• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Berlusconi goes vegetarian over animal welfare concerns
Silvio Berlusconi has converted to vegetarianism. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Berlusconi goes vegetarian over animal welfare concerns

The Local · 23 Feb 2016, 12:09

Published: 23 Feb 2016 12:09 GMT+01:00

Berlusconi, who will be 80 in September, allegedly converted to vegetarianism after reading up on the meat industry.

The first indication of his new diet came last week during a meeting with regional co-ordinators from his Forza Italia Party.

"When I read about how animals suffer on their way to the slaughterhouse and death I no longer had any desire to eat meat," Corriere della Sera reported him as saying.

“We are talking about wonderful creatures – how can you kill and eat them?”

Billionaire Berlusconi has also communicated his decision to kitchen staff.

According to Corriere he recently told cooks at his plush Villa San Martino in Arcore, Lombardy - the scene of his infamous bunga bunga parties – that the menu had to change.

The leader reportedly implored them to find a way to make his much-loved pasta sauce according to a vegetarian recipe.

“We need to do something about ragu,” he said, adding that his cooks should "avoid making it with meat” from now on.

Berlusconi's new diet might mean his centre-right Forza Italia Party changes position on environmental issues.

Recently, the former leader surprised political analysts saying “the defence of animals and the environment are fundamental principles of the party” during a speech to endorse party candidate Stefano Parisi's election campaign for the Milan mayor's office.

In dedicating himself to a life without meat, Berlusconi joins a long list of political figures and celebrities to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, which includes luminaries like Mahatma Gandhi, Paul McCartney and Tolstoy – but vegetarianism might not be enough to improve his reputation.

On Monday, an important youth movement of the Forza Italia party, Azzurra Libertà, announced that their 30,000 members were abandoning the party due to the negative influence of Berlusconi's scandal-ridden private life on their image.

Story continues below…

Whether a political choice or not, Berlusconi's decision makes him one of a growing number of people in Italy adopting a meat-free diet.

Data from a Eurispes study shows that eight percent of all Italians are vegetarian – a figure which has grown by 2.3 percent over the last year.
 

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Tourists fined €900 for drinking on Rome's Spanish Steps
A picture of the incident circulated by police. Photo: Rome police

The steps had been open less than 24 hours when the first fines were handed out...

Seven reasons autumn is the best time to visit Italy
Beautiful sunsets and empty streets: That's autumnn in Rome. Photo: Moyan Brenn/Flickr

Say goodbye to the hordes of tourists and hello to wine season, stunning colours and regional food festivals.

An end to fashion elitism? Not in Milan...
Stylist Viviana Volpicella posing after the Dolce & Gabbana show. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

The city's mayor argues that the public should be able to participate more in Fashion Week.

Generations of glamour unite to toast Bottega Veneta
US star Lauren Hutton takes to the runway with the Bottega bag from American Gigolo. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Hollywood icon Lauren Hutton joined Gigi Hadid on the catwalk as the world of glamour united across the generations to celebrate 50 years of venerated Italian fashion house Bottega Veneta.

Interview
'My problem is too many ideas': Italy's couture king
Francois Guillot / AFP

Giambattista Valli says his fledgling ready-to-wear line is thriving -- thanks to spillover synergy from a haute couture operation that has made him a darling of the celebrity A-list set.

Italy orders man to buy feminist books for prostitute
An image of a customer meeting a prostitute. Photo: Italian investigators

A court in Rome has handed down an unusual penalty to the client of an underage prostitute, ordering him to buy her 30 books on the theme of women's dignity, Italian media reported Friday.

Pope holds multi-faith meeting with Nice victims
Pope Francis kisses a baby on arrival at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP

Pope Francis will on Saturday hold a multi-faith meeting of grieving relatives and survivors of an attack in France in July when a jihadist ploughed his truck into a crowd in Nice.

For one day only: €1 nighttime entry to Italy's cultural sites
Fancy getting up close and personal with David after dark? Photo

Saturday is European Heritage Day, and Italy is celebrating with €1 entry to many of its most famous sites.

The real reasons young Italians aren't having kids
Why have Italians seemingly stopped making babies? File photo: Pexels

Italy's government is campaigning to get Italians to have babies - but what are the reasons behind the slowing birthrate?

Renzi vows to restore quake towns to former glory
Amatrice, the town worst hit by the August 24th quake. Photo: AFP

"The areas will be more beautiful than before," Italy's Prime Minister promised, one month on from the earthquake.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,529
jobs available