Hare Krishna devotees want a television commercial that shows butchers mimicking their street chant withdrawn from viewing.

The vegetarians have gone to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board over the advertisement, which shows butchers dancing through the streets banging knives and steels. They say their traditional chanting and dancing are being ridiculed.

Spokesman Jaya Sila said the commercial was insensitive to the Krishnas' and thousands of Hindus' religious beliefs. "We hold the cow to be a sacred animal."

The 2001 census records 363 New Zealanders as Hare Krishna followers and 38,769 as Hindu.

Mr Sila said the International Society for Krishna Consciousness had demanded that the advertisement be withdrawn immediately and also wanted an apology.

But Rod Slater, the general manager of the Beef and Lamb Marketing Bureau, said no offence was intended. "We in no way meant to take the mickey out of Hare Krishnas. It was intended to be a celebration of meat."

The Advertising Standards Complaints Board executive director, Glen Wiggs, said the board would investigate whether the advertisement was causing serious or widespread offence.