An advertisement depicting a vegetarian, teetotal Hindu god sitting down for a lamb lunch with Jesus and other deities has sparked everything from religious outrage to hilarity.
Meat & Livestock Australia is at the centre of a storm about its ad, which promotes lamb as ‘the meat we can all eat’.
Hindus have expressed deep offence that one of their most important gods, the elephant-headed Ganesha, has been depicted with lamb on his plate.
The ad does not show Ganesha eating meat, nor drinking a drop of the nice red wine that Jesus, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and others are enjoying.
But if you super-size the clip, the telltale bones of a lamb cutlet are there on Ganesha’s plate.
The Indian Society of Western Australia has called the ad ‘‘extremely insensitive’’, and has demanded the MLA apologise and pull the ad.
It has also sparked an outpouring of similar comments on a Facebook page the MLA is using to promote its lamb campaign.
‘‘Buddha & Ganesha are vegetarians ... culturally insensitive advertisement ridiculous,’’ posted one user, Vrinda Vrinda.
Rahul Damania said: ‘‘Hindu religion is about love (for) everything which is living on earth ... so we love lamb (sic) as a pet not as curry. I pray to god that you will get some sense.’’
But others have backed MLA, who says it never intended to cause offence, praising it for producing an ad with a message of unification and harmony regardless of religion.
‘‘Here is an interesting thought. ALL religions are sitting around the table. No bickering or fighting. Wouldn’t that be a nice world to live in?’’ posted Warren McArdle.
Warren Brickett said it was ‘‘nice to see most human beliefs sitting together and sharing a meal’’ but questioned the suggestion that Ganesha and Buddha might eat lamb.
MLA defended its ad as inclusive and the result of 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,’’ MLA group marketing manager Andrew Howie said.