Australia Day Lamb Ad Stirs Controversy

Annual advertisement created to drive lamb consumption in Australia sparks debate over violence.

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An advertisement from Meat & Livestock Australia hoping to influence more Australians to eat lamb in celebration of Australia Day has sparked controversy among vegans. The ad features news journalist Lee Lin Chin and revolves around the idea of using armed militiamen to bring expat Australians home for the holiday to eat lamb. The controversial portion focuses on an Australian expat who states he is now vegan, to which a militiaman responds by using a flamethrower to set what looks like a kale salad on fire. The complaints lodged about the ad center around the unnecessary use of violence to promote eating lamb. In regards to the food advertisement, Fiona Jolly from Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau said that “ads cannot contain violence unless it’s relevant to the service or the product being advertised.” If the bureau finds that the advertisement violates its ethical standards, the ad may be modified or removed altogether. The ad also shows lamb chops—the post-mortem ribs of a baby sheep—being grilled on a barbeque.