Hong Kong and the mainland are ready to take up the fight for animal rights, a controversial philosopher and key figure in the international movement predicted yesterday. 'It easily could [come to Hong Kong and China] because there is a lot of support in the Buddhist tradition for a more compassionate attitude towards animals,' Princeton University philosophy professor Peter Singer said. 'If people start thinking about those questions again, they would not find them foreign to east Asian countries.' The author of 1975 book Animal Liberation, which helped launch the animal rights movement in the West, is attending a three-day philosophy conference at Chinese University. The book was translated into Chinese this year by the mainland conservation group Friends of Nature. The international animal rights movement believes all animals have rights similar to human rights and wants experiments stopped and slaughterhouses closed. Professor Singer likens the movement to that against racism and sexism and says the United Nations' Universal Declaration on Human Rights should cover all species. He admitted activists had raided laboratories in Western countries in the movement's name but condemned violence even as he sympathised with the activists' views. The 53-year-old Australian also holds controversial views on euthanasia, which led more than 200 protesters to stage a rally on the first day of his teaching at Princeton University in September. 'Euthanasia should be an option for parents [of severely disabled infants],' he said. When a baby was born with severe disabilities, it was common practice in some hospitals to allow it to die if it fell ill, 'a cruel way to handle a tragic situation'.