ELE­PHANT IN THE MLA ROOM

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Up­set Hin­dus have threat­ened to boycott Aus­tralian lamb world­wide if Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia con­tin­ues screen­ing its “You Never Lamb Alone” video ad­ver­tise­ment.

The con­tro­ver­sial pro­mo­tion, funded by Aus­tralian pro­duc­ers, was sup­posed to be a quirky way to ex­pound lamb as the food of the gods, with var­i­ous prophets from di­verse re­li­gions brought around a com­mon Aussie back­yard bar­be­cue.

It por­trayed di­vini­ties such as Je­sus, Scien­tol­ogy founder L. Ron Hub­bard, Mo­hammed, Thor and Zeus at the ta­ble.

But it is the in­clu­sion of the Hindu god Lord Gane­sha that has caused ire among his fol­low­ers, be­cause the de­ity does not eat meat.

The MLA lamb cam­paign was re­ferred to the Ad­ver­tis­ing Stan­dards Bureau within days of its re­lease over its lack of sen­si­tiv­ity.

MLA has de­ac­ti­vated com­ments on its YouTube post­ing of the ad, but so­cial me­dia was out­side its reach.

“Re­spect­ing oth­ers faith & cul­ture is of­ten ig­nored to cre­ate con­tro­versy and get their few min­utes of fame,” one poster com­mented on the MLA’s Face­book page.

“These things should be highly con­demned and the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble must face the full ex­tent of the com­mu­nity’s wrath. I ask my friends, let’s #Boy­cottLamb #StopBuy­ingLamb, for these ig­no­rant peo­ple to learn re­spect. Please post in your Face­book & Twit­ter with #Let­sBoy­cottLamb. Let us re­spect each other’s faith and that’s the Real Aus­tralian Way!”

“This is a dis­re­spect to Hindu re­li­gion, hurt­ing our sen­ti­ments and a sense­less cam­paign,” one Face­book user posted on the cam­paign’s page.

“Your team has got it to­tally wrong by im­ply­ing Lord Gane­sha is hav­ing lamb at din­ner ta­ble with other Gods. For your in­for­ma­tion, Hindu Gods and meat do not go to­gether.”

USA-based Uni­ver­sal So­ci­ety of Hin­duism pres­i­dent Ra­jan Zed said it was highly ir­re­spon­si­ble of MLA to con­tinue with the pro­mo­tion de­spite the clear ex­pres­sion by Hin­dus that it was very in­ap­pro­pri­ate and hurt their feel­ings.

“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,” he said.

“More­over, link­ing Lord Gane­sha with meat was very dis­re­spect­ful and highly in­ap­pro­pri­ate.”

The High Com­mis­sion of In­dia in Aus­tralia has made a de­marche to the Gov­ern­ment over the ad­ver­tise­ment, and has urged MLA to with­draw it.

It is not the first time an MLA lamb pro­mo­tion has been slammed, with its 2016 Aus­tralia Day cam­paign ac­cused of de­pict­ing racial in­sen­si­tiv­ity and vi­o­lence against ve­g­ans for dis­lik­ing meat.

See the video at: https://youtu.be/f8kuoFGg j8s

Lord Gane­sha as he ap­pears in the MLA ad­ver­tise­ment.

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