The commercial portrays the Hindu god Ganesha sharing a meal of lamb with figures from several other religions.
“As a brand that has an essence around unity and prides itself on bringing people together, the intent was to show that regardless of whether you do or don’t eat our product, if we put aside our differences, there’s no reason why as people we can’t sit down and share a meal together”, he told Nine.com.au.
The Indian high commission in Canberra said it had taken the issue up with the Australian government.
The Indian government has made an official diplomatic complaint about an Australian TV advertising campaign for lamb which features the Hindi deity Ganesha eating the meat.
Besides Zed; Senior Greek Orthodox Christian Priest Stephen R. Karcher, Buddhist Priest Matthew T. Fisher and well-known Jewish Rabbi in Nevada-California ElizaBeth Webb Beyer; also denounced lamb marketing using religious figures, which they said trivialized various religious figures; and urging withdrawal of the video ad.
Michele Allan and Managing Director Richard Norton should resign for apparently working against the interests of the organization by upsetting consumers instead of charming them.
“A number of community associations have also registered their protest with (the) government of Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia”.
Ganesha, the Hindu god, is depicted consuming lamb, even though he is considered a vegetarian by followers of the religion.
The High Commission has lodged protests with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Communication and Arts and the Department of Agriculture. Moreover, linking Lord Ganesha with meat was very disrespectful and highly inappropriate, Zed added.
The Indian consulate in Sydney has also made a direct appeal to Meat and Livestock Australia to withdraw the commercial, according to the statement.
MLA spokesman Andrew Howie said the ad came about after “extensive research and consultation” with diverse cultural groups.
“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. 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.