Lonely Planet Writer

Strewth! Australia Day meat barbecue upsets vegans

An Australian ad promoting eating lamb meat has annoyed vegans. The ad by Meat and Livestock Australia, shows SWAT teams saving “stranded Aussies” abroad from missing a delicious barbecue on Australia Day, the country’s national day, which falls on 26 January.

Labelled 'Brooklyn' this Aussie expat says he's vegan to the SWAT team's dismay
Labelled ‘Brooklyn’ this Aussie expat says he’s vegan to the SWAT team’s dismay Image by Screengrab from Youtube

One segment of the ad in particular shows a SWAT team knocking down the door of man living in New York. One of the officers says, “C’mon mate, in a few hours you’ll be eating lamb on the beach.” The bearded man looks stunned and replies, “But I’m a vegan now…” An officer with a flame-thrower is later seen setting fire to the vegan’s bowl of kale.

The ad has so far accrued 250 complaints with the Advertising Standards Bureau. Other complaints referred to the discriminatory nature of the ad towards indigenous people, since it depicted the national day as a celebration.  People have also complained about the name of the campaign, Operation Boomerang, as ‘boomerang’ is an indigenous word.

Australia Day celebrates the arrival of Euopeans in Australia, but it is a national day of mourning among Australia’s indigenous people who were effectively ‘wiped’ out by their arrival.

Fire-thrower aimed at kale
Fire-thrower aimed at kale Image by Screengrab from Youtube

Meat and Livestock Australia issued a statement saying that the ad was supposed to be “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,” Andrew Howie, marketing director for MLA, said in a statement. “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.”

See the video  here.

Read more:

Australia’s best summer festivals

Food touring in Australia’s Newcastle