The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), has a new Chief Executive Officer who is determined to set the record straight about violence and animal rights campaigning.
The BUAV says Adolfo Sansolini, a leading Italian animal rights advocate, is passionately anti-violence and not afraid to challenge the negative stereotype that has beset the UK animal rights movement.
From his personal experience, he also thinks that Christians and the gay community should be more supportive of animal rights and believes strongly that the struggle for animal rights is akin to the struggle for human rights:
I oppose all violence, be it violence against animal victims in the laboratory or violence towards people outside the laboratory. The differences between races, sexuality or religion have long been used to justify prejudice and exploitation. The argument that we have the right to experiment on animals because they are a different species is just the same."Christians and gay people should also strongly support the struggle for animal rights.
In May 1999 Adolfo staged a hunger and thirst strike to persuade the Italian Prime Minister to support a phase-out of battery cages for laying hens — it is possible to survive only a few days on hunger and thirst strike, and you risk permanent damage after three days. After twice collapsing, Adolfo succeeded and the Prime Minister agreed to support a cage ban.
To depict anti-vivisectionists as terrorists is dishonest. A small number of violent people can exist in any environment but they cannot be taken as a symbol of a radically non-violent movement like the one for the respect of animal rights. But that's not to say that some anti-vivisectionists shouldn't be more self-critical when it comes to tactics.
Adolfo Sansolini's move from Rome to London marks the latest stage in a long career fighting for the rights of animals during which he served as President of Italy's Lega Anti Vivisezione, campaigned for many European and international animal rights organisations and even presented his own 'ethics' show on Vatican Radio for eight years.
In 2003 he was awarded the RSPCA's Michael Kay award 'in recognition of services to European animal welfare'.