Compassion for all is the message being given by a leading animal welfare advocate who will be joining other Chief Executives and MPs sleeping rough at Lords Cricket Ground on the night of Monday 31st October.

Eduardo Goncalves, CEO of animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports, is taking part in the “CEO sleep-out” along with many other senior managers from charities and businesses to raise awareness and funds for homelessness.

For Eduardo, his commitment to improving the lives of animals goes hand in hand with his concern for street homelessness. In his early twenties, Eduardo spent two weeks over Christmas and the New Year period sleeping rough on the streets of London. He hadn’t fallen on hard times. It was a choice he made to highlight the plight of young people who had no place to call home.

“I had wanted to directly experience, document and tell others about the reality of life on the streets, to understand it better, and to be better able to speak up for those who didn’t have a choice - or a voice,” he said.

“It gave me an unexpectedly lucid insight into the literally cold, hard realities. To this day, I still remember how hard it was to stay warm, particularly when it snowed or rained. I still vividly remember the feeling of being (literally) looked down upon and consciously ignored by virtually everyone as they bustled by.

“I also remember the drunk office party goers who, after a presumably vigorous night of festivities, decided it would be fun to urinate on me and others as we slept in the shop front we were sharing one night.”

But Eduardo also remembers the acts of kindness he experienced, including the man who spent the time to chat, and give him his umbrella.

“It was a simple, unprompted and unassuming act of kindness. I’ve often thought about the encounter many times in the 25 or so years since. He won’t know the impact he had on me, but I’ve tried to live up to the standard of humanity he set me, and to give back or forward in ways which emulate his example.”

While the League Against Cruel Sports focusses on animals being killed or mistreated for the sake of ‘sport’, there are many proven links that show that people who are cruel to animals can also be abusive to humans.

Eduardo says: “If we cannot be empathetic, whether it be to humans or animals, then we’re lacking in humanity. Compassion cannot be something that gets switched off amid life’s trials, I’d like to see it being front and centre in whatever we do.

“Being homeless is hard, lonely and depressing. It is crushing and devoid of hope. It perplexes and angers me that in the 21st century, street homelessness if seen by some people as inevitable and unsolvable or even the ‘fault’ of some of those who have fallen on hard times.

“Surely a country that is the world’s 5th largest economy can do better than that.”

The ‘CEO Sleep-out’ is an initiative to raise awareness and funds for those still struggling to get back on their feet and is supported by business and charity leaders.

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Eduardo talks to Lush Radio Producer and League Vice-Chair, Charlie Moores about the CEO Sleep-out listen here

Please contact the League’s Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected] for any image or comment requests.

League Against Cruel Sports is a registered charity in England and Wales (1095234) and Scotland (SC045533) that brings together people who care about animals. Like the majority of the public, we believe that cruelty to animals in the name of sport has no place in modern society.

Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk