Italian butchers blast Berlusconi over lamb video

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Silvio Berlusconi's appearance in the 'Defend life - choose a vegetarian Easter' ad has angered many
Silvio Berlusconi's appearance in the 'Defend life - choose a vegetarian Easter' ad has angered many

Related tags Lamb

Former Italian prime minister and billionaire businessman Silvio Berlusconi has angered the country’s meat industry by joining a vegetarian campaign and adopting five lambs that were destined for slaughter.

A video by the Italian League in Defence of Animals and the Environment, which showed the leader of the Forza Italia Party cuddling, kissing and feeding lambs with a bottle, was circulated widely on social media.

This has angered the Italian butchers’ lobby Assocarni, which issued a statement on Monday 20 April criticising Berlusconi and calling on advertisers to boycott his television channels and publications.

It’s incredible that even though he [Berlusconi] is a business person, he is contributing to damaging the meat industry to try to get the votes of animal lovers,​” Assocarni said in a statement.

Meat consumption falling

Italians traditionally eat lamb or goat on Easter Day (Sunday 16 April), but consumption has declined due to an economic slump and growing pressure from activist groups to cut meat consumption.

Per capita meat consumption in Italy​ was 65.2kg per person in 2010, but this is expected to fall to 58.6kg per person by 2020, according to German-based market research firm Statista.

A number of publications in the UK and aboard have reported that Silvio Berlusconi is a vegetarian, although this could not be independently verified.

The 80-year-old former Prime Minister of Italy remains a controversial figure in his home country. He was expelled from the Italian senate in 2013 following a conviction of tax fraud. He has also faced a string of controversies during his career, including allegations of sexual misconduct.

The lobby group Assocarni could not be reached for further comment at the time of writing.

Related topics Meat

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