This post is based on a recent post by Pro-Test Italia that can be found here.
On July 3, 2013, Pro-Test Italia was welcomed by Senators from several political parties to discuss the animal welfare and research implications of the new Italian law transposing the new EU Directive 2010/63/EU. Pro-Test Italia members had the opportunity to explain why some additional regulations, not in the original EU directive, will have significant detrimental effects to both research and animal welfare if passed.
Pro-Test Italia discussed their concerns with the Senators about some subsections to the amendment of Article 9 of Bill no. 587 that was approved last week by the 14th Standing Committee for EU policies (Commissione permanente Politiche dell’Unione europea).
Specific points of concern include:
- a ban on breeding of dogs, cats and non-human primates in Italy
- a ban to the use of dogs, cats and non-human primates for purposes other than health research and after an approval by the Ministry of Health,
- a ban of studies without anesthesia or analgesia unless the objective of the study is to test an anesthetic or analgesic
- a ban of use of animals for studies of addiction, xenotransplantation and training (except for higher education for vets and physicians)
These restrictions would cause a huge damage to health, preventing life-saving research including transplantation of cardiac biological valves and studies into neonatal withdrawal syndrome.
Furthermore, some proposed changes conflict with efforts to improve animal welfare. For example, the obligation for anesthesia to be administered in all situations (besides research into anesthetics and analgesics) means that animals would have to undergo anesthesia even for relatively painless procedures such as taking a blood sample; this does nothing to improve animal welfare.
The prohibition on animal breeding facilities in Italy would result in animals spending long periods in transport as they travelled from other parts of the world; something not beneficial to animal welfare. Preventing students from training with animals during their studies, early in their career, Italy risks creating a generation of scientists inadequately trained to carry out the high standards of animal research necessary to promote high standards of animal welfare.
The Senators were interested in understanding the problems associated with the new bill and we hope that they further discuss Pro-Test Italia’s concerns.