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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

Archbishop of Udine (1988) Condones Animal Abuse! By Dr. Chapman Chen

Introduction: "It is not a sin to beat a dog or leave it to starve to Death." These are the reported words of Alfredo Battisti (1925-2012), the Archbishop of Udine, in eastern Italy from a Christmas sermon in 1988. "A dog is not a person, it belongs to man" (IL cane non è persona ma cosa dell' uomo), argued the Archbishop who went on to regret that "the law sends to prison a man who kills a pigeon while the murder of an unborn child in its mother’s womb goes unpunished" (Battisti 1988; see Linzey 1994).

Unabashedly, this archbishop condoned animal abuse which is in general defined as harming an animal when you don't need to or paying someone else to do. He did not understand that animals belong to God rather than to humanity (Psalm 50:10). And he did not see that God loves the world, including all its inhabitants. He forgot that God made a covenant with all animals (Genesis 9:9), and that Jesus, after Yahweh (Hosea 6:6), announced, "I desire compassion, and not sacrifice" (Matthew 12: 7 NASB).  Moreover, he unreasonably pitted the animal abuse prevention law against the abortion law.



1. What is Animal Abuse?


The FBI (2018) defines animal cruelty as: "Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment." Included are instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured; transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death; causing an animal to fight with another; inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or torture an animal.


In Italy, animal abuse, also known as animal cruelty, is defined by law as any action that causes an animal to suffer unjustifiably, including injury, abuse, unbearable conduct or hardships, or treatments that result in harm to the animal's health. This is outlined in Article 544-ter of Law 198 of 2004, which was amended by Law 201 of 2010. The law also includes the administration of prohibited substances as a form of animal abuse. Furthermore, Legislative Decree No. 189/2004 protects animals from cruel or unnecessary killing, cruel or unnecessary injury.


1.1. Limitations of Animal Cruelty Prevention Laws


Admittedly, these laws are in general unfairly limited to companion animals, and exclusive of "proper" maintenance of animals for show or sport, and use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping. Nonetheless, technically and theoretically speaking, pushing pigs into gas chambers, artificially inseminating cows in order to steal their milk, shooting newborn male calves in the head because they cannot produce milk, hanging cows and goats in the slaughtering houses and slashing their throats, and mincing newborn male chicks to a paste because they cannot lay eggs, are all different forms of animal abuse.


As put by Tash Peterson (2023), "If you are not a vegan you are an animal abuser," for "all industries subject animals to enslavement, rape, torture, abuse and murder, and they should have the right to live just like we do." Thus, almost all countries' animal abuse prevention laws are biased towards animal farms, animal industries, animal experimenters, animal entertainment, and hunters. Scandalously and outrageously, Archbishop Alfredo Battisti resented even this kind of castrated animal cruelty prevention laws.


Based on the aforementioned definitions, beating a dog to death unless in absolute self-defense or starving a dog to death is definitely a crime of animal abuse. No true followers of Jesus the Vegan Christ but hard-hearted people with no compassion at all would do such sinful things.


2. Animals do NOT Belong to Humans!


Alfredo Battisti's ground for opposing animal cruelty prevention legislation is wrong. Animals do not belong to humans. All animals come from, and belong to, God, who cares about them. "For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills," says God (Psalm 50:10 NIV). And "a righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel" (Proverbs 12:10 NIV). After the Deluge, God made a covenant with all animals, not just with humans (Gen. 9:10). "Thou shalt not kill", commands God (Exodus 20:13 KJV); “He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man, warns the Lord (Isaiah 66:3 ESV). Both Yahweh and Jesus Christ explicitly emphasize, "I desire compassion, not sacrifice" (Hosea 6:6 NIV; Matthew 9:13 NASB).


3. Animal Cruelty Prevention Law vs Abortion Law


Alfredo Battisti unreasonably pitted the animal abuse prevention law against the abortion law. As well put by Ed Winters (2021), "human rights and animal rights are not mutually exclusive." We can endeavor to create both at the same time. Veganism isn't about placing non-human animals above humans, or denying that there are human injustices that still call for addressing. Veganism is simply about acknowledging that non-human animals are persons whose lives are crucial to them and who merit ethical consideration from us. 


3.1. Both Animals and Human Fetuses are Sentient Beings


Both animals and human fetuses are helpless sentient beings, and as Christians we are supposed to protect both, for God is love (1 John 4:7). According to the scientific findings of Charlotte Lozier Institute (2022), unborn babies can feel pain by 15 weeks gestation and possibly as early as 12 weeks. So it is reasonable to consider it murder to abort a fetus older than 12 weeks, unless it is a life-or-death situation for the mother.     


4. Conclusion


To put it in a nutshell, it's un-Christ-like, sinful, and criminal for Archbishop Alfredo Battisti to support animal abuse. He did not have a clue about God's love for His creation. In addition, it's unjust of him to put the animal cruelty prevention law and the abortion law in competition with one another. We can endeavor to uphold animal rights and human (fetus) rights at the same time. Unfortunately, many a mainstream church leader shares this anti-Christ priest's mindset. So watch out if the priest of your church happens to be non-vegan.




Battisti, Alfredo (1988). "1988 Christmas Sermon." IL Gazzettino, Dec. 28.


Charlotte Lozier Institute (2022). "Fact Sheet: Science of Fetal Pain." Charlotte Lozier Institute, September 13.


FBI (2018). "NIBRS Offense Definitions." In Uniform Crime Reporting Program, National Incident-Based Reporting System.

Linzey, Andrew (1994). “Why the Catholics turned their back on St. Francis.” The Sunday Times, October 30.


Peterson, Tash (2023). "ANGRY farmer DESTROYS vegans." Tash Peterson, YouTube, May 6.


Winters, Ed (2021). "The Most Logical Arguments AGAINST Veganism (In 10 Minutes)." Earthling Ed, YouTube, Jun. 28.



#VeganChrist     #VeganTheology           #VeganChurch

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