The High Commission of India in Canberra has 'taken note' of the protests of the Indian community in Australia, and has made an appeal to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Communication and Arts and Department of Agriculture about the advertisement of Meat and Livestock Australia featuring Lord Ganesha.
A press release issued by the Commission states:
In a video advertisement released by Meat and Livestock Australia recently, Lord Ganesha along with other religious figures is found to be ‘toasting lamb’, which the Indian community consider to be offensive and hurting their religious sentiments. The Consulate General of India in Sydney has taken up the matter directly with Meat and Livestock Australia and urged them to withdraw the advertisement. A number of Community Associations have also registered their protest with Government of Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia.
US-based Hindu leader, Rajan Zed, welcomed this initiative and has urged the Australian authorities to impose a fine on Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) for hurting the sentiments of Hindus and other religious communities; besides asking MLA to immediately withdraw the ad.
YouTube has taken off the full version of the film for Indian consumers and an error message which reads 'This content is not available on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government' appears. A shorter 30-second version of the film, which also features Lord Ganesha is still available though. The film can be accessed on the brand's Facebook page.*
Zed pointed out that the film made fun of Lord Ganesha and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling lamb meat. He claimed that Senior Greek Orthodox Christian Priest Stephen R. Karcher, Buddhist Priest Matthew T. Fisher and ElizaBeth Webb Buyer, a Jewish Rabbi in Nevada-California also denounced lamb marketing using religious figures. The claim is that the trio believe that the film trivialised various religious figures and also urged the withdrawal of the ad.
* Update, 24 November 2017: Australia's Advertising Standards Board has now banned the Meat and Livestock Australia ad. We have replaced the now-deleted YouTube version with a copy we saved above.