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Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu leaders unite to criticise lamb ad

Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish leaders have collaborated on what they describe as “a remarkable interfaith gesture” to urge Meat & Livestock Australia to think again on its new campaign featuring a gathering of the gods sharing a lamb feast.

Senior Greek Orthodox Christian priest Stephen R. Karcher, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, Buddhist priest Matthew T. Fisher and Jewish Rabbi ElizaBeth Webb Beyer, said the ad unnecessarily dragged religious figures together to sell Australian lamb making it disrespectful and inappropriate.

Christian priest Stephen R. Karcher, Rabbi ElizaBeth Webb Beyer, Buddhist priest Matthew T. Fisher, and Hindu statesman Rajan Zed criticised the ad

Issuing the statement from Nevada in the USA, they said: “Love, and not lamb meat, united us and brought us together. Moreover, icons of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, taken frivolously and inappropriately used.   

“Faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers.”

The ad, created by The Monkeys, features a variety gods sharing lamb in a backyard gathering. All of the major religious icons except for the prophet Mohammed are featured in the ad.

The ad triggered an immediate backlash for putting Lamb on Hindu deity Ganesha’s plate, despite believers seeing him as being a vegetarian.

Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, said the ad “seemed to make fun of Lord Ganesha”.

“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,” Zed continued.

Karcher, Zed, Fisher and Beyer has asked the Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to “act urgently” on the complaints which the board has already received.

The High Commission of India in Australia has since “made a demarche to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Communication and Arts and Department of Agriculture bringing to their notice an offensive advertisement by Meat and Livestock Australia that hurt the religious sentiments of the Indian community,” according to its release.

Zed also urged Australian authorities to impose a dine on MLA for “hurting sentiments of Hindus and other religious communities”.

The Hindu statesman has also called for the resignation of MLA Board Chair Dr. Michele Allan and MD Richard Norton.

Meanwhile, the Ad Standards Board has sided with Christians in a complaint about signage on a Wicked Campers van. The slogan read: “I believe wet dreams are hand jobs from God”.

The ASB ruled: “The Board considered that the phrase blatantly disrespects sections of the community on account of religious belief and that this did amount to vilification.

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