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Italy discovers the 'Consciousness of Animals'

 Klaus Steves / pixelio.de

1 July 2010

Last May an important and encouraging first step has been done towards the respect of animal life and freedom: nine Italian stars of politics, culture and science have pledged, during an official presentation at Palazzo Reale in Milan, to become “Warrantors” of the manifesto “La coscienza degli animali" (consciousness of animals), introduced by the Italian Minister of Tourism, Hon. Michela Vittoria Brambilla.

The campaign was initiated by Minister Brambilla and the eminent Professor Umberto Veronesi, former Italian Health Minister and renown oncologist, and endorsed by many VIPs, i.e. the Swiss lawyer for animals Antoine Goetschel, writer Susanna Tamaro and famous director Franco Zeffirelli.

Minister Brambilla said that she hopes the manifesto will be supported by all who believe “that animals have the right to life. …We are going to be the conscience for animals and our voice will be loud and clear.”

Professor Veronesi added: “The moment has come for a great collective movement.”

Hunting abolition, no to vivisection, stop of inhumane detention in cages of zoos and circuses - these are only some points of the manifesto for the protection of animals.

A very useful website (in Italian) offers much more information about this pioneering initiative.

Minister Brambilla has launched a direct and very powerful attack against hunting and a strongly worded “possible and necessary” proposal to abolish hunting, which she evaluates as being an “animal massacre during the hunting season”. She strongly criticizes the "arrogance of killing defenseless animals" by a minority of hunters, while the Italian majority feels offended by such acts.

At the same time Professor Veronesi, founder of the European Institute of Oncology (where laboratory animals don't exist), said loudly NO to vivisection, “except for exceptional cases”.

Minister Brambilla also created a Committee for the creation of an 'Animal Friendly Italy', with the objective of improving the international image of the country and promoting tourism. According to Minister Brambilla, there are not enough hotels and public places accepting pets, thus making it travel with animals difficult in Italy.

In order to address the situation, a brochure was published, which contains a list of bars, restaurants, pizza and fast food parlors, hotels, apartments, camping sites, country resorts, holiday villages and beaches ready to receive animals. This initiative will make it easier to find the right accommodation for animal friends. After all, one Italian family out of three owns a pet and needs to organise the summer holidays adequately.

At the beginning of June a nation-wide publicity campaign , TV spots included, addressed the drama of abandoned pets and declared war against the shameful situation. Even though abandoning animals is a crime in Italy, punishable with up to one year imprisonment, there are still 750,000 pets being thrown out on the streets each year.

As a first work step, the Commission, where national animal rights associations are represented, is going to compile and analyze all existing animal rights material. Rules for municipalities, where a beach or a green space for animals is offered, are to follow.

Source: EVANA thanks Stefano Forgione for this article
Author: Stefano Forgione

Link: Michela Vittoria Brambilla with animals - photos
Link: Travelling in Italy with your pets

Date: 2010-07-01

Other EVANA-articles about this topic:
There is evidence that bottlenose dolphins, some apes, and elephants may have the capacity to be self-aware (it)

Japanese Island of Toshima makes Dolphins official Citizens (en)

The Nonhuman Rights Project (en)


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