Australia Day lamb campaign offends vegans

(Youtube)
(Youtube)

An advertising campaign designed to promote Australian lamb has upset vegans, who are calling it "discriminatory".

The action movie style advert was released on Saturday and shows a SWAT team saving stranded Australians around the world missing the famous Australia Day barbeque.

More than 250 complaints have been made to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) – mainly from vegans, the BBC reports.

In one scene, a SWAT team smashes into the home of a man in New York saying: "C'mon mate, in a few hours you'll be eating lamb on the beach", to which the bearded man responds: "But I'm a vegan now".

The ad then cuts to a shot of a flamethrower-wielding SWAT officer burning a bowl of kale on the table.

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) told the BBC the ad was "tongue-in-cheek".

"Consumers are free to make up their own minds in relation to lifestyle choices, including what they eat. We appreciate that not all Australians eat lamb," group marketing manager for MLA Andrew Howie said in a statement.

Along with complaints from non-meat eating folk, the ASB said there were also complaints of violence, and discrimination against Indigenous Australians.

The campaign has also been accused of cultural insensitivity for using the slogan "Operation Boomerang" - an indigenous term.

"MLA is also aware of some complaints about the use of the word 'boomerang' in the advertisement. It is not our intention to cause any offense through the use of this term which is used to symbolise Australians returning home for Australia Day," Mr Howie says.

The national day is meant to commemorate the arrival of the first Europeans in the country but is seen by many indigenous Australians as a day of mourning.

Extracts of the complaints will be published on the ASB website after its next board meeting in about two weeks' time, a spokesperson said.

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