Love the Australia Day lamb add BUT

I always love the Australia Day lamb adds – yes even the Barbie one and yes this year’s is also very clever BUT i don’t think parts of it were smart use of advertising space and this has led to the joke now being on livestock agriculture

Seriously did enough thought go into the ramifications

I wont comment on whether it is a slur on indigenous people.  If it is that would just be a disgrace and unforgivable. See footnote

What I will comment on is its dig at vegans  Does animal livestock agriculture really need to open the door and the opportunity for negative press like this well argued opinion piece in the Canberra Times.

I thought the aim of this add was to sell lamb not create controversy ( but it appears its aim is to do both).  To me its the Murray Goulburn dairy add debacle all over again for the lamb industry.  What is our end game.  Yes we are selling meat but at what cost to our reputation. I thinks its time we got smart. Lets focus on the big picture and in this instance its to sell the product not give anti-livestock agriculture lobbyists oxygen

I think the joke is on us and I for one am not laughing at our foolishness


Whilst I wont comment on the concerns from indigenous people because I am too embarrassed that I needed to read this article before I considered these sensitivities I will let Luke Pearson comment and I rather like what he had to say

Australia Day is too political for it to be just a celebration, said Luke Pearson, founder of the IndigenousX Twitter account on which guest posters share their stories and opinions to increase awareness and education on Indigenous life and history.

“That Australia Day ad is funny; Australia invading all those countries … It’s so good I think we should all call it #InvasionDay instead,” he tweeted on Sunday.

“I just thought it was odd that on a day many of us call Invasion Day there’s an ad about Australia invading other countries to bring all those white guys ‘home’,” he said.

“I did notice Sam Kekovich saying he wanted to avoid politics and just celebrate a day where we can all come together as one though, and that is an awesome idea, and I’d love to have a day where we could do that to promote healing and harmony between all of the many peoples who now call these lands their home. It just can’t be on Invasion Day. It’s not a date which epitomises  ‘bringing people together’. It is a date that celebrates invasion and colonialism.” Source 



Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

21 thoughts on “Love the Australia Day lamb add BUT”

  1. As a proud Auusie Sheep Farmer…. I LOVE this years ad!!
    It has done EXACTLY what it was intended to do. Created a massive amount of discussion and free sideline advertising… To which you have just contributed I might add 😂!! Well done you!
    Long live the Aussie ratbag sense of humour

    1. Excellent Melinda like you I am proud to be part of this conversation and pleased I have started a sideline one within the ag community which was my intention.
      Some of the questions I would like to ask agriculture –
      1.In light of the fact ag hasnt traditionally being very good at engaging with its audience and we dont get to many opportunities- is this the discussion we want to be having with the people who buy what we produce?
      2. Do we want to be seen as an industry that pokes fun at people who choose not to buy what we produce
      3. Do we want to in flame our sensitive relationship with the 1st Australians
      4. Do we have to denigrate other people beliefs to sell product
      5. Would the add have successfully engaged meat lovers to choose lamb if we didnt have a dig at vegans and upset indigenous people.

      BTW have been a lamb producer myself so i have skin in the game and I personally think it was clever enough to do the job without unnecessarily pushing the wrong buttons

      1. 1. Simply yes. The majority who are ticked off with the pansy footed anti offending whiners will quite possibly go buy lamb and thoroughly enjoy it in a simple protest. Most who I have spoken to are rolling their eyes at the 300 complaints and sighing loudly
        2. It’s not just the industry poking fun… It’s a protest response to the twits holding foam lambs and spreading outrageous untruthful propaganda about our industries n a concerted effort to shut them down. Let’s not beat about the bush here… They hate and despise us, have done $&@% all to financially contribute to animal welfare whilst the whole time holding their hand out to take in donations by the fistful by way of mistruth and deception
        3. Poppycock!!!
        You are hunting for issue and suggesting trouble where there is none. Again. Political correctness and fear of offending gone unnecessarily mad
        4. Oh please…. Let’s refer to point 2 here. It is a long held “belief” that protest is a democratic right… Is it not?
        5. ABSOLUTELY!!!

      2. Sigh
        I believe this ad would have ABSOLUTELY engaged even without whatever has been cried over as offensive.

      3. Me too its brilliant just leave out the vegans and add a diversity of cultures we are bringing home and we would have nailed it
        After all the Richie Benaud add last year Won Add of the Year

    2. No. The ad stands perfect as it is. Your point of parading politically correct is lost on me. I nearly answered your direct question. Meat eaters will be meat eaters regardless of anyone else’s opinion. The ad as it stands has also been an outstanding success.
      I find the industrial flame grilled kale hilarious and it’s context perfect.
      The reference to the operation is a perfectly Australian, and in my mind, inclusion of our indigenous heritage.
      No. Don’t go flying your banner of victory about and jumping the gun early

      1. Please be assured the only flag I want to put up is a victory for animal agriculture.
        My blog offers agriculture an opportunity to have a voice and I welcome the debate and have no problem if you disagree with me. I am confident you will agree its very important that we be equally respectful of each other’s opinion

  2. I did find it unsettling when they called it “operation boomerang”. Knowing Australia day is a day of mourning for First Nations people and then for MLA to include their culture to promote that day as celebration. Not on.

    1. I agree Danila I was so concerned about agriculture pressing the buttons of vegans I completely overlooked how sensitive Australia Day is to 1st Australians and I am so embarrassed and so grateful for my indigenous friends for putting this into perspective
      Good grief – Can we believe it people get all excited about 1st world problems like putting a blow torch to Kale and think that’s more important than the impact of 26th January 1788 on the people who already lived here I so hope I will never make that mistake again

  3. Lynne, I ran into your blog following a link from elsewhere, and while I feel no particular sympathy with your views not being a farmer, I did note your observation about the article in the Canberra Times.

    I thought Jordan made some very good points, but he was talking from a specifically vegan perspective which is far broader than the simple question of eating lambs. So let’s just address eating meat.

    I don’t understand the vehemence with which vegans and vegetarians are met when they simply seek a kinder world.

    Here’s my 2c worth, what are your thoughts on this.

    People in our food industry are not supplying much needed food for a starving nation. By and large, they are sevicing an entertainment industry. Pretty much no-one in Australia HAS to eat meat. Of course there are some benefits to meat, but none that cannot be equally obtained through a plant based diet. It just takes more effort. If our industry and technology put the same effort into delivering a plant based diet to everyone, people would be quite able to get nutrition and sustenance without having to eat meat.

    On this basis, most of the meat consumption in Australia is for entertainment – endless restaurants, fast food chains, family barbies, you name it. There is a HUGE over-consumption of animal product in this country. This is not natural at all. The industry has to farm huge numbers of animals to feed this entertainment. More and more this requires intensive farming operations to sustain it. And here we have an advert encouraging people to do more, to eat more animals. That’s because the bottom line of course, is profit. Not health. Or nutrition.

    Animals, especially cows, sheep, pigs and so on, are conscious experiencing beings. I know that seems to be worthy of derision with many people, but it’s true none the less.

    If no-one NEEDS to eat meat, and it’s an entertainment, and it requires great harm to conscious animals, why should we do it?

    1. Hi Graeme
      You have asked a question that is very close to my heart and my area of expertise and that is “If no-one NEEDS to eat meat, and it’s an entertainment, and it requires great harm to conscious animals, why should we do it?”
      Firstly, let me agree with you on your point ‘I don’t understand the vehemence with which vegans and vegetarians are met when they simply seek a kinder world.” With regard to the former I totally agree – People who don’t eat meat have every right to not eat meat and should be able to do so without being attacked for their choices. With regards to the latter – whether this will lead to a kinder world I don’t know.
      To me not eating meat would necessitate we release all the domestic animals into the big wide and sometimes nasty world. This means they will compete with humans for food and this could hypothetically even mean carnivores like pigs might see humans ( or each other) as fair game. No-one wants this scenario.
      Now to the question I do have expertise on and can talk beyond the hypothetical. Less than 6% of our wonderful country is suitable for growing fruit and vegetables and the science and research tells us we can’t provide food security for everyone in this country on a vegan diet alone
      Hence animal agriculture in this country plays a very important role not only in helping feed us but also providing important ecosystems services
      In saying that it is recognised 1st world meat eaters should see meat as part of a balanced diet and I am surprised just how much of my diet is protein
      Coming from a long line of livestock farmers ensuring we provide the best whole of life experience for our animals should be at the heart of every livestock farmer’s ethos
      To achieve this, I would like non farmers and farmers to work closer together to get the best outcomes for our wonderful Australian landscape, the animals that support our well-being and the farmers who find themselves in middle of the increasingly difficult debate on how we get the balance that meets everyone’s values
      I have learnt a lot today and have been reminded that whilst people living in 1st world countries have choices sadly many living in developing countries don’t and whilst we can all afford (and should) eat more vegetables people in developing countries more often than not don’t have this luxury and their ability to eat meat means the difference between life and death.
      We all could be kinder to each other, spend more time appreciating others point of view and in this case agriculture could think a lot harder about our endgame and the people who may find an add like this offensive
      From an agriculture perspective my opinion is we should be able to promote meat without offending vegans and first Australians

      Love your feedback

      1. Hello again Lynne,

        Thanks for your thoughtful and courteous reply. I don’t want to make this into one of those drawn out discussions or arguments, so I will offer just a couple of thoughts in reply. And what I say may be somewhat emotive, but it is an emotive subject to some of us.

        I wouldn’t imagine that we will any day soon just release all our our domesticated animals. But that would be no reason not to stop eating meat. What could happen is that we slowly scale back as more and more people reduce or stop their meat intake. In fact, it would be overall far less harmful in the longer run if we slaughtered every living food animal right now and then just stopped. Thats hyerbole of course, but you can see what I mean. We would be in no danger of a world full of domestic sheep and cattle roaming the country taking our food. I know we won’t do this, I’m just saying that it is theoretically possible.

        I certainly can’t talk about the degree to which Australia can grow enough vegetable product to feed us all, but I’d venture that we seem to be able to grow or produce enough food to feed the 20 or 30 million livestock we slaughter every year AS WELL AS feed the 20 million or so humans with all sorts of other non-animal based foods. Plus I suggest that if we dedicated our technology and science to developing a range of high nutrient foods we may be able to do it with less land than we currently do. As far as I know, which isn’t much admittedly, we are constantly finding ways to improve agri practices and crop yields etc.

        While I agree that vegetarianism or the like might not be feasible just now in many countries, that hardly means we should not strive to do so in our country. We slaughter some 5 million pigs every year, most of whom are farmed intensively with all the cruelty that entails. We slaughter some 15-20 million lambs (babies for Heavens sake) every year, again less than nicely. Then there’s chickens, ducks and turkeys.

        As I said, the real nub of the issue is that farmers aren’t doing it for anyone’s benefit but their own. You all make money, and a livelihood, out of encouraging people to eat meat. And the industry, as exemplified by this advert, doesn’t encourage us to take a thoughtful, moderate approach to consuming animals. No, it encourages us to eat more. And more. And production practices become less savoury to keep up with demand. Because it makes money.

        At the very least, if meat is so critical to modern Western people, let’s only eat – an in moderation – humanely raised beef cattle and sheep who have had some quality of life. Why eat lambs? Why intensively farm and harm pigs?

        The answer is that we do it for a taste. For an experience. For fun.

        As a society, we cause enormous suffering for money and fun. Not my idea of noble, or civilised.

        I can’t help but feel it’s the vegans’ philosophy that is worthy, not everyone else’s shallow self-interested one.

      2. Hi Graeme

        Yes you are right its a very emotive issue and we could debate it until the cows come home (or not as may be the case). At this stage I think we have both put forward a balanced point of view based on our own perspectives and world views
        Just clarifying one thing – when I say livestock in this country play a valuable role through eco-systems services. This is because they eat what we cant and that’s grass and similar forages. The majority of cattle and sheep for example in this country eat a diet of pasture or shrub species and less than 2% go into feed lots. Animals in feedlots eat grains not suitable for human use.

        I eat meat because I like it and I respect the animals who gave their life so I can indulge my taste buds. I eat a lot less meat than I used too and definitely try to eat more veggies. From talking to farmers I know they would love to provide quality in preference to quantity so lets all work together to help them do that

  4. I’ve been reading through your blog, Lynne, and some great and interesting posts. Some I admit to finding rather too far from my own perspective to have any resonance, but all very insightful. Well done indeed.

    Now, I wasn’t going to go any further with this debate and I completely understand if you don’t publish this further comment. But I have to ask you about something you said in your last reply that’s been nagging at me.

    You say:

    “From talking to farmers I know they would love to provide quality in preference to quantity so lets all work together to help them do that.”

    Can you explain, as a farmer, what you mean by that? How can we all work together on that? That seems to be my whole point, and one that so many of the people dissatisfied with the lamb ad would agree with.

    Everything about our food industry appears to be geared to an unnatural focus on exactly the opposite – quantity over quality. Something like 94% of the 5 million pigs slaughtered annually are intensively farmed. We slaughter around 15-20 million lambs a year – how much quality, realistically, goes into their care as they are taken through the supply chain to consumer’s plate? What about the utterly awful scale of chicken farming these days? I do believe that worldwide chickens are the single highest subject of consumption, around 60 billion a year!!! KFC and such like are I imagine major contributors to this scale of demand.

    That lamb advert as I said exists purely to increase consumption. As profit margins shrink, producers are forced into practices less about quality and more about quantity and this isn’t helped by the increasing presence of large company interests that drive increasing investment in high volume production processes.

    People like me protest that this is not what we should be doing. If then you suggest that farmers want more quality, less quantity, then surely you should actually be working against increasing consumption beyond our capacity to manage it humanely? Or did you mean quality more in terms of the state of the meat itself, rather than the life of the animal?

    1. Hi Graeme
      I have no problem at all in continuing this conversation. I think your questions are very reasonable and well considered.

      Lets leave the Lamb add out of this conversation going forward if you don’t mind – the court of public opinion will decide that one and I look forward to its feed back. I personally hope we rethink the value in using controversy to sell product

      Looking firstly at your question about quality and quantity
      I would think anybody who produces a product no matter what it is would prefer to produce a quality product in preference to quantity of product. It’s as simple as wanting to be proud of what you do
      In the world of agriculture quality and animal care should go hand in hand. Just like you can’t succeed as an elite athlete unless you take good care of yourself physically and mentally
      There are lots of things that are good about our food system, some not so good things and equally there are lots of things farmers would like to see improve
      Secondly by working together- I mean farmers cannot do it alone
      I think the first step for all of us is to put a real value on food. In first world countries we have come to view food at rock bottom prices as a birth right
      I think it’s also very important to understand and appreciate the challenges farmers face to deliver this expectation
      And then there is the inconceivable that 800 million people are starving yet 30% of global food production is either wasted or lost between the field and the fork
      These are wicked complex problems that won’t be solved by demonising livestock agriculture
      Farmers too must recognise the environment in which we farm is changing and we have to change too
      The solutions lie in working side by side, valuing each other’s opinions, being realistic, finding common ground and building the bright future we all deserve (animals and the planet included) from there

  5. Thanks Lynne. I appreciate your comments but I am not sure you quite tackled just what I am getting at. Perhaps debate around animal welfare and farming practices simply can’t be had as to some extent they are mutually exclusive.

    Something you seem not to address is the extent to which farming in Australia is NOT aimed at feeding the essential requirements for nutrition. I don’t think that anyone could argue that the food industry is about survival. No, it’s a commercial enterprise the objective of which is to meet a consumer demand for pleasure and entertainment while ensuring and increasing profit margins for producers, just as it is with any consumer product.

    Now as far as I can see, the industry actively seeks to increase consumption, reduce costs, and maximise production to suit because the driver is profit, not the health of consumers or the experience of animals.

    What I am not hearing in your argument is exactly how one can ensure a quality product when every possible factor mitigates against quality, where quality includes any kind of whole of life concern for the animals involved. I gave examples (and statistics) of what is happening as we see increasingly significant large-scale business interests dominating the agricultural sector.

    Maybe I am wrong, but can you really hand on heart claim that intensive pig farming, factory farming of chickens, ducks and turkeys, and high rate slaughterhouse processes are in any way compatible with care and compassion in animal treatment? Are all those videos I see of mistreatment in countless pig farms, the awful last moments of pigs about to be gassed, lambs being slaughtered without adequate stunning, or the cruel and rough treatment of animals at slaughterhouses simply figments of my imagination?

    You say “In the world of agriculture quality and animal care should go hand in hand.”
    Well, OK, but what does this really mean? ‘Should’ is all very well, but what really happens when so much of the production of food is highly intensive to meet a burgeoning demand?

    You also say “I think the first step for all of us is to put a real value on food. In first world countries we have come to view food at rock bottom prices as a birth right”

    What can you mean by this? The industry (from producer to retailer) has pushed us all to view meat as a commodity rather than an essential and seeks to distance us from the cost in terms of the life given to produce it. It does everything it can to take respect out of the equation. Just have a look at the Lambassador Sam Kekovich and his remarks. Respect? Not that I could see.

    And as a competitive commercial enterprise, the industry itself is captive to commercial pressures. Rock bottom prices are an outcome of Western economic practices and part of a cycle that shows no signs of changing. Precisely because the industry has made meat into a product that has to compete in the marketplace.

    Any suggestion that we will change our ways tomorrow and value food as something other than an entertainment product, and be willing to pay more to ensure the highest quality of care in its production, is simply fanciful thinking. The meat and livestock industry is ferociously pushing us to do exactly the opposite to what you are proposing.

    As I said, folk like me who promote respect for other life by not turning it into a product for mass consumption, who argue for abstinence from eating meat because we simply cannot produce meat at modern scales in a compassionate way, and who encourage a healthy, balanced approach to eating, are more aligned with your ideas than your own industry.

    Put rather more simply, how can you say what you do when the industry does all it can to:
    reduce animals to product
    artificially stimulate consumption
    increasingly invest in intensive farming practices
    actively marginalise people who care about animal welfare

    1. Hi Graeme
      I don’t have all the answers but I do wake up every day to be a better person than I was the day before. 93% of the food we eat is grown in Australia so the future of Australian farming matters to all of us and if there is going to be farming in this country we have to figure out how to find common ground and work together
      I am up for it if you are

  6. I’d be up for it if we began treating animals less as product and more as living breathing beings that think, feel and suffer. You said earlier that we can’t grow enough plant based food to feed us all. Is that really true?

    Surely with all the money, technology, brilliant scientific minds and hardworking, big hearted country folk we could transform the entire food and agricultural landscape into one that meets all our needs – food, nutrition, pleasure, entertainment, profit, livelihoods, all without harm and cruelty?

    Imagine a world wherein we had farmers producing a range of vegetable, grain and fruit based products to feed Australians with a healthy, varied diet. One in which no animal has to suffer for us to spend our evenings at restaurants with friends and family. One where television chefs prepare meals of wonderful diversity and taste, all using non-animal based products.

    Imagine a world in which people who eat sparingly and thoughtfully aren’t abused and put down by overweight television personalities who would rather we increased the rate at which we kill young animals because that’s the Australian way. A world in which my local Maccas isn’t surrounded by paper and litter and the tables aren’t covered in half eaten burgers and left over nuggets, lives given for which scant regard is paid.

    I know I’m just whistling into the wind and it won’t ever happen. I have spent the past several days arguing with people all over the place about exactly this and it saddens me just how incredibly angry and vitriolic people get when you suggest maybe they could tone down their meat consumption. The industry has done its work well.

    Donald Watson, the first vegan, died in 2005 at the age of 95. He lived a long and full life and never sought any special recognition for what he started. As far as I know, he was pretty healthy too. It is quite possible to live a rewarding and healthy life without unnecessarily taking another’s life.

    I don’t know much about the modern farmer’s story, but I have family and friends who owned and ran dairy, sugar cane and beef cattle farms. I’ve eaten cream straight off the separator, knocked back a hearty meal of fresh killed meat, collected eggs and seen death up close. I’ve walked all over a farm, felt the sun and wind in my face and been part of the extended family that is the country way of life. I’ve ridden my dirtbike outback and slept at night under the stars and marvelled at the sweep of endless plain and cobalt sky.

    I don’t want to see our rural sector decimated, or farmers suffering and unable to make a living and I sure don’t want to force them off the land and into the cities. But just as much, I don’t want to see the fear in a lamb’s eyes, or the anguished panic of a pig being gassed, or millions of chickens being dunked in an electric bath, just so modern humans can make other life into a commodity for our fun.

    Thanks for the conversation Lynne. I’ll keep working to change the world, one person at a time. I wish you well with your own endeavours. I can only ask that you do what you can to help make our food’s lives less trivial.

    If you are interested, you can follow my own occasional blog, Sparkling Whines, at

    1. Hi Graeme

      I can understand your passion and I respect it. The world needs people who stand up for what they believe in
      I am equally passionate about what I see as injustices by humans towards humans. I cringe when I see TV footage of women being sexually assaulted and threatened in Copenhagen at New Year, in fact not a day goes by when I am not being bombarded with footage of some sort of social or physical or emotional injustice reminding us just how horrible we can all be to each other.
      Like you I am aware there is some horrible animal welfare video footage in the media – in fact if I am aware I might be exposed to it I don’t turn the TV on and I dont seek it out on YouTube

      What I can assure you is, my experience has shown me the majority of farmers who raise livestock to provide healthy and safe and affordable food for people who eat meat do care for their animals. These farmers know that farming is a responsibly not a right and part of our responsibility is to be aware of the community’s values and do everything that is realistically possible to meet or exceed those expectations whether they be animal welfare, environmental stewardship or the right of every person to have reliable access to safe affordable and healthy food whether that be from plant or animal sources.

      I have looked at your blog – I always try to learn as much as I can about the people who comment on my blog and if they are like you and also have a blog I will always read some of their posts to get a sense of who the person is and their beliefs and what drives them to blog

      Your blog is well written and well though out and I enjoyed reading it

      thank you for sharing your opinions and thank you for reading mine

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