Monday, April 10, 2017

Berlusconi cuddles lambs in vegetarian Easter campaign By Reuters in Rome

Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has infuriated Italy’s meat industry by joining a vegetarian campaign and “adopting” five lambs that would have been butchered for Easter. A video by the Italian League in Defence of Animals and the Environment, showing Berlusconi cuddling, kissing and feeding the lambs with a baby’s bottle, was circulated widely on social media over the weekend. The 80-year-old former prime minister was filmed in his parkland estate in front of a sign saying “Defend life, choose a vegetarian Easter,” while a scrolling message urged viewers to “Be like him. He saved five lambs from the Easter slaughter.” Berlusconi was expelled from the senate in 2013 following a conviction for tax fraud, but his Forza Italia party is still the third or fourth most popular in Italy with about 12% of the vote, according to opinion polls. Italians traditionally eat lamb or goat on Easter Sunday but consumption has declined sharply over the last five years due to an economic slump and the growing success of vegetarian campaigns. The Guardian