Students: When did you start being interested in animal rights and how did you become a member of Animal Equality?
Matteo Cupi: I started to be interested in animal rights by chance. When I was a teenager I loved the idea that the fair world could be possible. I wanted to become vegetarian because I wished to be an example for others, I could feel that that was something right, but I had not the elements to move from theory to practice. I was invited to a vegan event and after the dinner some images about they deal with the animals in the slaughterhouses. I remember all the others chatting in the meanwhile, but I watched those videos for hours. It was like a ash that suddenly appeared in my life, and I became vegan soon. I was 16. I used to go to concerts a lot, and I saw a poster about a self-organized meeting against the vivisection. I went to Milan by train with a friend of mine to attend it and there I met other people with the same ideals I had. We started meeting frequently and I became an activist participating to existing protest or organizing new ones. We became more organized over time and created many important events. I tried to be professional even if I was just a volunteer and an activist. I liked how they worked in England, US, North Europe, and the reality I liked most was Animal Equality. Especially if you consider their work and raids into the slaughterhouses, we can say they are pioneers. Initially I had to live in Spain for three weeks, but then I stayed there four months. We worked a lot, sometimes for more than 10 hours per day, and we were energetic and enthusiast, living all together in a at. Then I have lived four years in London to develop Animal Equality in England and at the same time I was working to create it in Italy.
S: The press has focused its attention on the red meat recently because of a document released by the OMS that put in contact the meat with cancer. Do you think that the action of the press is counterproductive sometimes, especially when they use alarmist tones?
MC: I think that we should moderate the tone even if we are activist and have taken radical decision about our life. I think that it is better inviting people to reduce meat saying for example to avoid that once a week, instead of proposing them to become vegan or vegetarian. It is a way of life that needs to be chosen personally and consciously, but I think that starting little by little, cutting out meat from our diet just few days a week, it is a good starting point for saving animals.
S: How do you consider the boom of veganism and vegetarianism in Italy? Do you think is it related to a deeper animal consciousness or not?
MC: Personally I consider this tendency as positive. Some years ago it was not simple to find some vegan alternatives, but now you can eat cruelty-free food in any city. When some people start being vegetarian or vegan without any ethical reason, I still consider it as something good and that we have proved them that a veg diet is healthy and still tasty. I am quite sure this boom is not related to the animal movement. At the same time I think that in a more open mind context, where people want to try eating cruelty-free food, creating a deeper attention to animal rights is simpler.