The controversial "Hitler Prize" for victims of animal rights extremist violence will be presented by an Italian-Jewish actor, according to an Italian farmers union.

Feder Fauna, which reprersents breeders and farmers, said that the award, which has already sparked a backlash among Jewish groups in Italy, had the support of Massimo Gobbi whose original Jewish family name of Du Safra was changed because of the Nazi persecution.

The prize is named after Adolf Hitler because he created a law to protect animals' rights despite planning the Final Solution to exterminate all Jews.

The award represents "a condemnation of those who trample on human rights in the name of the ideology of animal rights", said Massimiliano Filippi, general secretary of Feder Fauna in The Local.

Italy's only female rabbi, Barbara Aeillo, told the news site that the Hitler Prize "exemplifies a disturbing trend of intolerance and hate that is on the rise not only in Italy but throughout Europe".

Gobbi, who features in award-winning film Gomorrah and is also a director, said the provocative initiative was instrumental in reminding public opinion about the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were exterminated.

"Hitler was a veggie and promoted love for animals but he condemned to the furnace men, women and children. Not only Jews, but also gypsies, homosexuals and so many people that did not kneel down to his ideology and his regime," the actor said.

A poster to publicise the award has the word "rights" replaced with "Reich" over a picture of the gates to Auschwitz death camp. An image of Hitler feeding a deer has been superimposed on the foreground.