An Australian lamb advertisement has been slammed for using a vegetarian religious figure to promote meat.
The advert, which features Hindu deity Ganesha feasting on lamb at a barbecue with other gods, has been condemned by Hindu representatives as insensitive and disrespectful.
Actors playing Jesus, Moses, Zeus, Buddha, the founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard and Ganesha eat around the same table as the ad conveys its key message: “Lamb, the meat we can all eat.
The Hindu Council of Australia has called for the ad to be banned, saying it was a “crude and deplorable attempt by Meat and Livestock Australia to use images of Ganesha to promote lamb consumption”
It accused Meat and Lamb Australia (MLA), the makers of the ad, of trying to “stir the controversy”.
The Advertising Standards Board said it had received 30 complaints about the ad by Wednesday, the Guardian Australia reported.
The MLA’s Facebook page has been inundated with comments calling for the ad to be removed, while others took to Twitter to voice their criticism.
At one point in the ad, “Buddha” asks: “Should we address the elephant in the room?” to which Ganesha, who is depicted as a man with the head of an elephant and multiple arms, replies: “Not funny 2,500 years ago, not funny now”.
MLA marketing manager Andrew Howie said the advert did not intend to offend.
He said: “Lamb is the meat that brings people together. Our ‘You Never Lamb Alone’ campaigns have promoted the value of unity and inclusivity. This latest campaign instalment is no different.
“The campaign features gods, prophets and deities from across a wide range of religions alongside atheism, in a clearly fantastic nature, with the intent of being as inclusive as possible. To achieve this we undertook extensive research and consultation.
“Our intent is never to offend, but rather acknowledge that lamb is a meat consumed by a wide variety of cultures and capture how the world could look if people left their differing views at the door and came to the table with open arms, and minds.”
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