In Adelaide, South Australia, complaints were filed with the Australian Advertising Standards Authority against Valley Butchers for putting up a sign that read “non halal certified.” The sign was surrounded by stickers of kangaroos and emus, the Australian national emblems.
According to Valley Butchers, the sign was put up to answer a frequently asked question about where they sourced their meat. According to SBS News Australia, the response from the store stated; “The sign is only stating that we are not halal approved. In no way is it meant in a malice way. We were getting asked quite frequently whether we are halal approved so I am just stating that we are not and that saves a lot of wasted time.”
However, complainants did not see it the same way. The complaint lodged with the Ad Standards stated that the sign “perpetuate[s] a culture of vilification towards religious minorities, that results in harm towards them…. It pokes fun of a specific group of people based on religious belief.”
The board agreed with the complainants and stated that the signage amounted to “inciting hatred or contempt” against Muslims.
The board stated, “Using the phrase ‘non-Halal certified’ in conjunction with imagery of Australian animals was a suggestion that Islamic dietary practices are not Australian.”
In response to the outrage, Valley Butchers changed the sign to “not halal certified.” The store maintained that no other changes would be made to the sign.
Valley Butchers posted on social media: “Firstly we at Valley Butchers would like to thank everyone for the support and encouragement, it’s been amazing! It’s wonderful how loud as Australians wherever we are around the world our voices can be heard, as long as we speak as one. Secondly as long as we own the shop the sign won’t ever come down! Thank you once again from the team at Valley Butchers!”
However, the board still maintained that the new sign gave the impression that a certain ethnicity or religion was not welcome in the store. They threatened the store with legal action to ensure that the store enforced the required changes.
Additionally, the store faces prosecution for the use of the Australian emu and kangaroo stickers.