Lee lin chin

Why I actually AGREE with the Australia Day Lamb Ad

So it appears there has been some controversy surrounding the Australia Day Lamb ad which features a special ops style mission headed by Lee Lin Chin who’s job it is to bring home Aussies from overseas so that they can enjoy some lamb on Australia Day.

Now I really enjoyed this ad, for reasons I will get into later, but first, let us discuss why it hasn’t been so popular.

Now, there are two reasons why there is controversy surrounding this ad. The first: the mission’s name to bring home the Aussies from overseas was called “operation boomerang”. This has been seen as insensitive to the Indigenous community because the date of Australia Day is the day that the English invaded Australia, and took the land from them. Many indigenous people choose not to celebrate Australia Day for this very reason.

However, as I am not an Indigenous Australian, I shall not delve into this issue any further. As it is not a culture I am a part of, it is not my place to say what is or isn’t offensive to that culture.

The other part of the ad that  caused offense is when the special ops team head to Brooklyn to pick up a bearded hipster and take him home, saying: “come on mate, in a few hours, you’ll be eating lamb on the beach!”, to which he replies, “but I’m a vegan now!”. This is met by a look of horror from the special ops guy. You then hear a voiceover of “ABORT! GET HIM OUT OF THERE!”

For some reason they blowtorch a bowl of kale sitting on his coffee table, and we go back to Lee Lin Chin, who mutters “vegans…” to herself.

That 10 or so second piece of footage has potentially caused more outrage than the cultural insensitivity.

The main complaints have been that it is insensitive to vegans and is promoting violence. I would disagree.

Veganism is a lifestyle choice, plain and simple, and as many benefits as it has, I doubt I will ever subscribe to it. Not because I don’t like animals, I love animals. As I type, my very spoilt cat is sleeping in a very spoilt heap on my bed. But I am a farmer’s daughter. Meat has always been a part of my diet, and supporting the meat industry is always something I will do. In this country,  we have an incredible amount of checks and balances in place that make sure that animals being bred for the meat industry are being given the best life possible, and the most humane death possible. And those that don’t adhere to the checks and balances can go to jail.

And if we are really looking at what this ad is about, it is about supporting the meat industry, and coming together on our day of national celebration. And that is something I can and will support.

Our meat industry and our agricultural industry is something that needs to be protected. It is a huge and vital part of our economy and when we neglect it, it is the farmers and their families who suffer.

Right now there are drought suffering farmers whose cattle are dying of starvation because they have no water, no money, and no food for their stock. The government does little to nothing to help them and makes accessing drought relief almost impossible. If we look at this, what happens when we neglect our agricultural industry, this is what happens. Animals are dying a much more painful and inhumane death, dying from starvation or from dehydration, or farmers having to go and put a bullet in the head of their valuable stock rather than watch them die in agony.

Every day farmers commit suicide at a rate double the national average rather than face the reality of how much their families and stock are suffering from lack of support, or are too ashamed by the prospect of losing a seventh generation farm to the bank because they’re so far in debt that they’re about to get everything taken away.

This is the harsh reality of what happens when we don’t support our farmers and our agricultural industry, which is really all this ad was trying to do if you look at it.

Operation boomerang? Possibly the wrong move. It’s not my place to comment. Setting fire to a bowl of kale in the vegan hipster’s house? Hey probably not the best move. Maybe re-edit the ad.

But should we ban it? Like people are howling for? No. In my opinion no.

Support an industry that is the backbone of this country. There are much more important things to be offended by.


Industry Animal Welfare Standards: http://www.amic.org.au/sitemedia/w3svc116/uploads/documents/industry%20animal%20welfare%20standards.pdf

Farmers’ suicide rates double national average (ABC article): http://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-08-19/farmers-suicide-rates-double-national-average-study/482170

Note: this article is an opinion piece, and the opinions expressed in this article are of the author’s and are not reflective of The Tertangala