Claims by Meat and Livestock Australia that not eating meat is 'UnAustralian' are being debunked by The Alternative Meat Co [AMC].
The Australian firm, that produces plant-based proteins, has hired comedian Aaron Chen to dress as a cow and take to the streets to interview everyday Aussies about what it means to be Australian.
AMC's parody video was produced to counter MLA’s controversial TV ads, which run each year to promote lamb consumption in the run up to Australia Day celebrations at the end of January.
This year’s MLA ad is an attempt at satire, using the theme of the musical Westside Story that shows two rival factions – the extreme right and left – going head-to-head over a modern-day barbecue before ultimately showing that lamb is the one thing that brings everyone together.
‘Challenging an outdated perception’
However, a survey of 1,002 Australians carried out on behalf of AMC, found that more people are cutting down on the amount of meat they eat due to environmental, animal welfare and health reasons.
"We’re challenging an outdated perception that eating meat makes you more Australian," said Dean Epps, General Manager at Life Health Foods Australia, the creators of the AMC brand, whose Chicken Free Satay and Beef Free Ragu meat alternatives are available in Woolworths.
The controversial lamb advert
The survey findings tie in with previous research showing that 42 percent of Australians would consider an alternative to meat this Australia Day, and 54 percent of Australians already have at least one meat-free day per week
It also discovered that the number of Australians eating mostly vegetarian diets has grown by more than a third (36 percent) in three years, and that millennials are 59 percent more likely to avoid or limit meat consumption when compared to Gen X.
This is the second time AMC has hit back at MLA’s attempts to link eating meat to the national culture.
Last year the company hired celebrity vegetarian comedian and TV presenter Dave Hughes to get across the message that it’s just as Australian to 'chuck some veggies on the barbecue'.
The MLA ads deliberately court controversy (one shows a flame thrower torching a vegan’s bowl of kale while another co-opted people from a variety of marginalized communities to ‘unite’ over meat), but even meat-eaters are getting bored, with some announcing that the 'terrible' ads are making them want to turn vegan.
While AMC is doing its part to counter the propaganda spread by the animal agriculture industries, it’s important to note that Australia Day is problematic in and of itself.
This is due to the fact it’s celebrated on the day white settlers invaded the country and colonised the Indigenous people, many of whom refer to it as ‘Survival Day’ and want the celebrations to be changed to another date.