like branding and ear tagging and castration as standard practices, is pretty horrific, when it is completely unnecessary and no-one needs to eat any of those animal products to thrive and happy, healthy life.”

Mr McFarlane said Vegan Australia’s main focuses included the environmental “damage” caused by animal farming and recovering land to reduce greenhouse gas emission, and the health impacts of meat consumption.

“We don’t really want anyone to consume animal products or advertise those products.

“We feel it is violence against the animals and it is obscene.”

Challenge now to reinforce lamb consumer message

MLA group marketing manager Andrew Howie said the abattoir footage on the Aussie Farms video is not new and the industry had already responded to it. He claimed Aussie Farm’s use of the MLA footage was a breach of copyright and unlawful.

“Our takedown notice was in relation to protecting the identity of our paid talent and the sheep industry funds that have been used to fund our campaign.

“It was specifically about our content.”

Mr Howie said the challenge now was to reinforce the message to consumers to buy lamb.

“So this week our media now is about talking about the Australian product – we’ve got the best lamb in the world – and reiterating that the reason the campaign exists is to get people to buy the product and not to be controversial.”

Sources: Vegan Australia, MLA, Aussie Farms.


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  1. Torin King, January 22, 2016

    There is no need to breed and slaughter animals. Truly delicious and nutritious mock meats that are made from ingredients like wheat and soy are available. Animal farmers should change their habits and grow ethical vegetable produce instead. It is truly green and the way of the future.

  2. Margo Scott, January 22, 2016

    Veganism is on the rise as a direct result of allowing the general public access to the process of meat production, a process most modern day people have become insulated from. Let’s keep it up. While some people will continue to ignore the most horrific videos of an animal’s suffering, all for the sake of a quick tasty bite, thankfully there is a rising tide of switched-on individuals who can see the big picture. The fact MLA had a go at the vegan (and this is getting a bit old hat guys) tells us they are worried.

  3. Kate Fitzhenry, January 22, 2016

    I love the ad. It was excellent to see the MLA putting their propaganda to the Australian public. Disappointingly, the public is not listening. We all know the propaganda they try to feed us about the live export industry. So, how dare they try to hijack Australia Day. Unfortunately for the MLA, their attempt to laugh at vegans only served to bring disdain onto the MLA and the individuals involved in the ad.

  4. Orlando Browning, January 22, 2016

    I object to the ad. I found it demeaning to Australia Day. It was not amusing. It was like a kid’s computer game, the sort you don’t want your kids to watch. My family and I are vegan, and we live in a rural area. Until now, we have had no problems with our lifestyle. Since the ad, we are receiving insults about our being un-Australian. This is sad as any type of discrimination is in itself, un-Australian.

  5. Christine, January 22, 2016

    How can meat eaters possibly justify this cruelty to sweet, gentle and inoffensive animals? How would we like to be treated the way these lambs are treated – just because somebody fancied the taste of our flesh?

  6. Rosemary, January 20, 2016

    The vegan industry is being inspired to show the truth behind the lies and animal welfare people (especially rescue sanctuaries) can use the outrage to raise money. Love lambs not lamb! Full names required in future for reader comments please Rosemary, as per our long-standing comments policy: Editor

  7. Graeme M, January 20, 2016

    Good to see some exposure for the vegan/animal rights message on an industry related website. Personally I think it’s time for a real debate over this issue, rather than the often thoughtless commentary so much in evidence recently. I can think of at least one TV station that has lost me.

    I note Mr Howie’s suggestion that the “challenge now (is) to reinforce the message to consumers to buy lamb”.

    I hope that vegans and others of like mind can take up the challenge to convince consumers that they do not need to buy lamb. Killing baby animals for our entertainment simply is not necessary. Full names required in future for reader comments please Graeme, as per our long-standing comments policy: Editor

  8. Renata Halpin, January 20, 2016

    Luckily there are more and more vegans these days from exposure to inside farms and abattoirs . The public now can understand how meat, dairy and eggs get to their plate and make difference kind choices. I love how much exposure the parody gave to veganism. The MLA really helped veganism.

  9. Jayne Coates, January 20, 2016

    If humans insist on eating animals it would be good if the animals could be treated humanely, as opposed to the disgusting visions we see in slaughterhouses.

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