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India complains over advert with drinking Hindu god Lord Ganesha

12 September 2017

CSF Founder-General Secretary Joseph Dias said the latest advertising campaign by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is "bad in taste and offensive to all" and sought boycott of MLA and a ban of their products.

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.

Their main beef (mixed livestock term I know) is the depiction in the ad of the Hindu deity Ganesha, eating lamb, citing it as "ignorant and insensitive".

"We strongly urge MLA to withdraw the offensive advertisement immediately and extend an unconditional apology to not only the Hindu-Australian community but to members of all religious groups that are hurt by this nonsensical advertisement", the Hindu Council of Australia said in a statement.

The Indian High Commission in Canberra in its statement highlighted the fact that the video hurt sentiments of the Indian community.

An Australian ad campaign promoting lamb has attracted widespread criticism from the country's Hindu community, prompting officials to lodge a diplomatic protest with the government.

They urged the Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to act urgently on the various complaints it had received about the ad.

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It features religious figures sitting around a table enjoying a roast lamb lunch. Ganesha should not be used in "selling lamb meat for mercantile greed", he added.

Universal Society of Hinduism president Rajan Zed said the ad "made fun" of their god.

It said that it had undertaken extensive research and consultation when producing the advertisement, which was meant to promote inclusivity and not meant to offend. Last year, another one of its "You Never Lamb Alone" ad, which it said celebrated diversity in Australia, had received complaints that it was allegedly sexist and racist toward the white male population.

MLA spokesman Andrew Howie defended the advert, saying the various deities were depicted in "a clearly fantastic nature". We understand the advertisement has been referred to the independent Advertising Standards Board (ASB) for review.

"To this end, those religions that don't typically eat red meat are not shown consuming lamb, but they are still invited to the table".

The industry body said that it was meeting community groups to respond to their concerns.

India complains over advert with drinking Hindu god Lord Ganesha