The local vegan association in Castelfranco Veneto, Vegani Castellani, approached the town’s priest to request a venue to host their book launch.
But earlier this week Adriano Cevolotto refused the request, arguing that veganism can bring on anorexia, Vegani Castellani said in an online statement.
The priest reportedly claimed that a diet based only on plant products, without Italy’s traditional plates of meat and cheese, could lead to “serious problems”.
Evidence however shows that veganism can be a healthy diet, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recently expressed alarm as the unsustainable consumption of animal products globally.
Responding to the priest’s claims, the vegan association said his belief was “a sad prejudice” and “ridiculous”.
“To us at Vegani Castellani it feels more than absurd that such a criticism comes from the representative of a church,” the group said online.
But elsewhere in Italy, veganism has been welcomed. Last year Rome hosted Universo Vegano’s world record attempt for the world’s largest vegan sandwich.
The four-metre long meal was filled with chickpeas, wheat gluten, soy strips and lupini beans and offered to passersby in the city centre.