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India protests over Australian ad showing Lord Ganesha 'toasting' lamb

September 11, 2017

India has registered an official complaint with the Australian government over a local advertisement that features the Hindu god Ganesha and other religious icons endorsing lamb.

In the TV commercial from industry group Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), a number of religious figures, including Lord Ganesha, Jesus, Buddha and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, are seen sitting down together for a lamb-based meal and raising a glass to the meat.

The appearance of Lord Ganesha, who is considered to be vegetarian, was met with anger in Australia's Indian community.

The Indian high commission in Canberra said it had taken the issue up with the Australian government.

“Lord Ganesha along with other religious figures is found to be 'toasting lamb', which the Indian community considers to be offensive and hurting its religious sentiments,” the commission said in a statement on Saturday.

The Indian consulate in Sydney has also made a direct appeal to Meat and Livestock Australia to withdraw the commercial, according to the statement.

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

It said that it had undertaken extensive research and consultation when producing the advertisement, which was intended to promote inclusivity and not intended to offend.

According to BBC, the MLA released a statement saying, "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. 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.”