Meow bella: Silvio Berlusconi plays pet lover to win back power for party Forza Italia with animal adoption plan

‘Dogs and cats will help party to win the European elections,’ says Italy’s disgraced former premier

Rome

As his decline and fall continues apace, disgraced ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi has concocted another cause close to his heart with which to win back votes for his moribund Forza Italia Party.

The media mogul thinks that being kind to animals will provide the party with the boost it needs in the May European Elections.

“We must strive to find a ‘father’ or ‘mother’ for the thousands of abandoned animals. Dogs and cats will help us to win the European elections,” Mr Berlusconi reportedly said in a phone call to one of the his fan clubs, the Rome-based Forza Silvio (Go on Silvio).

The tycoon said that his mass animal adoption scheme would mean “more than 10 million Italians who have a dog or cat will look on us with fondness, which will help the moderates become a strong political force, a majority,” he said.

Never one to do things by halves, Mr Berlusconi even cited Mother Teresa’s thoughts on animal welfare, saying “if we learn to love them as they deserve, we will be very close to God”.

The pet adoption plans comes as a poll carried out for Rai 3 television at the weekend showed Forza Italia had slipped into third place behind the centre-left Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.

Read more: Berlusconi ‘paid Mafia bosses millions in pact

With Mr Berlusconi no longer to sit in parliament thanks to his definitive tax fraud conviction, Forza Italia appears to be struggling as Berlusconi loyalists fight it out with more pragmatic figures to determine the future of the party.

Adding to his woes, judges in Milan will in the next few weeks decide where Mr Berlusconi does his 12-month community service, as punishment for tax evasion. He is also on trial for bribing a pimp and drug dealer, and has the Rubygate appeal to prepare for.

So far, animal rights campaigners are unimpressed by the initiative. The Italian Association for the Defence of Animals and the Environment claimed that Mr Berlusconi had understated the problem of unwanted pets in Italy.

It said there were another 750,000 dogs living wild, in addition to the 150,000 languishing in kennels.

“We need concrete measures. Mr Berlusconi could come and do some dog sitting for us,” the association told La Stampa, thereby renewing its offer for the mogul to serve out his community service with them.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions