In the News:
Butcher's cha-cha stirs up Hare Krishnas

by Sheree Went
Posted March 1, 2003

An Aussie TV ad showing a bunch of butchers spruiking red meat and dancing and chanting Hare Krishna-style has caused controversy on both sides of the Tasman. The Meat and Livestock Australia ad depicts the butchers dancing up a busy street, clanging knives and mallets and handing out meat recipe cards to passers-by.The advertisement ends to the tune of 70s T-Rex hit "I Love to Boogie".

The ad went to air in Australia last year and drew complaints from Hare Krishnas, Hindus, vegetarians and meat-eaters, claiming it alienated sections of the community.

The complaints were thrown out last March by the Advertising Standards Board, which found "most people would regard the advertisement as humorous". But now the ad has screened in New Zealand and has been causing controversy since the NZ Beef and Lamb Board put it to air two nights ago.

Kiwi devotees of the Krishna faith complain the ad mocks their expression through dancing and chanting. They said it adds insult to injury because the ad connects them with eating meat - an act they are strictly opposed to.

The New Zealand Advertising Complaints Board said several complaints - not all from Hare Krishnas - had been received and that they would be considered in the coming months.

Jivananda Das, the vice president of Sydney's Hare Krishna Temple, said while his group had not complained about the ad, many had been offended. "We are completely opposed to killing so it is not very appropriate that they would mock us in the street to promote their own industry," he said. But the ad had served a dual purpose in that it gave the faith some free publicity, he said.

"Our business is to engage people in spiritual life in some way or another and even though these butchers are taking the mickey out of us a bit they are indirectly chanting within their heads," he said.

"But obviously it is offensive to the Supreme Lord Krishna."

A Meat and Livestock Australia spokeswoman said the ad was not made with the intention of upsetting Hare Krishnas, but the theme was chosen because it people were familiar with it.

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