Meat lobbying body to sponsor LGBTQ event
Activists in Australia were left stunned and upset following the announcement by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras committee that the meat lobbying board in Australia had joined as a major sponsor.
Mardi Gras has developed into a major cultural and political behemoth over recent decades, with the 2017 event set to attract hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and their supporters across the two-week festival.
For the majority of participants, the highlight of Mardi Gras is the huge world-famous parade that sees more than 10, 000 participants rollicking along the city’s Oxford Street in a eye-dazzling show of queer culture. It is a reminder that the advances in the fight for LGBTQ rights were hard won in struggles going back decades.
Mardi Gras is a space to celebrate the community rising up against oppression and that is why the involvement of Meat and Livestock Australia is horrendous.
I can’t really say it better than the people who started a petition calling on Meat and Livestock Australia to be removed from the Mardi Gras line up, so let me use the words of Katrina Fox (author and journalist) and Janine Curll (food law and regulation PhD candidate):
We are proud, longtime members of the LGBTQ community. We love Mardi Gras and we love equality.
That’s why we are horrified at SGLMG’s new sponsorship deal with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)’s ‘We Love Our Lamb’ brand.
We believe SGLMG’s involvement with MLA goes against the progressive social values Mardi Gras espouses. MLA is a powerful lobby group that works in many forums to ensure the meat industry is minimally or relatively unregulated with respect to the diverse range of animal welfare concerns in industrialised food systems.
Over the past 5 to 10 years, the issue of animal welfare and animal rights has solidified as the campaign of the 21st century for equality and justice for all living creatures. People have woken up to the cruelty that is the Australian meat industry. The concern about ethical meat production is evident throughout the marketplace.
MLA is doing its best to delegitimise the concerns of many ethical consumers and SGLMG is supporting this work through the sponsorship deal.
For MLA to encourage the community to perform the ‘lamb dance’ – choreographed with moves named after dismembered lamb parts – and join the Parade in celebration of this cruel industry is an affront to many in 2017.
The above text has been borrowed from the petition site on which Katrina and Janine are collecting signatures to present to the Mardi Gras committee.
As Mardi Gras parade is fast approaching, I implore you to sign the petition online here immediately and share this blog post or the petition with as many people as possible.
Please also take a moment to voice your concern to the Mardi Gras committee via Facebook and Twitter. Tell them that the press release from Meat and Livestock Australia in which they state lamb is ‘the dish that brings all Australians together and celebrates inclusivity’ stands in stark contrast to the anti-oppression message of Mardi Gras. Commodifying the slaughter of sheep is not something to be celebrated at a cultural and political event that has risen from the historical hardship and destruction of LGBTQ people.
Queer liberation is not an opportunity to promote an industry that is only profitable thanks to the mistreatment and killing of millions of non-human animals.
Queer liberation should not be for sale, especially when the buyer is a corporate lobbying group whose sole purpose is to convince the public that non-human animals should be mass farmed and slaughtered in unfathomable numbers.
I grew up in Australia as a gay person and I know that Mardi Gras exists to remember those who were rejected by families, scorned by communities, experimented on by doctors, sent to prisons, excluded from mainstream constructs of happiness, beaten in the street, and murdered in their neighbourhoods and homes.
Meat and Livestock Australia. Get your bloodstained, money-hungry hands away from our celebration.
The following is the instructional video published by Meat and Livestock Australia to encourage people to learn the ‘lamb dance’. As mentioned on the petition page, each dance move is named after a ‘cut’ of lamb.