PUBLISHED ON: 12 March 2012
You've probably seen MLA's work, even if you don't know who they are. Remember Sam Neil prancing around with a (largely herbivorous) orangutan trying to get us to eat meat? Or hefty Sam Kekovich — asking us all to sacrifice a lamb on Australia Day? MLA (or 'Meat & Livestock Australia') is the red meat industry's marketing muscle.
They have also been busy defending and supporting the live export trade.
Many people don't know that MLA receives levy money from the sale of all sheep, cattle and goats. Sadly, MLA's multi-million dollar budget has failed to protect exported animals from the most extreme suffering, as evidenced by Animals Australia's most recent live export investigation. On the contrary — a significant part of MLA's live export budget has gone directly to facilitating, promoting, defending and expanding the cruel live trade.
In the last financial year alone, MLA spent over $1,000,000 on marketing initiatives to try to get us all to 'like' live animal exports . Some of this money went into pumping out dozens of feel-good YouTube videos, and the upkeep of a now-defunct propaganda website called 'Live Export Care' .
But that's not all.
We have also discovered that some of that money went to purchasing web domains, including: 'AnimalsAustralia.com.au', 'AnimalsAustralia.net.au', 'AnimalsAustralia.info' and 'AnimalsAustralia.net'. Why would they do that you might ask? Do they admire our work? Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery after all! Or were there other sneaky reasons at play? We don't know — but we do know that buying up domain names is a strategy used by some companies in an attempt to undermine their competitors or those they consider to be 'threats'. After all, this tactic has been used to:
- misdirect people who are actually looking for one's competitor and accidentally type in the wrong domain 
- unscrupulously boost one's own web traffic 
- create a fake website that fraudulently poses as something its not 
- hold one's competitor to ransom by offering to sell domains back to them at an exorbitant price 
Because we are still patiently waiting to see what MLA will publish to their new 'Animals Australia' websites, we can't be sure what their intention was. Maybe it was virtuous — perhaps MLA has turned over a new leaf and is secretly planning a merger with Animals Australia! Whatever they were thinking — the wait is almost unbearable. And theories abound in the Animals Australia office.
To put this mystery to rest, we're asking for your help: what do you think MLA plans to do with their four new 'Animals Australia' websites? Comment below. The most creative answer will win a copy of Jonathan Safran Foer's best-selling book Eating Animals and a fair-dinkum Animals Australia (.org) t-shirt!
Contest closes midnight on March 31st. Click here for contest rules.
And the winner is ...
Ray — who appealed to our good nature by giving MLA the benefit of the doubt and reminding us that we all make mistakes. Ray points out that accidentally buying up 'Animals Australia' domains could happen as innocently as accidentally wearing your pants on your head, or going to the shops to buy apples and coming home with a new car... We've all been there. Right? Okay, perhaps not. But the folk at MLA have understandably been a little stressed out lately trying to combat Animals Australia's campaign to end live exports, while trying to defend the indefensible. After all, one has to be crazy to think live export isn't cruel. Well done Ray, you've won a copy of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and a ridgy didge Animals Australia T-shirt for your troubles!