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Activists Without Borders

I just returned from Italy!

Ripa di Porta Ticinese

Our son Matt spent his junior fall semester abroad studying in Milan. We decided to make a holiday of it, and when he was finished with his final exam, my husband and I (and daughter) went to visit. Upon our arrival, we asked Matt if he knew of any vegan restaurants. He told us that there happened to be a vegan place just down his street on Ripa di Porta Ticinese, but he had never found it open.

Our second evening in Milan, we walked along the canal. Much to everyone’s surprise, the vegan restaurant called UniVerso Vegano was open for business. And not only was it open, but a group of young activists were outside handing out flyers about veganism. It turned out they had only recently opened the restaurant and on this day planned to expand their activism by leafleting outside. I don’t speak Italian, but the message on the flyers they gave to passersby was so familiar, it seemed easy to translate:

Tutti gli animali sono esseri senzieti, capaci di provare amore, felicita, paura, dolore  (All animals are sentient beings, capable of love, happiness, fear, pain)

Ken in front of UniVerso

Of course we stopped to congratulate them on their work and talk a bit about our own efforts in the U.S. Prego! Come inside! They had put out some free samples of vegan food. A handful of young men and women with grand smiles, welcoming handshakes, they seemed eager to hear about organizations here like Compassion Over Killing and Mercy for Animals. And they told us about their own work with La Loro Voce – Cani Schiolti (Their Voice – Loose Dogs). They work, often in conjunction with Fronte Animalista, to fight exploitation of animals in the food industry, vivisection, and other abuses. Needless to say, we were very happy to have met fellow attavistas halfway around the world!

The next day, on a cold, foggy morning, we left Milan. The restaurant was closed. But our paths had crossed at exactly the right time for us all to feel that we are not alone. And I am keeping their flyer pinned to my bulletin board beside my desk.

Scegli di vivere senza piu uccidere
(Choose to live without killing)

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